Georgia vs. Florida: Highlighting Difference Makers to Watch for in SEC Showdown

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 1, 2013

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:  Loucheiz Purifoy #15 of the Florida Gators asks the crowd for noise during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Georgia and Florida both enter Saturday's highly anticipated rivalry showdown in dire need of a win, but only one team can right the ship in Jacksonville.

The Bulldogs and Gators are both in the midst of underachieving seasons by program standards and have each lost their last two games to conference opponents. Fortunately, they'll be able to take out their frustrations on each other this weekend.

But while the game is sure to entertain, the result could hinge on which key difference-maker steps up on Saturday.

Below I'll highlight a trio of difference-makers that college football fans should have their eyes on this weekend in Jacksonville. 


Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, DB

A dynamic and versatile talent who's capable of shining in all three phases, Florida's Loucheiz Purifoy can change the game on one big play.

Look no further than last month's win over Arkansas. Purifoy returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown late in the first half that gave the Gators a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Whether it's a pick-six or a blocked punt, the junior cornerback routinely delivers in the big moments and is the definition of a playmaker. Purifoy has loads of natural talent and athleticism that set him apart from the average cornerback. As a result, the Florida coaching staff has utilized him in a number of different ways over the years.

But look for him to continue to wreak havoc on defense and special teams this weekend. 


J.J. Green, Georgia, RB

Oct 5, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back J.J. Green (15) during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Georgia won in overtime 34 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia freshman running back J.J. Green has done well in place of the injured Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall this season, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and nine yards per catch out of the backfield.

Though Gurley is expected to return to the lineup for the Bulldogs on Saturday, Green has certainly done enough to earn his fair share of touches in this game. Plus, at 5'8", 183 pounds, the freshman provides a change of pace for Georgia in the running game.

Green has quality speed, evidenced by his runs of 32, 39 and 57 yards over the past few weeks, and can also make defenders miss when he gets to the second level as a runner or receiver. He caught five passes for 42 yards in Georgia's recent loss to Missouri.

The best word to describe Green is slippery. And that rare trait makes him a huge asset for Georgia as it gets set to go up against a top-notch run defense in Florida. 


Dante Fowler Jr., Florida, DE

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:  Dante Fowler Jr. #6 of the Florida Gators celebrates a fumble recovery during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Im
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Another dangerous Florida defender worth watching on Saturday is defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., a sophomore who ranks eighth in the nation with three forced fumbles this season.

The 6'3", 266-pound pass-rusher leads all Florida defenders with three sacks in seven games this year and will be a major threat pressuring Aaron Murray this weekend. But Fowler isn't just a solid pass-rusher. He's recorded at least five total tackles in three of the Gators' past four games.

He'll need to be flying around the field this weekend if he's to help Florida get back in the win column and avenge last year's gut-wrenching loss to the Bulldogs.

Whenever Georgia's offense finds itself in a third-and-long situation, be sure to pinpoint No. 6 in Orange and Blue.


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