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NCAAF

Nov 01, 2019

Georgia vs. Florida

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No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 6 Florida Gators

Venue/Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Time/TV: Saturday, Nov. 2, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Georgia -6, Total 45.5

All that’s at stake in Jacksonville for Florida and Georgia on Saturday is an inside track to winning the SEC East, staying alive in hopes of making the College Football Playoff, denying the right for the other to enjoy the aforementioned fruits and – of course – 365 days of bragging rights with a bitter, border rival.

As of late Friday afternoon, most books had the Bulldogs installed as six-point favorites with a total of 45.5. The Gators were +190 on the money line.

Georgia (6-1 straight up, 3-4 against the spread) is off a 21-0 win over Kentucky as a 23.5-point home favorite. The 21 combined points ducked ‘under’ the 46-point total in a game that was played in wet and rainy conditions. In fact, the game remained scoreless until UGA drew first blood on a D’Andre Swift 39-yard touchdown run with 6:20 left in the third quarter.

Brian Herrien added an eight-yard TD scamper for a 14-0 lead with 1:54 remaining in the third. Swift’s three-yard TD run with 6:24 left provided the final scoring.

Georgia had advantages of 14-9 in first downs and 279-180 in total offense. Junior quarterback Jake Fromm completed 9-of-12 passes for a career-low 35 yards, while Swift ran 21 times for 179 yards and a pair of TDs. Herrien produced 60 rushing yards and one TD on 13 carries.

Kirby Smart’s team started the year with wins at Vanderbilt (30-6), vs. Murray St. (63-17), vs. Arkansas St. (55-0), vs. Notre Dame (23-17) and at Tennessee (43-14). However, in a Week 7 home game vs. South Carolina, the Gamecocks came into Athens and captured a 20-17 win in double overtime as 21-point road underdogs.

Fromm entered the game without an interception, but he was picked off three times by South Carolina sophomore CB Israel Mukuamu. South Carolina could’ve won in the first overtime after Mukuamu intercepted Fromm for a third time on the first possession, but Parker White pushed a potential game-winning field goal wide right.

In the second extra session, however, White buried a 24-yard field goal. Rodrigo Blankenship, who might be the second-best kicker in UGA history behind Kevin Butler, had a chance to answer but hooked his FGA from more than 40 yards out.

South Carolina lost starting QB Ryan Hilinski to a knee injury in the second quarter, forcing Will Muschamp to turn to a third-string QB (considering how Week 1 starter Jake Bentley is out with a season-ending injury). Hilinski was hot, too, completing 15-of-20 passes for 116 yards and one TD without an interception. His 46-yard TD pass to Bryan Edwards put the Gamecocks ahead 7-3 late in the opening stanza.

With the score knotted at 10-10, the game turned on Mukuamu’s 53-yard pick-six with 1:00 left until halftime. Georgia got a six-yard TD run from Demetris Robertson with 1:48 remaining to force overtime.

Fromm has connected on 123-of-174 passes (70.7%) for 1,406 yards with a 9/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. True freshman WR George Pickens has a team-best 23 catches for 318 yards and two TDs, while Lawrence Cager has 19 receptions for 245 yards and three TDs.

Cager, who missed the win over Kentucky with an injured shoulder, is listed as ‘questionable.’ Herrien is also a question mark with a back injury, in addition to CB Tyson Campbell, CB Mark Webb and DE Jordan Davis.

UGA has two other notable threats in its WR group, Demetris Robertson and Dominick Blaylock. Robertson, who was a five-star recruit out of Savannah, GA., that started his career at California, has 18 catches for 205 yards and three TDs.

Junior RB D’Andre Swift leads the SEC in both rushing yards (752) and TDs (seven). Swift is averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Herrien has run for 311 yards and five TDs, averaging 5.9 YPC. Redshirt freshman Zamir White has 245 rushing yards, two TDs and a 6.3 YPC average.

Kirby Smart’s team is ranked No. 15 in the country in rushing yards and No. 24 in scoring with its 36.0 points-per-game average. Fromm has been sacked only four times this year, with three of those coming in the loss to South Carolina.

UGA is seventh in the nation in total defense, fifth in run defense and fifth in scoring ‘D’ (10.6 points per game). The Bulldogs’ stop unit is led by junior LB Monty Rice, who has a team-high 41 tackles to go with three QB hurries and one pass broken up. Freshman LB Azeez Ojulari has a team-high 3.5 sacks and 14 QB hurries.

Florida (7-1 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) owns wins vs. Miami (24-20 in Orlando), vs. UT-Martin (45-0), at Kentucky (29-21), vs. Tennessee (34-3), vs. Towson (38-0), vs. Auburn (24-13) and at South Carolina (38-27). The UF defense came up large late in the fourth quarter against the Hurricanes in an Aug. 24 season opener.

After fourth-year junior QB Feleipe Franks went down with a season-ending injury in the third quarter at Kentucky, Kyle Trask rallied Florida from a 21-10 fourth-quarter deficit to win a 29-21 decision as a 9.5-point road favorite. Trask, another fourth-year junior signal caller, had not started a game since his freshman year of high school (when he was the back-up to Houston star QB D’Eriq King), but he has been outstanding since taking over for Franks.

Trask completed 19-of-31 throws for 234 yards and two TDs without an interception against Auburn. He was sharp in UF’s only defeat as well, throwing for 310 yards and three TDs compared to one interception in a 42-28 loss at LSU that was a much closer game than the final score indicated.

Dan Mullen’s squad came up empty on a pair of fourth-and-goal attempts in the fourth quarter against the Tigers, who were aided by injuries to UF’s two best pass rushers, preseason All-American DE Jabari Zuniga and DE Jonathan Greenard. Zuniga didn’t play against Tennessee or Auburn after spraining his ankle in the third quarter of the victory at Kentucky. He tried to give it a go against LSU but clearly wasn’t 100 percent and eventually left the game.

Greenard injured his ankle the week before LSU against Auburn. He left the game after the first series in Baton Rouge. Zuniga and Greenard both sat out in the win over the Gamecocks. Both edge rushers have been listed as ‘probable’ since Monday.

Greenard, a junior who transferred to UF from Louisville, has played like an All-American since donning the orange and blue colors. He has recorded 28 tackles, seven QB hurries, four sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, three PBU, one forced fumble and one interception. Zuniga has been limited to just four games, producing 11 tackles, three sacks, 2.5 TFL’s and one QB hurry.

UF will also welcome the return of explosive WR Kadarius Toney, who hasn’t played since sustaining a wrist injury in the Week 2 win over UT-Martin. Toney, who is listed as ‘probable,’ turned a receiver screen into a 66-yard TD catch in the opener against Miami. The junior wideout produced 10.9 yards on 46 touches in 2018, including the-game winning TD pass in a 13-6 victory at Mississippi St. Toney played QB in high school and is sometimes featured in the Wildcat formation.

Florida went into the fourth quarter trailing South Carolina, 20-17, only to explode for 21 points in the final stanza. Trask found Freddie Swain for a 25-yard TD pass to put the Gators up 24-20 with 9:54 remaining. Next, Trask hit TE Kyle Pitts with a five-yard scoring strike. Finally, a five-yard TD toss to Trevon Grimes made it 38-20 with 4:02 left.

Trask threw for 200 yards and four TDs with one interception at South Carolina. Dameon Pierce produced 87 rushing yards and one TD on seven carries, while LaMical Perine had 68 rushing yards on 14 totes. Redshirt freshman WR Jacob Copeland had three receptions for 89 yards and one TD.

For the season, Trask has completed 67.5 percent of his throws for 1,391 yards with a 14/4 TD-INT ratio. Emory Jones, the redshirt freshman QB who saw significant playing time against Auburn and LSU, has connected on 17-of-28 (60.7%) passes for 125 yards and two TDs without an interception. Jones has run for 116 yards and one TD, averaging 6.1 YPC.

Pitts is enjoying a breakout campaign as a true sophomore, hauling in a team-high 35 receptions for 391 yards and four TDs. Swain has 21 catches for 339 yards and four TDs, while Van Jefferson has 21 grabs for 331 yards and three TDs.

Perine has 461 rushing yards and four TDs, averaging 4.7 YPC. Peirce has 248 rushing yards and three TDs on 35 attempts for a 7.1 YPC average.

Florida is ranked 25th in the nation in total defense and 12 in scoring ‘D’ (15.8 PPG). Senior LB David Reese is second in the SEC in tackles with 66. He has one TFL and one sack. Junior cornerback CJ Henderson, who was a second-team All-SEC selection last season, paces the SEC in PBU with nine even though he’s played in only five games. Henderson was injured against UT-Martin and missed the next three contests.

The ‘under’ is 5-2 overall for UGA, cashing at a 4-1 clip in its past five contests. The Bulldogs have seen their games average combined scores of 46.6 PPG.

The ‘under’ is 5-3 overall for the Gators, who have seen their games average combined scores of 48.2 PPG. However, UF has seen back-to-back games ‘over’ the total with combined scores of 65 and 70 points.

UF has won 21 of 29 head-to-head meetings over UGA since 1990, but the Bulldogs have prevailed in the last two meetings. They ran the Gators out of town in a 42-7 triumph two seasons ago.

Georgia pulled away from UF in the fourth quarter to win by a 36-17 count as a seven-point ‘chalk’ last year. Fromm was the catalyst, hitting 17-of-24 passes for 240 yards and three TDs without an interception. Swift had 104 rushing yards and one TD on 12 carries.

Friday’s weather forecast in Jacksonville was for late showers, but the chances of rain on Saturday afternoon are only 20 percent. The conditions are expected to be cloudy with a high temperature of 68 degrees.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

-- The ‘under’ is 5-2-1 in the past nine UF-UGA games in Jacksonville.

-- Best ATS teams: Ohio State (7-1), Auburn (7-1), Louisiana (6-1), Clemson (6-2), SMU (6-2), Georgia State (5-1-2), Oklahoma State (6-2), Tulane (6-2) and Kentucky (6-2).

-- Worst ATS squads: Akron (0-8), UMass (1-7), Nebraska (1-7), Vanderbilt (1-6), Ga. Tech (1-6), Texas State (1-5-1), Rutgers (2-6), Bowling Green (2-6), Arkansas (2-6), Mississippi State (2-6), Syracuse (2-6), FIU (2-6), North Texas (2-6), Michigan State (2-6), Ohio (2-6), Army (2-6) and Marshall (2-6).

-- Oklahoma State won’t have star WR Tylan Wallace for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. Wallace had 53 receptions for 903 yards and eight TDs in eight games for the Cowboys, who are 2.5-point home favorites Saturday vs. TCU.

-- Michigan State senior LB Joe Bachie saw his collegiate career come to a premature end Thursday when the NCAA suspended him for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug. Bachie was a second-team All-Big-Ten selection in 2017 and a fourth-team All-American for the Spartans last year. He had 71 tackles, five TFL’s, four PBU, 3.5 sacks, three QB hurries and one interception in 2019.

-- The ‘under’ has cashed in five straight Utah State games. The Aggies host BYU on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. As of late Friday afternoon, most books had Gary Andersen’s team listed as a three-point home favorite vs. the Cougars, who will be without a pair of starters on the offensive line (Tristen Hoge and Kieffer Longson). The total was 50.5 points.

-- Indiana LB Thomas Allen is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Allen, a sophomore who had 28 tackles, two TFL’s, one sack and one interception in 2018, had recorded 17 tackles and 0.5 TFL’s before going down. IU quarterback Michael Penix is ‘questionable’ Saturday vs. Northwestern, so Payton Ramsey will likely get the starting nod. Ramsey has completed 72.1 percent of his passes with an 8/3 TD-INT ratio.

-- Northwestern DE Ernest Brown is out at IU with an undisclosed season-ending injury. Brown had 22 tackles, four sacks, 3.5 TFL’s, four QB hurries and three PBU for the Wildcats last year. In 2019, he produced 15 tackles, two sacks, 0.5 TFL’s and two PBU in six games. Don’t blame Northwestern’s issues on senior DE Joe Gaziano, who was a second-team All-Big-Ten selection in 2018. Gaziano has 31 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three TFL’s, three forced fumbles, one QB hurry and one PBU. Pat Fitzgerald’s team is one of the nation’s biggest disappointments, and it’s all on the offense. The Wildcats are last in the nation, No. 130 out of 130 FBS team, in scoring with their 10.6 PPG average. They’ve scored more than 15 points only once this year, a 30-spot in a home win over UNLV. Northwestern is an 11-point underdog at IU. The Hoosiers are 7-2 ATS in nine games as a double-digit favorite on Tom Allen’s watch.

-- Northwestern RB Isaiah Bowser and WR JJ Jefferson have both ruled ‘out’ at IU.

-- Three QBs were upgraded to ‘probable’ earlier this week: FAU’s Chris Robison, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez.

-- Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman remains ‘questionable’ vs. North Carolina St. The Demon Deacons, who have had two weeks to prep for the Wolfpack, are favored by 7.5 points.

-- Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier is ‘questionable’ at San Jose St. The Spartans are 17-point home underdogs.

-- South Carolina RB Rico Dowdle is ‘out’ vs. Vanderbilt.

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