No. 1 Georgia puts its 24-game win streak on the line against rival Florida in the ‘Cocktail Party’
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Two-time defending national champion and top-ranked Georgia puts its 24-game winning streak on the line against rival Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Bulldogs have won two in a row and five of six against the Gators in the neutral-site rivalry nicknamed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
Florida coach Billy Napier, with a top-five recruiting class in the works, is trying to close the gap on Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs — or at least not fall further behind — and winning in Jacksonville would fast track his rebuild.
No. 1 Georgia (7-0, 4-0 SEC) vs Florida (5-2, 3-1), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS).
Line: Georgia by 14 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Debatable. Georgia says it leads 55-44-2 and counts a victory in 1904. Florida insists that first meeting came two years before the school formally formed its football program and says it should be 54-44-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Bulldogs have the nation’s longest winning streak, a 24-game run that includes back-to-back national championships. They’ve won two in a row and five of six against the Gators in the neutral-site rivalry nicknamed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Florida coach Billy Napier, with a top-five recruiting class in the works, is trying to close the gap on the Bulldogs — or at least not fall further behind — and winning in Jacksonville would fast track his rebuild.
Georgia RB Daijun Edwards versus Florida’s run defense that was gashed by Kentucky and has allowed 4.31 yards a carry, 11th in the SEC. Edwards, who made his first career start at South Carolina last month, had a career-high 146 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 37-20 victory against Vanderbilt on Oct. 14. He leads Georgia with 460 yards rushing and five touchdowns despite missing the first two games while recovering from a sprained knee.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia: With All-American TE Brock Bowers sidelined with a sprained ankle, sophomore Oscar Delp should get a chance to slide into a starting role with the Bulldogs. Delp has 13 catches for 160 yards and two TDs this season.
Florida: WR Ricky Pearsall leads the team with 44 catches for 619 yards and three touchdowns. He also has a rushing score and is the Gators’ primary punt returner. He had 10 receptions for 166 yards, including a 21-yarder for a score with 47 seconds remaining, in a win at South Carolina two weeks ago.
FACTS & FIGURES
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is 5-2 in the ‘Cocktail Party.’ … Carson Beck will be the third Jacksonville native to start at QB in the series in his hometown. Florida’s Don Gaffney (1973-75) and Tim Tebow (2007-09) are the others. … The Bulldogs lead the nation in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only 23.6%. Georgia’s last three SEC opponents have been successful 19% of the time on third down. … Georgia is No. 1 in The AP Top 25 for the 19th consecutive week, the third-longest streak of all-time and the longest in SEC history. … The Bulldogs have won 34 consecutive regular-season games, beginning with a 31-24 win over Mississippi State on Nov. 21, 2020. … The Gators have never beaten the nation’s No. 1 team while unranked. ... Florida QB Graham Mertz has completed 76.2% of his passes, which leads the SEC and ranks third nationally behind Oregon’s Bo Nix and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. … The Gators have scored in 443 consecutive games, an NCAA-record streak that began in 1988.
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