Inside the Numbers: Florida’s passing offense, youth and the Georgia game

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Welcome to the latest installment of Inside the Numbers, a weekly column that breaks down the stats and numbers you need to know about Florida Gators football heading into gameday.

The Gators are 3-3 heading into its game on Saturday against the undefeated and third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

Here’s a closer look at the matchup and some tendencies to watch out for:

Evaluating Florida’s passing offense

Feleipe Franks’ biggest strength as a quarterback is his arm strength. It was seen most notably on his 63-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland against Tennessee.

However, the deep ball has turned out to be one of his bigger weaknesses this year.

According to CFB Film Room, Franks has completed just 25 percent of his passes that went at least 20 yards in the air with an interception and the one touchdown pass.

And while Franks is completing more than 85 percent of his passes that travel less than 10 yards downfield through the air, 2 of his 3 interceptions have come in the short range.

While Franks ranks tied for 26th nationally in completion percentage (64.2 percent), he is tied for 48th in yards per attempt (7.5) and just 99th nationally in passing yards per game (133.3).

Young guns

Through six games, 75 of Florida’s 132 starts this season — or 56.8 percent — have been by underclassmen with a relatively even split. On offense, 10 underclassmen have tallied 39 starts, including 13 starts by four freshmen. The defense has had nine underclassmen record 36 total starts, including 12 starts by three freshmen.

Of the youngsters, freshmen Malik Davis and Marco Wilson stand out above the rest of the pack.

Davis’ 84.33 rushing yards per game ranks fourth nationally among freshmen and is 48th overall. If he keeps this pace, he will be the first Florida running back to finish in the top 50 nationally since Mike Gillislee in 2012.

With a team-leading 506 rushing yards to his name and five games left to play, Davis is likely to become the first freshman lead the Gators in rushing for an entire season since the great Fred Taylor did so in 1994. He also has a chance to become the first Gators running back since Emmitt Smith in 1987 to rush for 1,000 yards in his first year on campus.

Meanwhile, Wilson has established himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC. He’s tied for second among freshmen and tied for seventh overall in the conference with 7 defended passes. According to CFB Film Room, Wilson has allowed just 4 catches and no touchdowns on 23 targets this season and is the only corner in the conference with at least 20 targets who has contested more than half of said targets.

A closer look at the Florida-Georgia series

  • The Gators are 43-49-2 all-time in the series, but have won three straight dating back to 2014.
  • In Florida’s last three wins over Georgia, the Gators held the Bulldogs to 231 total rushing yards and just 3.2 yards per carry.
  • The Gators are 3-11 all-time in the series when Florida is unranked and Georgia is ranked.

Five key Florida stats

  1. The Gators are averaging 200.4 rushing yards per game in SEC play, the sixth-best mark in the conference.
  2. Florida is one of five schools nationally that has a 100-percent red-zone conversion rate. However, the Gators are also tied for the fifth-fewest red-zone trips (15).
  3. Florida is holding opponents to a 29.89 percent third-down conversion rate, which ranks 16th nationally and third in the SEC.
  4. 10.5 percent of Florida’s plays on defense (41 of 392) have ended in a tackle for loss.
  5. The Gators are averaging 7.2 penalties per game, second-most in the SEC.

Three key Georgia stats

  1. Outside of a 20-19 win at Notre Dame, Georgia has won every game this season by at least 21 points. The Bulldogs have outscored their four SEC opponents thus far by a combined 125 points.
  2. Georgia ranks third nationally in total defense, giving up an average of just 252.6 yards per game. The Bulldogs have held three of its six FBS opponents (Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Missouri) to more than 150 yards below their average offensive output.
  3. Georgia seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are the only running back tandem from the same school ranked in the top-10 in the SEC in rushing yards per game. Chubb ranks third (98.29 yards/game), while Michel ranks eighth (82 yards/game).

The post Inside the Numbers: Florida’s passing offense, youth and the Georgia game appeared first on SEC Country.

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