Monumental Task On Saturday
Heading into last Saturday the Kentucky Football team was feeling pretty good about things. Following a comeback win against Missouri, an 8-4 season was there for the taking. However, it wasn’t meant to be as Vanderbilt knocked off the Cats 24-21. There’s little time to recover for Mark Stoops’ club as they face the current measuring stick in college football. Let’s preview the game as Kentucky braces for Georgia.
Can The Cats Recover?
Not a whole lot more needs to be said other than the loss to Vanderbilt was arguably the worst under Stoops. In addition given the circumstances, it’s one of the worst losses in program history. For long-time members of the Big Blue Nation who have seen some things, this was that bad.
It seems like a broken record but again most of the issues are with the offense. UK’s lineup features a potential first-round draft pick a quarterback and one of the best running backs in the SEC. Furthermore, they have the best group of wide receivers in school history. With all that being said the inability of this team to score is quite baffling.
Heading into Saturday Rich Scangarello’s offense ranks 94th in the country averaging 23.3 points per game. In the red zone, they’re even worse at 98th scoring 79 percent of the time. As a point of reference, their opponent on Saturday leads the nation at a 98 percent scoring rate. Speaking of the Bulldogs as Kentucky braces for Georgia let’s look at them now.
Scouting The Bulldogs
Kirby Smart’s team comes into Saturday sporting a 10-0 record. In addition, the defending national champs are near consensus number one in the polls. Quarterback Stetson Bennett leads the way for the team who’s won 10 straight and 26 of their last 27. On the year he ranks second in the league in passing yards with 2,895 and third in completion percentage at 67.8. Furthermore, he’s run for seven touchdowns.
The Bulldogs feature a two-pronged running attack with Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh. Edwards, a junior, leads the team with 499 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns. So far in his senior year, McIntosh has 425 yards and six scores. He’s also a major pass-catching threat with 31 receptions and that ranks third on the team.
When Bennett throws the ball his favorite target is wide receiver Ladd McConkey, who leads UGA with 43 receptions. Right behind him in catches but first in yards is tight end Brock Bowers, one of the best in America. On the year Bowers averages nearly 16 yards on his 39 receptions and also has four touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia ranks number one in the SEC and sixth in the nation giving up 269 yards a game. Not to mention, they are second to Michigan in the nation allowing 11.6 points per game. Defensive back Malaki Starks leads the team with 48 tackles and two interceptions. Right behind him is linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson with 46 stops including 6.5 for a loss.
Overall the rivalry is quite one-sided in favor of the Bulldogs. Currently, Georgia has won 61 times to 12 for Kentucky with two ties. UGA currently has a 12-game winning streak against the Cats. The Wildcats last win came in Athens all the way back in 2009. Randall Cobb ran for two touchdowns and took advantage of four Georgia turnovers for a 34-27 win. The last win for UK in Lexington came in 2006 as the defense picked off Matthew Stafford three times in a 24-20 win.
Who Wins On Saturday?
Before the year started many, including yours truly, thought this game could be for the SEC East title. Of course, the emergence of Tennessee and Kentucky’s struggles took care of that. However, the Cats could play spoiler if they sprung the monumental upset. Unfortunately for a team that can’t score playing the best defense in football that seems unlikely.
Georgia opened as a 23-point favorite and that seems low. But if you look at the Bulldogs’ season they aren’t always blowing out opponents. Look for Kentucky to come out swinging and keep it close for a while. Ultimately Georgia wears them down on the way to their 13th straight win in the series.
Thanks for checking out our preview as Kentucky braces for Georgia here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back after the game with a recap and then get you ready for the season finale against Louisville.