When Kentucky and Georgia kick off at 6:00 pm on ESPN they look to do something not done in almost a decade, beat the Bulldogs. The Cats face a tough test on Saturday matching up against a Georgia team coming off a surprising loss. Can Kentucky shock the world or will Georgia rebound? Let’s look at both teams and give you a prediction on the game.
Heading To Athens To Face Some Angry Bulldogs
Righting the Ship
Mark Stoops’ squad broke a three game losing streak with a 24-20 come from behind victory over Arkansas. Stepping in for the injured Sawyer Smith junior wide receiver and former high school quarterback Lynn Bowden had a career game with 274 yards of total offense. In addition he accounted for all three Wildcat touchdowns. As a result of his strong start Bowden has been named a first team midseason All-American by the Associated Press.
Smith returned to practice this week and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran says he throwing the ball well. Obviously Georgia is going to have to prepare for both quarterbacks. However based on his success last week you would think Bowden would be the starter.
Whether it’s Bowden or Smith under center don’t expect Kentucky’s game plan to change very much. Look for them to try to establish the run game behind A.J. Rose and Kavosiey Smoke. The Cats ran for 330 yards last week but it’s hard to see them duplicating that this week.
Georgia’s defense has allowed only two runs of more than twenty yards this season which ranks them fifth in the country. In addition their defense is sixth in the nation allowing only 73 yards per game. On the other side of the ball Kentucky has 17 rushes for more than 20 yards, ranking sixth in the country. Something has to give and like most games the battle will be determined up front.
What Went Wrong?
Kirby Smart’s club went into last Saturday with serious national title hopes. However they were upset 20-17 in double overtime by South Carolina. Down to their third string quarterback Dakereon Joyner stepped up leading the Gamecocks to the victory. While not totally derailing Georgia’s title hopes they certainly are going to need some help.
Quarterback Jake Fromm had a game to forget playing a role in all four of the Bulldogs turnovers. He lost a fumble and had three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. In addition his final pick came in the first overtime. Making matters worse the normally reliable Rodrigo Blankenship missed two field goals including one that would have sent the game into a third overtime. For the game South Carolina held the Georgia rushing attack to nearly 100 yards below their average.
The Last Time They Met and Series History
This will be the 71st time the Wildcats and Bulldogs have met with Georgia leading the series 58 wins to 12. They have won nine in a row and 25 of the last 28. Kentucky’s last win came in 2009 when they won in Athens 34-27. That victory made our list of greatest wins in school history.
A season ago the Bulldogs came into Lexington with the SEC East title on the line. Behind two touchdowns and 156 yards from D’Andre Swift Georgia won 34-17. They finished 11-3 losing to Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Kentucky of course went on to their best season in 41 years going 10-3 and defeating Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.
There’s no doubt the Cats face a tough test on Saturday as they head to Georgia. The question is do they have a chance? Kentucky got a much needed win last week to keep their bowl hopes alive. Currently we have them slated to face TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
A bigger question going into Saturday is did South Carolina expose some weaknesses with Georgia or was it just a bad game? The Gamecocks played physical and took the fight to the Bulldogs. They were great on first and second down forcing Fromm to beat them with the pass.
Whether or not Kentucky can have similar success remains to be seen. However we know the Cats are going to try to establish the running game no matter who the starting quarterback is. As mentioned earlier based on his play making ability having Bowden under center gives the Cats the best chance of winning.
No matter who is the quarterback is it’s doubtful Georgia is going to lay an egg two weeks in a row. Look for the Bulldogs to bounce back with a win.
Georgia 38- 17
The Cats face a tough test on Saturday at Georgia. Whether they pass or fail we’ll the post game recap for you here at Last Word On College Football. Up next Kentucky hosts Missouri under the lights next Saturday at Kroger Field.