Bulldogs v Gators
Venue/Stadium: EverBank Field, Jacksonville Florida
Time/Date: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, October 29, 2011
NFL Odds From: Betonline.com
Spread (ATS): Georgia -1.5
The Gators arrive in Jacksonville after a much-needed week off following three consecutive losses.
A big factor in those losses could be attributed to the loss of starting quarterback John Brantley who missed two of those games and remains questionable for this weekend’s contest. Brantley had passed for five touchdowns to three interceptions with a 64.7 percent completion rate before going to down to injury, and if he is not ready, back up Jeff Driskell, who looks very much like a work in progress completing 47.1 percent of his passes with two interceptions and no touchdowns, will get the nod.
Either way the Gators will rely heavily on the strongest part of their squad–the running game. And leading the way will be Jeff Demps who should return for this one after missing last game.
Demps is ripping off an average of 8.3 yards per carry for a season total of 324 yards and four touchdowns while backfield cohort Chris Rainey is pitching in with 4.9 yards per carry with two touchdowns. Rainey also is Florida’s leading receiver with 18 catches, while receivers Trey Burton has 13, and Deonte Thompson 12.
The Gators have not been connecting on the long field ball and that’s not likely to improve as they face a Bulldog defense that has accumulated 11 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and 14 sacks. Michael Gilyard is UGA’s leading tackler with 44 followed by Jarvis Jones with 39 and Shawn Williams with 34.
All part of the reason why after starting the season with two losses, the Bulldogs have bounced back with five consecutive wins and are riding a winning streak heading into this one.
The offense has been pushed by quarterback Aaron Murray who has a pass completion percentage of 60.6 percent with 16 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He has gotten plenty of help from freshman Isaiah Crowell who has shown his command of the rushing attack by averaging 4.8 yards per carry for 608 yards and four touchdowns. He will likely shoulder a good part of the offensive load this weekend as leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell (25 catches) is questionable for this Saturday’s contest.
That should make the Gators defense’s job a little easier. Good news for a team that has already showed it can frustrate the oppositions offense, tallying up four interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and 11 sacks. Jon Bostic leads the Gators in tackles with 51, Matt Elam has 43, and Jelani Jenkins has 41.
Both of these teams can light it up, score in a hurry and in bunches. So, with the total set at 47.5, I see this one going over.
This will be Will Muschamp’s first Cocktail Party and it would be a huge win for him against his former team as he played safety for Georgia in the 1990s.
Florida is 7-1 against the spread in their last eight neutral site games, while Georgia is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall.
Matt’s Prediction: Florida 39, Georgia 35