Dean Legge/Dawg Post

Florida Gators’ opponent preview: Georgia Bulldogs

Florida faces the Bulldogs in a crucial game for the SEC East race.

OFFENSE

Georgia comes into Saturday’s matchup with the No. 5 total offense (429.4 yards). The Bulldogs are No. 6 in scoring offense (33.1 points), No. 2 in rushing offense (215.6 yards) and No. 9 in passing offense (213.9 yards).

QUARTERBACK

This is the position with a lot of questions heading into Saturday. Reports are now surfacing that third-string quarterback Faton Bauta could get the start in Jacksonville. The Dwyer (FL) High School product has played in six games during his career while not recording a pass or rush attempt this season.

Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert has started all seven games under center for the Bulldogs. The results have been mixed. His standout game came against South Carolina, as the Bulldogs eviscerated the Gamecocks through the air. Lambert went 24-25 for 330 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. On the season, Lambert has completed 64.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,276 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

Backup Brice Ramsey has also been involved at the position. He played in each of the first five games this season. Ramsey has 16-26 for 221 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions this year.

RUNNING BACK

Nick Chubb suffered a devastating injury against Tennessee, and while the specifics of it haven’t been released, his mother posted on Facebook that he tore his PCL. With Chubb out, the Bulldogs will lean on sophomore Sony Michel. Since Chubb went out early against the Volunteers, Michel has 48 carries for 232 yards. While filling in behind Chubb early in the year, Michel showed good hands out of the backfield and could be heavily involved in that way against Florida.

Behind Michel, Keith Marshall and Brendan Douglas will see action. Marshall has 33 carries for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Douglas has 19 carries for 84 yards.

WIDE RECEIVER

Malcolm Mitchell is the unquestioned leader at the receiver position. He has 35 receptions -- more than twice what anyone else on the team has -- for 505 yards and four touchdowns. When the Bulldogs need a big play through the air, it’s Mitchell that often provides it. He has led Georgia in receiving yards in six of seven games this year.

Freshman Terry Godwin is second on the team with 17 catches and 203 yards but hasn’t found the end zone. Reggie Davis (187 yards, one touchdown) is the only other Georgia receiver with more than 100 yards this year. Isaiah McKenzie has battled injuries while posting five catches for 89 yards.

TIGHT END

The Bulldogs have two capable pass catchers at tight end with Jeb Blazevich and Jay Rome. Blazevich, a member of the Freshman All-SEC team last season with 269 yards and two touchdowns, has six catches for 62 yards and one touchdown. Rome has three catches for 45 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Georgia offensive line has plenty of experience with four veterans that have at least 20 starts in their time in Athens. They’ve allowed the second fewest sacks (eight) of any offensive line in the SEC.

The left side of the offensive line features two Florida native in left tackle John Theus and left guard Isaiah Wynn. Theus, from Jacksonville, has 42 career starts for the Bulldogs and has been a captain in all seven games this year. Wynn, from St. Petersburg, has started eight careers games, including all seven this season.

Junior center Brandon Kublanow started 20 games at left guard in his Georgia career before moving to center this season. He has started every game for the Bulldogs at center this season.

Right guard Greg Pyke has 20 careers starts, and right tackle Kolton Houston has 26 career starts.

 

DEFENSE

The Bulldogs rank No. 3 in total defense, allowing 307.9 yards per game. Georgia is No. 6 in scoring defense (19.4 points), No. 7 in rush defense (120.9 yards) and No. 2 in pass defense (187 yards). They are No. 2 in opponent third-down conversions (28.7 percent).

DEFENSIVE LINE

In their 3-4 front, the Bulldogs started Sterling Bailey, DaQuan Hawkins and Trenton Thompson against Missouri. It was Hawkins’ first start of the season. Bailey has been an important part of the Georgia defense this season with 24 tackles, one sack and three quarterback hurries.

Thompson has been the breakout performer this season. Scout’s No. 2 overall player in the 2015 class, the true freshman has made an immediate impact and started the last three games for Georgia. His disruptiveness at the defensive tackle position is an important part of what the Bulldogs do.

LINEBACKER

The linebackers are what make the Georgia defense work. With four starting linebackers and plenty of depth, it’s not so much about who starts since defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt makes sure to rotate and get his best players on the field.

Linebacker Jake Ganus, a UAB transfer, leads the team with 50 tackles this season while Tim Kimbrough is second with 46 tackles. Kimbrough is third on the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss, adding one sack and a forced fumble. Ganus and Kimbrough are important parts in the middle of the field, but it’s the outside linebackers that bring the pass rush.

Georgia rotates through Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Carter on the outside, a trio of future NFL pass rushers. Jenkins sat out against Missouri, snapping his team-high 32 straight start streak. He still leads the Bulldogs with 7.5 tackles for a loss and is tied with Floyd for the team lead with three sacks. Jenkins also leads the team with nine quarterback hurries.

Floyd is third on the team with 38 tackles, adding six tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also has eight quarterback hurries and one fumble returned 96 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee. Carter has 12 tackles and three quarterback hurries.

CORNERBACK

Georgia starts Malkom Parrish and Rico McGraw at cornerback. Parrish has three tackles for a loss on the season with one pass breakup, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. McGraw has missed three games due to injury, but he has two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry in four games played.

SAFETY

The two starting safeties have been Quincy Mauger and Dominick Sanders. However, Sanders will be suspended for the first half of the game because of a targeting penalty during the second half against Missouri. It’s a big blow for the Georgia secondary, as Sanders is fifth on the team with 30 tackles, adding two interceptions, five pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.

Mauger is fourth on the team with 34 tackles, adding five pass breakups. He’s used as a disruptive pass rusher with six quarterback hurries. 

SPECIAL TEAMS 

The Bulldogs are No. 13 in kickoff returns (15.5 yards per return), No. 11 in kickoff coverage (39.5 yards allowed), No. 4 in punt return average (14.6 yards) and No. 10 in field goals (9-14).


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