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Gameday- Saga continues in Florida-Georgia rivalry

Josh Ciganek

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Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

On Saturday afternoon, the Florida Gators will travel a short 90 minutes to EverBank Field in Jacksonville to take on the #3 Georgia Bulldogs in another episode of the fight for the Okefenokee Oar. Florida looks to its streak of winning in this series, being the victor of the last three years.

A series that began all the way back in 1915, the University of Georgia holds the overall series lead with a total of 50 wins, 43 losses, and two draws. The two schools have played each other every year since 1926, only missing in the year 1943 because of WWII.

As Florida looks to continue its recent winning ways against Georgia, there are a few things to watch for on Saturday.

A big component to Georgia’s success this season is the running game led by senior Nick Chubb. Chubb is looking to improve on his 2016 campaign in which he rushed for 1130 yards and eight touchdowns. So far, he has already matched his touchdown total from 2016 and has racked up 688 rushing yards in 2017.

Chubb is joined in the backfield by senior Sony Michel and freshman D’Andre Swift who have helped the Bulldogs rush for 280 yards per game. With the Florida defense allowing only 143 yards per game, Georgia will have to come up with a different game plan on how to attack the Gators. Florida will need linebacker David Reese, who leads the team in tackles, to step up and keep all eyes peeled on this trio of running backs.

As we wrote earlier this week, as good as Chubb and Michel are, it’s Herschel Walker who still owns the Gators 35 years later.

Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks has completed 64% of his passes in the six games he has played. However, he has not played against a pass defense like that of the Georgia Bulldogs. Led by safeties J.R. Reed and Dominick Sanders, the Georgia pass defense has allowed only 170 yards.

The safety tandem is credited with three of the Bulldogs’ five interceptions this season as well as six pass breakups, each with three apiece. Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier will need to draw up a different play scheme to combat the defensive efforts of Sanders and Reed.

One of the bright spots for Florida this year has also been their ground game. Led by Malik Davis and Lamical Perine, the Gators have rushed for at least 165 yards in the last five consecutive games. This is the first time since 2009 that Florida has accomplished this feat when they did so in six straight games.

Georgia is ranked fourth in the nation in rush defense, only allowing an average of 82 yards per game and three total opposing touchdowns. Florida will need strong performances from Davis and Perine respectively if they want a chance at defeating the Bulldogs.

This will be the 96th meeting between the two SEC powerhouses. With kickoff scheduled for 3:30, Florida will hope to defeat their first top three team since 2010.

Josh Ciganek is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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