The bye week came at an excellent time for Georgia football as the Dawgs had the opportunity to rest before this tough stretch of games to finish the regular season. Florida is up first as Georgia makes its annual trip to Jacksonville for the Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Georgia comes into this matchup undefeated and ranked No.1, while Florida is 4-3 and unranked. However, the Dawgs should not take the Gators lightly because we all know this game can do weird things to talented Georgia teams.
This game will be Florida head coach Billy Napier’s debut in the rivalry. He knows what this matchup means to the Gators, so there is no doubt that Napier will try and have his team ready for the Georgia monster.
The things that Georgia football needs to see its defense do against Florida.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is not making his debut, although his performance last season was forgettable. Last season Georgia held a 3-0 lead with 2:30 remaining in the first half, and then the Dawgs took over with a vengeance. Three Richardson turnovers later, including a Nakobe Dean pick-six, Georgia led 24-0 going into halftime.
The rest is history for the 2021 win, and the Dawgs are now looking to make it two in a row over the Gators. Georgia’s got one of the best defenses in the country, so what will this unit need to do to beat Florida and help win the Dawgs’ eighth game of 2022?
Here are there things the Dawgs’ defense must do on Saturday to get the win over Florida.
Georgia football must contain Anthony Richardson
Richardson is not the first dual-threat quarterback Georgia has faced. Georgia played Oregon’s Bo Nix and Auburn’s Robby Ashford. Richardson is not athletic as Nix or as fast as Ashford. However, he is much more of a physical runner than both.
Georgia did a fantastic job against Oregon. Against Georgia’s defense, Nix only rushed for 37 yards on eight carries. Ashford rushed for 52 yards on nine carries. Richardson has 56 carries for 395 yards and six touchdowns as he averages 7.1 yards a touch. Georgia must slow him down and avoid letting him make explosive plays with his legs.
The Dawgs will need to maintain those numbers to eliminate what has become Florida’s biggest offensive weapon— Richardson’s legs. If they can do this, it will get the Gators off the field quickly and allow the offense to use those multiple possessions to lay on the points.
Georgia football needs to force turnovers, especially interceptions
The Dawgs will face Richardson, who has more interceptions than touchdowns. One thing the Dawgs must do is refuse to give the Florida sideline any feeling of belief that they can win the game. As we saw last season turnovers can turn a game. Richardson’s two interceptions last year took a game that was close into a blowout. Nothing flips a game and atmosphere as fast as a pick-six.
On the season Georgia has intercepted six passes. If they can pick off Richardson, it will force Florida to become one-dimensional. Although Florida is No. 16 in the nation in rushing offense, it is not a scary attack. Georgia is No.4 in the nation against the run so it’s something Dawg fans should feel comfortable knowing their defense can shut down the Gators through the air and toting the rock.
Georgia football needs to physically break down the Gators
It is no secret the brand of football Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has brought to Athens. We have seen time and time Georgia lean on a team until they break. This game is a great opportunity for Georgia to show the country it can stop talking about the lack of sacks. The Dawgs have only recorded seven sacks on the season — that is good for No.124 in the country.
Georgia is all about creating havoc and this season quarterbacks have been getting the ball out in a hurry. The Dawgs have exceptional speed at the linebacker position. Let them spy Richardson, then on third and longs the co-defensive coordinator duo of Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp can dial up some plays to plant Richardson into the dirt.
This defense should take control of this game. Georgia’s defense has stepped up to every challenge this year. In the next few weeks, the team will need them more. I expect Jamon Dumas-Johnson to have another coming-out party. His size of 6-1 and 245-pound frame, along with his speed matches well with Anthony Richardson. He has been improving every week and no better stage to show out than Jacksonville.
Georgia has a talented team that should be able to get this win over Florida. The Dawgs cannot look ahead to the Tennessee matchup until after the final whistle on this game. This defense has the talent to shut down Richardson and the Gators’ offense, and they will hold Florida to very few points en route to giving themselves an 8-0 record.