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First-year Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt talks with linebacker Leonard Floyd, who has been part of the Bulldogs' nation-leading plus-13 turnover differential.

SEC WEEKLY HONORS

• Offense: Georgia tailback Nick Chubb, who rushed 30 times for 202 yards (6.7 a carry) and two touchdowns in the win over Arkansas.

• Defense: Georgia defensive back Damian Swann, who had a career-high 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack against the Razorbacks.

• Special teams: Missouri's Marcus Murphy, who had a 96-yard kickoff return and an 82-yard punt return for touchdowns against Florida.

• Freshman: Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes, who had five tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against Tennessee.

• Offensive lineman: Alabama left guard Arie Kouandjio, who helped the penalty-free Crimson Tide amass 602 yards in the rout of Texas A&M.

• Defensive lineman: Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, who had six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the easy victory over Florida.

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Georgia head coach Mark Richt gestures toward the crowd after defeating Troy 66-0 in Athens, Ga.

Georgia is in the driver's seat in the race for the Southeastern Conference East Division championship with its 4-1 league record, which was bolstered the past two weeks with wins at Missouri and Arkansas.

The Bulldogs might be in control for something even bigger should they continue to get at least four turnovers each week. Georgia collected four interceptions and a fumble in its 34-0 rout of Missouri on Oct. 11, and the Bulldogs snagged two interceptions and two fumbles this past Saturday in their 45-32 win over the Razorbacks.

"You love to have them," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Saturday night in a news conference. "The harder you play, the more chances you have to get those types of plays. I would love to know we're going to get four turnovers a game from here on out.

"I could start maybe making plans, but I don't know if you can count on that."

The opportunistic defense under first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has catapulted Georgia to the national lead in turnover margin at plus-13. The Bulldogs were minus-7 in the same category last season, and they have not finished a season with a margin this high in the Richt era that began in 2001 (they were plus-11 in 2003 and '05 and two years ago).

Georgia had a plus-23 turnover margin on its way to the 1980 national championship, with its plus-2.09 ratio ranking among the top five single seasons in NCAA history.

This season is nothing new for Pruitt, who was Florida State's defensive coordinator last season after spending three years as Alabama's secondary coach. FSU had a turnover margin of plus-17 last season, and the 2012 Crimson Tide had a plus-14.

Last year's Seminoles and the 2012 Tide used those advantages to claim BCS titles.

"Before we go out there, Coach Pruitt always stresses for us to get a turnover," sophomore outside linebacker Leonard Floyd told reporters Saturday night. "When we get one, it gives the offense the confidence to go out there and score again."

Floyd recovered an Alex Collins fumble at the Arkansas 7-yard line that set up a touchdown pass from Hutson Mason to Michael Bennett on the ensuing play in the second quarter. On the next possession for the Razorbacks, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins sacked Allen, causing a fumble that Dominick Sanders returned 54 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 38-6.

To have an impressive turnover margin requires an offense that doesn't turn the ball over, and the Bulldogs haven't lost a possession since Mason was intercepted early in the third quarter against Vanderbilt on Oct. 4. Georgia's only lost fumble all season was by receiver Michael Bennett in the first quarter of the first game against Clemson.

"It plays into that," Richt said Sunday. "We work hard on the fundamentals, and securing the ball is very important. We start out in camp teaching the whole team how to secure a ball, how to recover a fumble, how to strip the ball, how to punch it out, how to tackle a quarterback who is not looking -- we work on all those things.

"It's all very important, and thankfully we've done a good job."

Odds and ends

Richt said Monday night on his call-in show that J.J. Green likely would move back to defense this week and that fullback Taylor Maxey could play against Florida after leaving the Arkansas game due to injury. ... The Bulldogs will be seeking their first four-game winning streak against the Gators since taking six straight from 1978 to '83.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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