Murray, Georgia Makes it Three Straight Wins Over Florida
Game 7: Georgia (4-3, 3-2 SEC) vs. Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC)
UGA-UF Both Unranked
The last time both Georgia and Florida were unranked when they played each other was in 2010. The Bulldogs came in 4-4, 3-3 SEC while the Gators were 4-3, 3-2 SEC. Florida posted a 34-31 win in overtime. It was the first time that both teams came in unranked since 1979. That year, Georgia beat the Gators 33-10.
Bye Week For Both
This is only the second time in the series when both teams had a bye before the game at EverBank Field. The first came in 2011. This marks the 21st time in the series that the Gators had an open date before the matchup. Florida is 15-5 against the Bulldogs after an open date. Georgia is 4-3 following a bye week when it has had two weeks to prepare for the Gators.
Going For Three Straight Wins
Georgia is attempting to win three consecutive games in the series for the first time since 1987-89. Also, senior Aaron Murray is trying to become the latest quarterback in Bulldog history to direct his squad to three straight wins over Florida since Buck Belue (1979-81). Quarterback Johnny Rauch went 4-0 versus the Gators in 1945-48.
The Bulldogs lead the series at 49-40-2 with the first meeting in 1904. UF has the series at 48-40-2 and does not count the Georgia win in 1904. In Jacksonville, the Bulldogs hold a 42-37-1 lead.
SEC Record Watch For TD Passes
Senior quarterback Aaron Murray has another SEC career record that is within reach Saturday. He has already set the SEC's all-time mark in Total Offense (12,327) and Passing Yards (12,029). Currently, he ranks second Touchdown Passes. The SEC record for Career TD passes is 114 by Danny Wuerffel (Florida 1993-96). Murray has 112 TD passes entering the Florida game.
Last Three Meetings.
2012: #12 Georgia d. #3 Florida 17-9: The Georgia defense proved to be the story of the game, holding Florida without a touchdown. Jarvis Jones led the unit with a career-high 13 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles. Aaron Murray was 12-of-24 for 150 yards but the Gators picked him off three times. Todd Gurley led the rushing attack with 118 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. The Gators finished with six turnovers with four fumbles and two INTs.
2011: #22 Georgia d. Florida 24-20: Richard Samuel's four-yard touchdown run with 13:18 left capped a Bulldog comeback to compliment a solid defensive effort. Georgia trailed 17-3 at one point and scored twice on fourth down plays. The Bulldogs limited the Gators to 32 yards of offense in the second half and registered six sacks on the day, four by Jarvis Jones. UF's Jeff Demps had a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD. 2010: Florida d. Georgia 34-31 (OT): Chas Henry made a 37-yard field goal to lift the Gators past the Bulldogs in the first overtime game in the series. Will Hill intercepted Aaron Murray's pass on Georgia's possession in the extra period.
Next Man Up
Georgia is hopeful to have sophomore tailback Todd Gurley (ankle), junior receiver Michael Bennett (knee) and freshman safety Tray Matthews (hamstring) back for its game against Florida. During their recent two-game losing streak, the Bulldogs have been without their top two tailbacks, three of their top four receivers and one of their starting safeties. During the game at Tennessee, the Bulldogs lost tailback Keith Marshall and receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett to right knee injuries. Georgia also has not had Matthews the last three contests. Head coach Mark Richt announced that Marshall and Scott-Wesley will miss the rest of the year with ACL injuries. In the Vanderbilt game, junior receiver Chris Conley (ankle) and sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (foot) went down with injuries. Junior receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who was the team's second-leading receiver last year (40 rec., 572 yds., 4 TDs), also sustained a season-ending ACL injury in the season opener at #8 Clemson.
Comfortable Around 4th Down Territory
Georgia has not been afraid to go for it on fourth down this season as leads SEC with a 73% conversion rate at 8-for-11. Last year, Georgia was 4-for-9 (44%) on fourth down attempts. The Gators rank seventh at 63% (5-for-8). Georgia's opponents have been successful 67% of the time on fourth down this season at 8-for-12 while Florida's foes are only 29% (2-for-7).
Wilson Among SEC Tackle Leaders
Junior ILBs Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera have been among the SEC leaders in tackles all year. Currently, they are second and fifth with 69 and 65 tackles, respectively, through seven games. Wilson had a career-high 15 tackles, including a sack, in the overtime win at Tennessee. Herrera posted a team and career-high 12 in the win over #6 South Carolina.
The Bulldogs are minus-five in turnover margin this year, which ranks 13th in the SEC. Meanwhile, Florida is tied for sixth in the SEC at +1. Last time out, the Bulldogs had three miscues (two fumbles, one INT) at Vanderbilt. The Gators also had three turnovers (two fumbles, one INT) during their last action at Missouri.
ON DECK: vs. Appalachian State
This will mark the first meeting with Appalachian State. The Mountaineers are 2-6 (2-3 in Southern Conference play) after topping Georgia Southern 38-14 in Boone, N.C., this past Saturday.
Murray Sets SEC All-Time Passing Mark
Murray Adds Second SEC Record Senior QB Aaron Murray set his second SEC record in his last three games during Georgia's road contest versus Vanderbilt. The Tampa, Fla., native set the SEC record for career total offense in the first quarter. Murray's 12,327 yards surpassed Florida's Tim Tebow, who had 12,232.
With a 24-yard strike to Chris Conley on a 4th-and-4 situation at Tennessee, Murray became the SEC's all-time leader in passing yardage. He now has 12,029 passing yards. Last year, Murray ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency at 174.82. In 2011, Murray graduated with a degree in Psychology after posting a GPA of 3.3. He is now taking undergraduate classes towards another degree.
In his 32 wins as a starter, Murray has 88 TDs to just 18 INTs. Murray is the SEC's leading active player in total offensive yards (12,327), completions (835), TD responsibility (126), TD passes (112) and passing yards (12,029, No. 2 nationally among active FBS QBs).
Here are some of Murray's career highlights:
Active Career Start National Leaders
SEC CAREER RECORD WATCH
DID YOU KNOW?
Aaron Murray is the only QB in SEC history to throw for 3,000 yards or
more in each of his first three seasons. There only have been two in NCAA
history to do it in four seasons: Timmy Chang, Hawaii (2000, '02-04) and
Kellen Moore, Boise State (2008-11)
Going Green In The Running Game
Georgia's current tailback options feature a pair of freshmen in J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas. They have filled in the past three games for injured sophomore stars Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Gurley has been out since the win over No. 6 LSU on Sept. 28 when he went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Marshall was lost for the year with an ACL injury in the first quarter of the UT game.
Since being thrust in to a feature role, the 5-9, 183-pound Green has 42 carries for 248 yards (5.9 average). Not bad for a guy who arrived on campus last January and was listed as an "athlete." Bulldog coaches initially considered him as a cornerback or wide receiver and then in the spring, he got an opportunity at tailback and showed promise.
The 5-11, 202-pound Douglas finished with a career-high 84 yards on 17 carries against Vanderbilt. They have proven to be capable options in the passing game too. Douglas picked up his first career TD reception against the #25 Missouri, a 7-yarder, and he ended the day with six catches for 43 yards. Green managed five receptions for 42 yards versus the Tigers. In the road win over UT, Green responded with a career-high 129 yards on 17 attempts.
Gurley and Marshall Injured, Frosh Emerge
In 2012, true freshmen roommates and North Carolina natives Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall became Georgia's weapons in the backfield. The pair picked up where they had left off during the first three games of 2013. Gurley, who has hit the century mark 11 times in his career, and Marshall combined for more than 100 yards and at least one touchdown in those contests. However, Gurley went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter during the win over #6 LSU and Marshall responded with a career- high 20 carries for 96 yards. Then, Marshall injured his right knee in the first quarter of the Tennessee game after carrying the ball five times for 33 yards.
In the win over #6 LSU, Gurley had eight carries for 73 yards (9.1 avg.) before leaving early in the second quarter because of an ankle injury. For the year, Gurley is averaging 112.5 yds/g as he has tallied 450 yards on 71 attempts. Marshall had 246 yards on 56 attempts this season before being sidelined for the rest of the year with his ACL injury. He was also a threat in the receiving game with eight catches for 111 yards in 2013.
2012 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
2013 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
Big Guys Up Front
In six of the Bulldogs' seven games, Georgia's starting unit for the offensive line has been: senior Kenarious Gates at LT, senior Chris Burnette at RG, senior Dallas Lee at LG, junior David Andrews at C and junior Kolton Houston at RT. The unit has kept the Bulldogs at No. 6 in the SEC in total offense (475.0/g). Burnette was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the Tennessee game after grading out at 82 percent with six dominator blocks and four knockdowns. Houston moved over to LG in the win over #6 South Carolina as sophomore John Theus got the nod at RT. Georgia's offensive line has only allowed three sacks in the last five games after allowing six in the first two contests. Houston got his first shot to play for the Bulldogs after he was ruled eligible after a three-year battle with the NCAA (For more on Houston, check out the story at http://gado.gs/1xu).
Here's a look at Georgia's offensive production this year:
Targeting New Receivers
One of the keys to Aaron Murray's success has been his passing efficiency, and his ability to spread the ball around. Georgia has had a different leading receiver in five of its seven games this year. The matchup with Tennessee proved to be especially costly for the receiving corps. During the contest, the Bulldogs lost redshirt sophomore SE Justin Scott-Wesley (ACL) and junior SE Michael Bennett to right knee injuries. Against Vanderbilt, junior Chris Conley sustained an ankle injury in the game's final play and is questionable for the Florida game. Conley leads the team with 30 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulldogs turned to their theme "Next man up" as senior FLK Rantavious Wooten led the team with a career-high six catches for 38 yards and two scores against the Volunteers. Prior to the Tennessee game, Wooten had just two catches for 46 yards this year. He has now caught at least one touchdown in five consecutive seasons. In 2011, he got a medical redshirt following three games after he sustained a concussion in a car accident.
Yet another Bulldog led Georgia in receiving against #25 Missouri. Freshman TB Brendan Douglas hauled in six passes for 43 yards and his first receiving touchdown during the loss. Five different players caught at least two balls against the Tigers.
In 2013, Georgia had seen the emergence of Scott-Wesley. Against #6 South Carolina, Scott-Wesley posted his first 100-yard performance with three catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, including an 85-yard score. He snagged the game-winning catch against #6 LSU with 1:47 left in the game and finished with four catches for 55 yards.
Bennett had returned from a 2012 ACL injury and was third on the team with 14 catches for 176 yards. Bennett tied his career high with two scores against #6 LSU.
True freshman Reggie Davis caught a 98-yard touchdown strike from Murray to etch their names in school history. This was the longest offensive scoring play in school history. It is also tied for the third-longest passing touchdown in SEC history and is the longest passing touchdown in the FBS this year. Davis was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his efforts. One of the team's receiving leaders last year, Malcolm Mitchell, went down with an ACL injury against #8 Clemson and is out for the year.
In Defense Of The Defense
Although Georgia ranks 14th in the SEC in Scoring Defense at 33.3 points a game, the Bulldogs have surrendered four TDs on Special Teams this year. Also, miscues on Offense and other Special Teams mistakes have resulted in seven additional TD-Drives that have covered 36 yards or less. Georgia has executed a fake punt at #8 Clemson and a successful onside kick in the win over #6 South Carolina.
Results After Turnovers Gave Opponent A Short Field
#8 CU: 16-yard TD drive after Fumble; Tigers tie game at 21 with 3:51 in
Special Teams Miscues and End Result By Opponent
#8 CU: Fumbled snap on 19-yard FG attempt results in turning it over on
Downs with UGA trailing 31-28 in 3rd qtr.
Linebacker Duo Leading The Defense
Junior ILB Ramik Wilson is second in the SEC in tackles with 69 (9.9/g) after a career performance against the Volunteers. The Tampa, Fla., native racked up 15 stops, including a sack, to take over the conference lead before combining for 17 in the last two games. His partner on the inside, junior Amarlo Herrera, added 11 tackles in the Tennessee win and tied for the lead in the Vanderbilt game with 10 stops. Herrera is fifth in the SEC with 65 stops (9.3/g). There have been two Bulldogs to lead the SEC in tackles (Whit Marshall, 1995, 128; Rennie Curran, 2009, 130). Sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins is another playmaker. Jenkins has 25 tackles so far, including a team-high eight tackles for loss of 43 yards. After recording two sacks against the Commodores, Jenkins is third on the team with three sacks. Last year, he had 31 stops with the team's second-most sacks (5.0) behind current Pittsburgh Steeler Jarvis Jones with 5.0. Jones had a school record 14.5 sacks in 2012.
Sacking The Opposition
Georgia ranks fifth with 19 sacks on the season, including 14 in the last four games. Junior DE Ray Drew is the team leader with five sacks. Freshman OLB Leonard Floyd is right behind Drew with four while Jenkins has three.
Drew was flagged for targeting at the start of the second quarter against DEFENSE Vanderbilt and was ejected.
Mauger, Wiggins Get The Nod
True freshmen Quincy Mauger (FS) and Shaq Wiggins (CB) have started the last three games, giving the Bulldogs their fourth different starting lineup in the defensive backfield in seven games. Mauger and Wiggins responded by combining for 13 tackles against the Vols plus 10 more versus #25 Missouri. Wiggins made his first career interception a memorable one, returning it 39 yards for a touchdown at Vanderbilt. It marked only the second INT of the year for Georgia and have the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead with 6:24 left in the first half.
Bulldog sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons ignited the defense with a career-high 15 tackles in the victory over #6 LSU. This was the most for a Bulldog since Alec Ogletree had 15 in the win over Georgia Tech last year. Harvey-Clemons is third on the team in tackles with 37 tackles. However, Harvey-Clemons went down with a right foot injury in the second quarter against Vanderbilt and did not return.
Stout Opposition For The Bulldogs
Four of Georgia's first seven opponents this season have been eighthranked Clemson, sixth-ranked South Carolina, sixth-ranked LSU and 25thranked Missouri, and the Bulldogs are 2-2 against these ranked squads. Did You Know? The Bulldogs held Missouri scoreless in the third period, marking the first quarter all year that the Tigers had not scored (broke a 22-quarter streak).
While the Gamecocks tallied 24 points in the first half, the Bulldog defense held them to six points the rest of the way, including a goalline stand on their final possession midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs' stout rushing defense continued against sixth-ranked LSU. Georgia held the Tigers to just 15 yards on the ground in the first half. LSU finished with just 77 yards rushing after coming into the game averaging 221.0 rushing yards/game.
Georgia has had 13 new starters on defense including seven true freshmen. FS Tray Matthews, OLB Leonard Floyd and CB Brendan Langley became the first true freshmen starters in a season opener on defense under Mark Richt since Kedric Golston (2002). They are the only four on defense under Richt. Prior to them the last true freshman to start in the secondary in a season opener was Tony Flack in 1982 and it was against Clemson in Athens. Flack was the first true freshman (non-kicker) to start a season opener in the Vince Dooley era, which began in 1964.
Third Down Stops
One area the Bulldogs hope to continue to improve on is third down defense. The Bulldogs are 11th in the SEC in the category allowing opponents to convert on third down 42 percent of the time. Offensively, Georgia ranks 13th in the SEC with a 36 percent success rate on third down conversions.
Smith, Drew Anchoring Defensive Front
Smith leads this group and is fifth on the team with 35 tackles after matching his career high with eight versus Tennessee. Also against the Vols, Drew rose to the occasion with five tackles, including a career-high two sacks, before adding another two sacks against #25 Missouri. Drew came into the year with 0.5 sacks and now has five this season.
Redshirt sophomore N Chris Mayes has seen more action of late and posted a career-high six tackles against Vanderbilt.
SPECIAL TEAMS AT A GLANCE
A Look At The Specialists
Morgan ranks among the SEC leaders as he is 10-for-12 on field goal attempts this year (misses were from 52 vs. North Texas, 39 @ Tennessee), including a career-long 56-yarder that is tied for the nation's longest in 2013. Morgan leads the SEC in pts./game at 10.0. His 56-yarder on Georgia's first possession against Tennessee helped him to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. This is the longest since Morgan drilled a 55 yarder in the win over #6 LSU. It is the longest FG for the Bulldogs since Blair Walsh kicked a 56 yarder versus Buffalo in 2011 and the longest on the road in school history. Morgan then won the UT game with a 42 yarder in overtime. It marked the first game-winner by a Bulldog since 2009 (Blair Walsh, 37 yds., ASU).
Morgan scored a career-high 14 points, including his 55 yarder, in the win over LSU as he connected with three field goals and 5 PATs. Morgan got his first career SEC weekly honor following his performance. He is one of four Bulldogs to make FGs of 55 or more longer twice in a season. Morgan joins Rex Robinson (1980), Kevin Butler (1984) and Brandon Coutu (2005).
Sophomore Patrick Beless filled in for Morgan in the first two contests this year and was 10-for-10 on PATs and 2-for-2 on FGs (both versus South Carolina) during the first two games. He was lined up to attempt another 19- yard field goal against Clemson, but a high snap caused a fumble and loss of six yards. Beless made the team in the spring of his freshman year in 2012 and has been on the roster the last two seasons.
Barber ranks third in the SEC in punting at 45.3 on 22 punts. He also ran five yards for a first down on a fake punt from the Georgia 34-yard line at #6 Clemson. Barber returned to average 49.8/yds on five punts against North Texas, including a career-long 61 yarder. In the Tennessee game, a blocked punt led to a touchdown and he sustained a concussion on the play. Junior Adam Erickson finished the game as punter. Erickson punted twice against No. 25 Missouri for a 40.5 average while Barber's two averaged 32.0 yards. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Theus has assumed the role as FG and PAT snapper this season. True freshman Trent Frix has seen action five of six games and is snapping on punts now.
The Return Men
Four Bulldogs have returned kicks this year for an average of 18.3/yds, including the longest by Justin Scott-Wesley of 24 yards against #6 South Carolina. True freshman Reggie Davis has four returns for 69 yards. In the punt return game, junior CB Damian Swann has nine returns for 28 yards while Davis has seven for 45 yards. Sophomore CB Sheldon Dawson was back as an option at kickoff return against Vanderbilt, but has yet to have a return.
Did You Know?
Georgia is one of only two teams since after the 2000 season to beat two top-10 teams in a season before Oct. 1, according to ESPN citing the Elias Sports Bureau. Alabama in 2008 was the other. In fact, Georgia's 44-41 victory over No. 6 LSU marked the first time in school history that the Bulldogs have posted two wins over top-10 teams in Sanford Stadium in the same season.
Did You Know?
Georgia is one of only two teams since after the 2000 season to beat two top-10 teams in a season before Oct. 1, according to ESPN citing the Elias Sports Bureau. Alabama in 2008 was the other.
In fact, Georgia's 44-41 victory over No. 6 LSU marked the first time in school history that the Bulldogs have posted two wins over top-10 teams in Sanford Stadium in the same season.
Georgia's OT Record (5-4)
H: 0-0; A: 3-2; N: 2-2; SEC: 3-2
Bulldog Depth Tested Every Week
Georgia's athletic training staff has been working overtime to keep the Bulldogs as close to full strength as possible while younger, inexperienced players are getting a shot for an increased role due to injuries to the veterans. Numerous key Bulldogs have missed games, gotten hurt during games and a few have been sidelined for the season. Nine Bulldog players have missed game time because of injuries and three on offense are out for 2013.
Out For The Year
Malcolm Mitchell, FLK (ACL), Hurt in 1st quarter of Clemson game Keith Marshall, TB (ACL), Hurt in 1st quarter of Tennessee game Justin Scott-Wesley, SE (ACL), Hurt in 3rd quarter of Tennessee game Injured Starters This Season: Game(s) Missed Todd Gurley, TB (Ankle), 2nd half of LSU; UT, MU, VU Tray Matthews, FS (Hamstring), UT, MU, VU Corey Moore, SS (Knee), Clemson Connor Norman, SS (Concussion), Tennessee Jay Rome, TE (Ankle), South Carolina Michael Bennett, SE (Knee), 3rd quarter of UT game; MU, VU Josh Harvey-Clemons, S (Foot), 2nd quarter of VU game
NFL Picks Record Eight Bulldogs
Georgia tied a school record with eight Bulldogs selected during the 2013 NFL Draft. This equaled Georgia's tally in 2002. Unlike 2002 where Charles Grant was the sole first rounder, the Bulldogs had a pair of first round picks in Jarvis Jones (Pittsburgh Steelers - 17th) and Alec Ogletree (St. Louis Rams - 30th). Georgia had the fifth-most players in the nation selected in the 2013 Draft.
The Bulldogs have 35 players on the active NFL rosters. In addition, Georgia has six players who are either on the injured-reserve or practice squads and five who play in the Canadian Football League.
The Bulldogs have played 14 true freshman this season. Seven of those have started (FS Tray Matthews, CB Brendan Langley, OLB Leonard Floyd, FS Quincy Mauger, CB Shaq Wiggins, ILB Reggie Carter, TB J.J. Green). Ten of the 14 true freshmen play defense.
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