With all the injuries on both sides and both teams riding a two-game losing streak, this does not have the feel of a typical Florida-Georgia game going in. It’s not even the biggest game in the state Saturday. That distinction goes to the FSU-Miami game in Tallahassee.
This UF-UGA game has become somewhat irrelevant to the rest of the nation. But for these two unranked and wounded teams who are clinging to their last hope in the Eastern Division race, it’s a huge game, one that could ultimately be a season-changer for the winner.
For Florida, it is desperation time. With all the injuries and all the problems on the offensive line, the season is getting away from the Gators. A loss on Saturday could ultimately lead to UF’s first losing season since 1979.
The mood among the UF players we’ve talked to this week has been good. Very positive. And this team seems very motivated to get back on the field to right all the wrongs that occurred in the debacle at Missouri two weeks ago.
The problem is, do the Gators have enough players (especially on offense) to win this game and turn this season around? I would not bet on that.
Injuries continue to dog this UF team. The latest — losing starting left offensive tackle D.J. Humphries — is a big one that certainly will impact this game. It forces the coaching staff to start little-used junior college transfer Trenton Brown at right tackle and move right tackle Tyler Moore to the vital left tackle spot. And the struggling Moore was about to get benched for his poor pass protection at right tackle. That does not bode well for the offense or the Gators.
I know the Georgia defense has been pretty porous all season. But I don’t think the Gators have enough going offensively to take advantage of that. In fact, UF may have to stay on the ground most of the game just to make sure Tyler Murphy doesn’t get killed. He’s had almost zero protection and was sacked a total of 10 times in the back-to-back losses to LSU and Missouri.
Moving Kelvin Taylor into the starting role at tailback certainly could give the offense a spark. But it could be a tough day for the true freshman, who will be running into eight and nine-man defensive fronts the whole game.
If the defense shows up Saturday (something it did not do two weeks ago), the Gators can stay in this game to the end. I just don’t see how they can pull it out with the current state the offense is in.
Prediction: Georgia 21, Florida 13.