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Southern Discomfort: Florida vs. Georgia Football Rivalry

Bottle of Southern Discomfort-Florida vs Georgia Football Rivalry
Image Credit: Cody Slovensky

It been described has as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” And it is a game with a trophy. The straw that stirs the drink the size of a football field is a 10-foot-long wooden oar carved from a cypress tree growing in the Okefenokee Swamp.

The Florida-Georgia football rivalry has been doling out punishment on the gridiron for over a century. This fierce rivalry began in 1904 or 1915, depending on who you talk to, and has been played continuously without interruption since 1944.

These two teams have showcased elite talent and some great games over the years, with the Georgia Bulldogs enjoying a 54-44-2 series advantage.

Here is a look back at some of those notable games.

1941: Georgia 19 – Florida 3

Georgia HB Frank Sinkwich rushed for 142 yards and scored two touchdowns, all with a broken jaw, in leading the Bulldogs to victory.

1942: Georgia 75 – Florida 0

The Bulldogs were undefeated and ranked #1 in the country coming into the game. UGA’s star halfbacks, Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich and Charlie Trippi, ran up and down the field on the Gators like a couple of scalded dogs, combining for seven touchdowns on the day. Georgia finished the season 10-1 and won the national championship.

1966: Georgia 27 – Florida 10

Florida came in with a 7-0 record and a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Steve Spurrier. As such, Spurrier had his worst game of the season at the worst possible time, throwing three INTs in the 17-point loss.

While the head football coach at Florida, Spurrier went 11-1 against the Bulldogs.

1980: Georgia 26 – Florida 21

The Bulldogs were undefeated and ranked #2 in the country. But with less than a minute left on the game clock, Georgia found themselves down by one point 21-20 and the ball on their own 7-yard line.

QB Buck Belue took the snap from center and scrambled to his right out of his own end zone. Belue then fired a strike to WR Lindsey Scott, who was wide open in the middle of the field. Scott made the catch and eluded all pursuit of would-be Florida defenders on his way to the end zone for a 93-yard game-winning score.

1995: Florida 52-Georgia 17

Florida QB Danny Wuerffel put in a day’s work in the first half with five touchdowns and 242 passing yards and was done for the day. His backup, Eric Kresser, wanted in on the action and tossed two TD passes of his own in the rout of the Bulldogs between the hedges. In fact, it was the most points scored between the hedges in the history of this rivalry.

2008: Florida 49 – Georgia 10

The Gators led 14-3 at halftime. The Bulldogs committed four turnovers in the 2nd half. In response to the “Gator Stomp” (performed in the endzone by the entire Georgia team the previous year), Florida scored 28 2nd half points on their way to a 42-30 win.

2020: Florida 44 – Georgia 28

The Gators scored 38 points in the first half and took a 38-21 lead into halftime. Apparently, both teams were tuckered out from the first-half scoring barrage. Florida outscored Georgia 7-6 in the second half. This game featured a 75-yard touchdown run by Bulldogs RB Zamir White and a 37-yard pick-six by Georgia’s Eric Stokes. But it was not enough. QB Kyle Trask passed for 474 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT in leading the Gators to victory.

2023: #1 Georgia (7-0) vs Florida (5-2)

Of course, the Bulldogs are -15.5-point favorites in this one. Both teams play stout defense. Georgia fields a stingy defense, based on the following rankings:

· #6 in Total Defense @ 262 yards/game.

· #9 in Pass Defense @ 171 yards/game.

· #11 in Rushing Defense @ 91 yards/game.

· #7 in Scoring Defense @ 14 points/game.

· #1 in Opponents 3rd Down Conversions % @ 23.6%

However, they rank 108th and 103rd in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (36), respectively.

On offense, Carson Beck is the engine that drives the bus. Beck ranks #8 in the country with 2147 yards, 12 TDs, and 4 INTs. He averages 306 passing yards per game. But with Brock Bowers out with an injury, can the passing attack keep pace? We shall see.

RB Daijun Edwards leads the ground attack with six rushing touchdowns and averages almost 6 yards per carry (5.75).

For the Florida Gators, their defense is good. They rank nationally in the following categories:

· #18 in total defense @ 312 yards/game.

· #21 in pass defense @ 187 yards/game.

· Allow 20 points per game scored against them.

· #10 in Opponents 3rd Down Conversion %= 29%

However, they have not been a disruptor in the backfield or in pressuring the quarterback, ranking 111th in sacks with just 11 and 105th in tackles for loss with only 36 through seven games. In addition, they have picked off only two passes this season.

Florida QB Graham Mertz (a Wisconsin transfer) has thrown for 1897 yards, 12 TDs, and 2 INTs. Mertz has completed 76% of his passes. In fact, Mertz has completed 70% or better of his passes in 6 of 7 games this season. Mertz is coming off a 41-39 win over South Carolina in which he threw for 423 yards and 3 TDs.

Mertz’s favorite target is WR Ricky Pearsall, who has caught 44 passes for 619 yards and 3 TDs.

The players will be fired up for this one, and the fans will surely be liquored up. So, raise a glass football fans, and strap in for some great football in Jacksonville.



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