Big 3: Georgia-Florida stats that matter

Editor’s note: Each week, the good folks at ESPN Stats and Information will help us take a look inside the numbers that matter prior to Georgia’s games. We’ll share some of their data here on the blog every Friday this fall.


Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

1. Second-half Gators: It is a well-publicized fact that Florida has dominated in the second half this season, coming back from halftime deficits in its wins against Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU. The Gators allowed a combined six points, 304 yards and six plays of 10 yards or more in the second halves of those games.

A key factor in Florida’s second-half success is that it averages 6 minutes, 30 seconds more in time of possession than its opponents in the third and fourth quarters -- the largest differential in the nation. One reason for that differential is that the Gators run on 77.5 percent of their second-half plays (fifth-most in the FBS) with Mike Gillislee leading the charge.

The senior tailback is averaging 2 more yards per carry in the second half compared to the first in SEC play and has logged 128 of his 311 second-half rushing yards after first contact with a defender:

Gillislee rushing in SEC games

Note: Gillislee has 128 yards after contact.

2. Big-play Bulldogs: Thus far in seven games, Georgia’s offense has already compiled more plays that covered 30 yards or more (24) than it did in 14 games last season (23). The only game where Georgia didn’t have at least one play of 30-plus was its 35-7 loss to South Carolina.

Prior to the South Carolina game, the last time Georgia failed to have at least one 30-yard play was in its 24-20 win against Florida last season. That sets up an interesting matchup Saturday against a stingy Florida defense. The Gators have surrendered 21 plays of 20-plus yards this season, only three of which were rushes. The three 20-yard runs are tied for the fifth fewest in the FBS and the 21 plays are tied for 12th.

Georgia offense's big plays

Note: Georgia is tied for the FBS lead in 20-plus-yard plays and 50-plus-yard touchdowns.

3. Murray, King and the deep ball: After accounting for 188 yards on nine catches last week against Kentucky, receiver Tavarres King is on a roll entering the Florida game. Quarterback Aaron Murray is completing 72 percent of his passes when targeting King this season, more than 20 percent better than his targets of King a season ago.

They have been a particularly effective combination on throws of 15 yards or longer. Murray is 9-for-13 on such throws to King with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Last season, Murray completed just 28.1 percent of the same passes with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

On all throws of 20 yards or longer, Murray has completed 50 percent of his passes compared to 28.8 a season ago. He has five touchdowns and no interceptions on those throws this season after notching 11 TDs and five picks in 2011 (he was 0-for-4 when throwing long against Florida last season).

Passes to King last two seasons