Yes, playing well and beating Florida is always important for Georgia. But it would have extra meaning for these members of the team:
He won't lead Georgia to a national championship, and probably not even an SEC championship. But Murray can beat Florida three times, something only two other Georgia quarterbacks have done: Johnny Rauch, who did it four times from 1945-48, and Buck Belue from 1979-81.
Plus, Murray can burnish his legacy by doing it with a depleted receiving corps: Michael Bennett may be on track to return, but Chris Conley probably won't play. Florida enters this game with the SEC's top-ranked defense, and fourth-best nationally. So if Murray can play well and lead Georgia to a win, it's another testament to his abilities.
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This is the week where Georgia's defense really should do well. A poor performance should not be tolerated.
Florida enters ranked 109th nationally in total offense. Let's repeat that: One-hundred and ninth. The Gators don't have the players who entering the preseason were their top quarterback, tailback and receiver. And new quarterback Tyler Murphy has a sore shoulder.
Murphy, by the way, told Florida reporters on Monday that the Gators would try to confuse Georgia's young defense with a lot of shifts and motion, according to the Gainesville Sun. So unless it was an attempt at gamesmanship, which it probably wasn't, then Grantham and his young defense ought to know what's coming.
Georgia has gone 1-2 without its star tailback, and needed overtime and some luck to get that one win. Now Gurley is expected back, and gets to face the SEC's top-ranked run defense.
Just imagine if Gurley looks like his old self, and is a big reason Georgia wins. It would just reinforce the perception that he's one of the best tailbacks in the country. The Heisman and All-American is off the table, but a run at all-SEC consideration is reachable with a strong finish.
It's been a sorely disappointing junior season for Swann, whose improvement at cornerback against Vanderbilt was overshadowed by the critical muffed punt.
But with Josh Harvey-Clemons uncertain to play, Swann could end up playing the star position, which he looked good at down the stretch against Vanderbilt. And against a team without a proven breakaway receiver, Swann can make some plays.
Two straight wins against his old nemesis have done wonders. No more questions about a losing streak in Jacksonville, having a losing record to even Ron Zook, and so on. Richt's 4-8 record against the Gators is nothing to brag about, but it's a whole lot better than 2-8.
And if Richt can make it a three-game winning streak, then the whole angle pretty much goes away for awhile.