FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Florida head coach Jim McElwain watches from the sideline in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and McElwain become close friends
Mark Humphrey, File
October 28, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) It's been nearly three decades since Georgia really stunned Florida in the ''World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.''

Sure, the Bulldogs have pulled a few upsets in the series over that span, most notably in 1997, 2007 and 2012. But they haven't seriously shocked the Gators since 1989, when the unranked Dawgs knocked off 20th-ranked Florida 17-10 in Jacksonville.

Georgia hasn't had much to toast in the series since.

The Bulldogs, who have dropped 20 of the last 26 meetings, would like to see that change Saturday when they play the No. 14 Gators in one of the Southeastern Conference's most storied rivalries. A touchdown underdog that has dropped three of its last four games, including a home loss to Vanderbilt, Georgia (4-3, 2-3 SEC) could salvage a sub-par season and give coach Kirby Smart a signature win in his first year.

''I think we've got to play our best football, and we have yet to do that all year,'' Smart said.

Florida (5-1, 3-1) hasn't been considerably better, but has managed to get to the top of the SEC Eastern Division. Staying there might be the challenge.

The Gators continue to struggle offensively and could be without their leading tackler, linebacker Jarrad Davis, against Georgia running back Nick Chubb. That combination has some outsiders believing Florida should be on upset alert.

''We're nowhere near where we're going to be and yet we're getting some parts that are actually staring to step up and realize how good they can be,'' Florida coach Jim McElwain said. ''I like where we're going. I like where we're heading. We've got a ton of young guys, obviously, as you look that are playing, and yet at the same time, those guys, it's time that they quit being young.''

The Gators dominated the last two meetings against Georgia, outgaining the Bulldogs by 466 yards on the ground. Florida ran for 418 yards in a 38-20 victory in 2014 and then had 258 yards rushing in a 27-3 drubbing last year.

The loss last season was a factor in Mark Richt getting fired and Smart replacing him.

Smart knows the rivalry as well as anyone, going 1-3 against Florida as a player and then losing two more times as a Georgia assistant. He was on the field for the 1997 victory in which the Bulldogs upset the defending national champion Gators.

But not since 1989 has an unranked Georgia team beaten a ranked Florida squad.

''Our mindset is paying Georgia football,'' safety Quincy Mauger said. ''We don't look at the scoreboard or our record. We continue to play very physical, very tough Georgia football. At the end of the day, it's a game that we love to play, so it doesn't matter what our record says.''

Here are some other things to know about Georgia and Florida, which have played the last 20 years in Jacksonville:

COACHING REUNION: Smart and McElwain became close friends while coaching together at Alabama (2008-11). With Smart and McElwain as coordinators, the Tide went 48-6 and claimed two national championships. ''When you work together like that in an environment like that, you get to know each other pretty well,'' McElwain said. ''I mean, it becomes a family.''

DEL RIO RETURNS: Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio returns to the city where he spent a big chunk of his formative years. The son of current Oakland Raiders coach and former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, Luke essentially grew up in and around EverBank Field. ''It will be fun to be back there,'' the younger Del Rio said. His father, whose team plays at Tampa Bay on Sunday, is expected to be in the stands. If Florida prevails, the Del Rio family will have two wins in Jacksonville in less than a week. The Raiders beat the Jaguars 33-16 on Sunday.

TOP TACKLERS: Georgia's two leading tacklers will be able to play after being cleared in a marijuana investigation . The school announced this week that Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith violated no university policies that would require a suspension.

THOMPSON OUT: Florida announced Friday that running back Mark Thompson, third on the team with 262 yards rushing and two touchdowns, will not make the trip because of ''some choices and decisions he's made.''

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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