Georgia football heads down to Jacksonville this week for its yearly matchup against the Florida Gators. For the first time since the 1980s, the Dawgs are defending national champions, and even though this matchup isn’t as big as it is typically, Georgia cannot overlook the Gators.
Florida comes into the matchup with a 4-3 overall record and a 1-3 SEC record. Georgia is 7-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play. The Dawgs are No.1 in the country and looking to hold onto that title and get out of Jacksonville with another win.
Head coach Kirby Smart has this game circled on his calendar every year, and after 2020, that kind of performance shouldn’t happen again. He holds his guys to another standard; what they put on the field that year was not up to it. Regardless, it’s 2022 now, and the Dawgs have a better offense than in years past. This defense is also elite, but for this article, let’s focus on offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s beast.
Georgia football must make these three things happen on offense to beat Florida.
The Dawgs have a better offense on paper, and Georgia’s defense should allow them enough time to score plenty of times. However, Georgia cannot let off the throttle. With more explosive plays, this game plan must be better than we’ve seen, but it should set up for the rush attack to take over and lead.
Florida has nothing to lose, but the Dawgs have everything to lose, so Georgia must assert their power. Make the Gators quit on the field and force the Gator fans to empty TIAA Banks Stadium by halftime.
Here are the three things that Georgia can do to set up a sweet victory over its biggest rival.
Georgia football should establish the run game and use it.
This game between the Gators and Dawgs is usually decided by whoever can run the ball better. While the Gators do have talent on offense, the Dawgs have more. Georgia has four running backs and a quarterback, Stetson Bennett that can tote the rock with success. Hopefully, Kendall Milton will be good to go for this matchup after missing last week due to a groin injury.
If not, Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards, and Branson Robinson can handle the load, plus you throw in a few calculated Bennett runs, and the Gators will have no answers. Georgia needs to see an average of five-plus yards a carry and close to 200-yards total.
Florida gives up 185 yards a game and 4.5 yards a rush through their first seven games, but Georgia is better than those offenses.
The Dawgs have the guys to do that. They need to see the offensive line get the advantage up front to help part the orange sea and let those running backs take off for the end zone.
Georgia football needs to target downfield and gain the momentum
So while winning the run game will be what ultimately helps Georgia win this game, the Dawgs need to take shots downfield. Those downfield shots will spread out the defense, which ultimately will help establish a stout rush attack.
Explosive plays will be Georgia’s friend on Saturday, both in the long run range and with these downfield balls. Bennett needs to be on target for this game to expose the Gators’ passing defense a little more than they’ve already been. Florida gives up 244.29 yards through the air a game, and the Dawgs average 329.86 yards, so Georgia should have no problem finding success.
Not to mention, Florida tends to leave opponents’ tight ends wide-open downfield, so Georgia should be able to find Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington with ease. Those two will also be big pieces in this win because Flordia won’t have an answer for both of them.
It would be great to see AD Mitchell return this week, but if he doesn’t, that is okay. At the same time, Bennett needs to get the ball into Dominick Blaylock’s hands more — along with Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, Ladd McConkey, and Dillon Bell. Use these guys because Georgia will need them in this final stretch of regular season games.
Georgia football needs Stetson Bennett to exert his dominance and have another incredible performance.
Jacksonville hasn’t always been the best to the Dawgs’ starting quarterback, so in his final game against the Gators, Bennett needs to have a big game. Bennett needs to have a high completion rate, throw for a few touchdowns and run this offense like the general he is. He is already playing better than he was last year, and hopefully, Bennett is healthy enough to be precise like the Dawgs need him to be.
He is the leader of the offense, well, one of them, and Georgia needs him to step up and show why people should respect him. If Bennett has a good game, there is no doubt that Georgia will take home its eighth win and second straight over the Gators.
Georgia football has an offense that can handle this Florida defense. If the Dawgs can push down the throttle and keep it down, this game could quickly get ugly. If Georgia plays up to its potential, the Dawgs could blow out Florida, possibly even shut out the Gators.