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Georgia was able to ice the game with a Blair Walsh 30-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs up 44-25 late in the fourth quarter. Kentucky was able to add more points to their total as Mike Hartline thew his fifth touchdown pass of the game to Raymond Sanders, but it was too little to late for the Wildcats and are virtually out of the SEC East race.
The Bulldogs surrendered more points then that have in recent games, but they were able to win the turnover battle and they were able to get after Hartline as Justin Houston sacked Hartline three times and Houston now has 9.5 sacks for the year.
This was a big win for the Bulldogs because they improve their record to 4-4, they are also 3-3 in the SEC and they are riding high going into Jacksonville next week for the Cocktail Party. I may get killed for saying this, but Georgia maybe, just maybe be the hottest team in the SEC that is not named Auburn. The question now is can they get over the psychological aspects of Jacksonville and defeat a reeling Florida team?
Everyone in Lexington knew Kentucky had to throw the ball in order to get back in the game, and the Wildcats were able to come away with points as Mike Hartline threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews to cut the Bulldogs lead to 16 points. They were able to cut the lead to 16 because they were able to convert the two point conversion.
Hartline has played a good game, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns. If the Bulldogs can't convert on a few first downs on the ensuing drive, thing could get really interesting because Hartline has athletes all over the field and can score at will.
Oh, and for those wondering Washaun Ealey's stats so far in the contest, 25 carries, 117 yards and five touchdowns. I think it's safe to say he will be SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Well, that's if the media members who vote did not see Cam Newton lead Auburn to a huge win against LSU today.
Kentucky is still fighting as they get a important score to cut the Bulldog lead in half, thanks to a Mike Hartline 22-yard pass to La'Rod King - that's the good news for the Wildcats the bad news is when King went down with the grab, his lower right leg and upper right leg went in two different directions and his return to the game is questionable.
Georgia was able to bounce back though, as they recovered an onside kick attempted by Kentucky and led to another Washaun Ealey touchdown, this time it was a 1-yard run and the Bulldogs start the fourth quarter the way they started the third and the first, and that's scoring touchdowns.
One thing to notice about this game is that Kentucky has the ball well and are controlling the clock better than UGA. It's the turnovers that have killed them and Hartline committed another turnover in the third quarter by throwing an interception in the end zone. That did not lead to points for Georgia, but it took points away from Kentucky.
Georgia on the other hand is playing mistake free football so far and has only committed one penalty. One can make the argument the Bulldogs have played their best game of the season and that's the momentum they need when the Bulldogs take on Florida next week.
It's safe to say Washaun Ealey is having his best game as Georgia Bulldog and it's probably his best game since running over high school defenders when he was at Emanuel County Institute. The second half opened with Georgia driving down the field with a 7-play, 70 yards drive and it ended with Ealey scoring on a 2-yard run. It's his fourth touchdown of the game and is playing like a man on a mission.
The only thing bad about the series is kicker Blair Walsh missing the PAT and it's the first PAT he has missed since being a member of the Bulldogs. Could play a factor as the game rolls on, but the way things are going it's probably not going to matter.
Georgia is keeping the petal to the metal because they know Kentucky can score points at will and Georgia does not want Kentucky to have any chance of making any type of comeback. That's the way to play because the way the SEC has been all season long, anything is possible.
The offense for the Kentucky Wildcats finally got going as Mike Hartline threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to La'Rod King to cut the Bulldog lead to 18. The Wildcats were able to convert a fourth-and five play as Hartline threw a 6-yard pass to Chris Matthews to keep the drive alive.
This was big for the Wildcats to score because it gives them hope for another comeback, just like last week when they were down 28-10 to South Carolina and made the improbable comeback.
Georgia has benefited from turnovers committed by Kentucky. However, Georgia will get the ball to start off the second half and it's important for Georgia to get an early score, just like they did to start the game.
Washaun Ealey was able to do his part with three rushing touchdowns in the first half, now it's time for A.J. Green to get going. He only had four catches for 27 yards so expect Mike Bobo to get Green more involved in the offense in the second half.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. It can kill a team and it's killing the Kentucky Wildcats softly. Deep in their own territory Wildcat running back Donald Russell fumbled and was recovered by Justin Houston at the Kentucky 5-yard line. That led to another Washaun Ealey touchdown to give the Bulldogs the big lead late in the second quarter.
Both lines are dominating Kentucky. The offensive line for Georgia is working the Wildcat defensive line and the Georgia defensive line has been pushing the Kentucky offensive line. This is probably the best showing from the Georgia defense all year. They have created turnovers, forcing Mike Hartline to make bad throws and they eliminated the running game. They just need to keep it up because Kentucky will make the proper adjustments in the second half.
But if the Wildcats keep turning the ball over, it's not going to matter what adjustments they make.
When it rains it pours and Georgia is pouring it on Kentucky as Washaun Ealey scored on a 2-yard run to put the Bulldogs up big early in the second quarter.Once again, credit has to go to the defense as they were able to stop Mike Hartline and company on a fourth-and-one play at the Wildcats 39-yard line.
It's clear Georgia's objective is to use Ealey frequently and it's working as he has rushed for 41 yards on nine carries. This is what the Bulldogs wanted because this will open the passing game and I know A.J. Green is waiting patiently to make a huge play.
The thing is, this is similar to what happen last week when the Wildcats were down big against South Carolina and came back to win in the fourth quarter. If the Bulldogs stay away from turning the ball over, the Wildcats won't repeat what happened last week.
Kentucky normally starts off slow in games and head coach Joker Phillips wanted his team to do a better job getting early points on the board tonight. They were (somewhat) successful as kicker Craig McIntosh kicked a 41-yard field goal to cut the Bulldogs lead to four.
However, the Bulldogs were able to answer back as Fayette County High School alum Brandon Boykin returned the ensuing kickoff for a 101-yard score. It's his first kickoff return TD of the season.
This could not be scripted better for the Bulldogs. They scored on their opening drive thanks to a forced turnover by the defense, they held Kentucky to a field goal and scored quickly again thanks to the special teams.
I know Kentucky can score a lot of points, especially late in games, but they have some work to do because Georgia is on a roll right now.
Starting off fast is key for a SEC team to win on the road and Georgia was able to do that in their opening offensive series against Kentucky as Washaun Ealey scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs the early lead.
Credit has to go to the defense as defensive end Justin Houston sacked Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline deep in the Wildcats territory which led to a fumble and recovered by Cornelius Washington at the Wildcat 26-yard line. That led to Georgia producing a 4-play, 26-yard drive to get the game off right for the Dawgs.
This is what the Bulldogs ordered; getting a turnover on defense and scoring a touchdown on the opening drive on offense. And it looks like Ealey is running like he did last year, so if the Bulldogs keep this up, it should be a good night for the boys in red and black.
There is no question who the Bulldogs will keep an eye on all game long, as Kentucky utility man Randall Cobb will be on the move all night Saturday.
Cobb's main position is at WR, but he can also play some QB and he will sometimes shift in to the running back position. He leads the Wildcats in receiving with 40 catches for 466 yards and is second on the team in rushing with 191 yards.
Here's what Georgia LB Christian Robinson had to say about Cobb:
"What he does is going to influence a lot. Where he’s at means something in this offense. He lines up everywhere. He plays every position. He’s not afraid. On punt returns, he’s going to catch the ball if there’s 20 people around him. He really doesn’t care. He wants to be the guy to make a play. He gets his team excited when he makes those plays."
Cobb is also second on the team in kickoff returns and leads the team in punt returns. And for those who are wondering how he does against the Bulldogs, he tends to play at a high level, rushing for two touchdowns in the win against UGA last year and rushed for three touchdowns in the loss in 2008.
For injury news, Kentucky will be without running back Derrick Locke because of an injured right shoulder. He is Kentucky's leading rusher with 574 yards and seven touchdowns.
As far as Georgia's injuries go, the only player that has been ruled out is CB Branden Smith who is still recovering from a concussion two weeks ago.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Commonwealth Stadium (65,000) — Lexington, Kentucky. Television: CSS. Home Record: Georgia 3-1, Kentucky 3-1. Away Record: Georgia 0-3, Kentucky 1-2. Neutral Record: Georgia 0-0, Kentucky 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia 2-3, Kentucky 1-3. Series Record: Georgia leads, 49-12-2.
Georgia opened the season an unthinkable 1-4, but Mark Richt has found a way to right the ship. His Bulldogs have posted back-to-back victories over league foes by a combined scored of 84-14, including last weekend’s 43-0 whipping of Vanderbilt. Georgia is 2-3 in SEC action and will attempt to even that record on Saturday.
As for Kentucky, it managed to halt a three-game skid with a 31-28 upset of then-10th-ranked South Carolina last weekend. That victory was highly impressive for first-year head coach Joker Phillips and his squad, especially considering that the Gamecocks had beaten then-top-ranked Alabama the previous week. The Wildcats are 4-3 overall, but just one of their wins have come against league competition.
Although Georgia owns a commanding 49-12-2 series advantage over Kentucky, the Wildcats won last season’s meeting by a 34-27 final, their first win against the Bulldogs on the road since 1977.
The Bulldogs are generating 29.7 ppg and 395.3 total ypg this season, and young Aaron Murray has been strong under center. The redshirt freshman has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions. In the three games that star receiver A.J. Green has played since returning from suspension, he has made 16 catches for 279 yards and four touchdowns. Kris Durham paces Georgia with 22 catches, while Washaun Ealey leads the ground attack with 369 yards.
Opponents are scoring just 17.4 ppg against Georgia, which has been tremendous on the defensive side of the ball, especially for a 3-4 football team. The Bulldogs are allowing only 290.1 total ypg, including just 103.4 rushing ypg at a clip of 2.9 yards per carry. There is some room for improvement against the pass, as Georgia is yielding 15.2 yards per completion. If those big passing plays can be eliminated, and that has certainly been the case the last two weeks, Georgia has a chance to be one of the better teams in the SEC. Keep an eye on Akeem Dent, as his 62 total tackles lead the team by a landslide. Justin Houston paces the squad with 6.5 sacks.
Against Vanderbilt last weekend, Georgia posted 547 total yards while allowing just 140 yards, a truly dominant performance by Richt’s troops. The Bulldogs rushed for 232 yards, while Murray racked up 287 yards and two scores through the air. Ealey finished with 123 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Durham posted four catches for 122 yards and a score. One of the most impressive stats of all from that tilt was that Georgia limited Vandy to 1-of-11 success on third-down conversion attempts.
Throughout his career at Kentucky, many have questioned whether quarterback Mike Hartline is good enough to win consistently in the SEC. Against South Carolina last weekend, Hartline silenced many critics by completing 32-of-42 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Chris Matthews was clearly the signal caller’s top target, as he hauled in 12 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats possessed the ball for nearly 35 minutes and finished with 401 yards of total offense.
Defensively, Kentucky permitted 472 total yards to South Carolina last weekend, but all 28 points surrendered to the Gamecocks came in the first half. The fact that the Wildcats were able to pitch a shutout over the final 30 minutes was highly impressive and allowed the comeback to materialize.
Overall this season, Kentucky is generating 35.3 ppg and 429.3 total ypg, and there are four big-time talents on offense. Hartline has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,791 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions, while Matthews has made 33 catches for 482 yards and six scores. Randall Cobb, college football’s most versatile player, has made 40 catches for 466 yards and five scores while also rushing for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Cobb has thrown touchdowns on three of the four passes he has completed and has even returned a punt for a touchdown. As for standout tailback Derrick Locke, who missed the South Carolina game with a shoulder injury, he figured to be held out of action against Georgia as well.
Opponents are generating 29.9 ppg against Kentucky, which is surrendering 361.9 total ypg. The Wildcats have allowed 4.7 yards per rushing attempt and 13.7 yards per pass completion, so there is room for improvement against both means of attack. Danny Trevathan has clearly been the most active defender for coach Phillips, as he has registered 70 total tackles, 24 more than his closest teammate. Trevathan has nine TFLs to his credit.
Expect this game to go down to the wire, and while Georgia is undoubtedly playing with a high level of confidence, give a narrow edge to Kentucky. Cobb will show his versatility and be the difference in this showdown.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kentucky 30, Georgia 27
October 23rd, 7:30 p.m. (et)
Georgia's offense may match up well with a Kentucky defense that's been torched by numerous rushing attacks this season, but the flip side of that coin is a Wildcat attack that seems poised to strike directly at the most glaring weaknesses the Dawgs have exhibited as they've adapted to a new defensive coordinator and a new scheme. This one has the makings of a shootout -- maybe not as wild as Auburn-Arkansas, but perhaps not far off.
KENTUCKY'S OFFENSE, BY THE NUMBERS
Passing: Averaging 270.6 yards per game, 25th in Division I-A. Mike Hartline actually leads the SEC with 230 passing attempts and 22.4 completions per game.
Rushing: Totaling 158.7 yards per game, 51st in the nation. Receiver Randall Cobb is third in the SEC and 11th nationally with 165 all-purpose yards per game.
REASONS TO BE EXCITED
Coming into this season, Kentucky was supposed to have one of the most diabolical running games in the country, while QB Mike Hartline was an afterthought. So how is it that Kentucky's running game is lagging so far behind the passing attack? For that, Wildcat fans can thank the traitorous shoulders of tailback Derrick Locke, who got hurt during Kentucky's close loss to Auburn, missed the subsequent game against South Carolina, and will more than likely be standing on the sidelines for the Georgia game this weekend. His replacement, Donald Russell, has totaled only 165 yards on 45 rushes this season; even all-purpose weapon Randall Cobb has totaled only 74 net yards rushing over the past two games. The upset over South Carolina notwithstanding, Locke's absence takes a big chunk out of the Wildcats' potency.
One of the Georgia defense's biggest vulnerabilities this season (and for several years now) has been mobile QBs; that doesn't look like it's going to be a problem this weekend, either. Mike Hartline has made impressive progress with his arm, but his feet appear to still be made of stone -- he's only netted nine yards on 14 carries. So for the first time in more than a month, Georgia's defense can rest easy knowing that the opposing QB won't be leaving the pocket unless his life absolutely depends on it.
No, there's only one dual threat the Bulldog D will have to worry about Saturday night, and his name is . . .
REASONS TO WORRY
. . . Randall Cobb, who has contributed to the Kentucky offense literally every way he knows how. Officially, Cobb's position is wide receiver, and he's rolled up 466 yards and five touchdowns on 40 catches. However, he's also proven dangerous out of the backfield both as a rusher (32 carries for 195 yards, or 6.1 per carry, and three scores) and a passer (he's 4-of-6 for 51 yards, and three of those completions went for TDs). And as if that wasn't enough, he's got a 12th TD on a punt return and is averaging more than 23 yards per return on kickoffs, too. The fact that he hasn't yet been put in on defense to try and pull off a pick-six betrays a disgraceful lack of imagination on the part of Kentucky's coaches.
In short, Cobb is a nightmare for this Georgia defense. He's now terrorized three straight SEC opponents with a beautifully run wheel route, and the most recent of those opponents may have jeopardized their shot at an SEC title thanks to their inability to cover him. Georgia hasn't faced a truly elite passing attack since getting picked apart by Arkansas' Ryan Mallett in week 3, but that hasn't stopped any of those teams from converting third downs through the air like it was going out of style. In fact, before the Dawgs gathered themselves up and stomped on Vandy's necks last week, their BCS-conference opponents were converting third downs at right around a 50-percent clip.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Georgia's DBs will have other deep threats besides Cobb to worry about. Senior Chris Matthews is actually the team's leading receiver (33 catches, 482 yards, 6 TDs) and ranks fourth in the SEC, one slot ahead of Cobb; La'Rod King also has 249 yards and three scores on 24 catches, and there are three receivers after him (not counting Derrick Locke) who have at least 10 receptions and 100 yards. For this you can thank the UK offensive line, which has done an admirable job of protecting Mike Hartline despite returning only one starter from last year. In fact, last week's matchup with South Carolina was the first time Hartline had suffered multiple sacks in a single game since the season opener against Louisville -- and he still managed to throw for 349 yards and all four of the Wildcats' TDs. If Justin Houston wants to add to his SEC-leading 6.5 sacks, he's going to have his work cut out for him.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Georgia FS Shawn Williams vs. Kentucky WR Randall Cobb. Williams has benefited from some recent personnel shuffling in the struggling Georgia secondary -- he had two tackles in his first start against Tennessee two weeks ago, and had an impressive performance against Vandy last week. There's a big difference, though, between the passing attacks of Tennessee and Vanderbilt and the one Kentucky will throw at the Dawgs on Saturday night. Williams and, indeed, Georgia's entire defensive backfield will have to account for Cobb's whereabouts on every single play, while at the same time managing not to leave other deep threats such as Chris Matthews and La'Rod King uncovered. It's easily their biggest challenge since facing Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas passing attack a month ago.
Just when you thought wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb was more than enough for Georgia to handle, the Bulldogs will have to pay close attention to WR Chris Matthews and CB Anthony Mosley as they were named captains for the game Saturday.
The captains for Kentucky are named due to their performance from the previous game and both Matthews and Mosley were able to make plays when their number was called against South Carolina. Matthews caught 12 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown while Mosley gathered two tackles, recovering one fumble and intercepted a Stephen Garcia pass in the endzone to seal the win for the Wildcats.
Matthews and Mosley will give Georgia fits throughout the game, especially Matthews who leads the SEC in TD receptions with six.
It seemed almost unthinkable when the Dawgs were flying home from Colorado nursing a four-game losing streak, but they've now notched two blowouts in a row over SEC opponents and are only a game out of first place in an SEC East that is looking more and more like a padded room with each passing week. UGA averaged 42 points over those two wins, and an offense that struggled mightily over the first month of the season finally looks like it's putting all the pieces together.
KENTUCKY'S DEFENSE, BY THE NUMBERS
Against the pass: 29th nationally with 185.9 yards allowed per game, though they're coming off a game in which they let South Carolina's Stephen Garcia set a new career best with 382 yards on 20-of-32 passing (two TDs, two picks).
Against the run: 87th in the nation with 176.0 yards allowed per game. They held Carolina's Marcus Lattimore to only 79 net yards but have allowed a hundred-yard rusher in four of seven contests this season.
REASONS TO BE EXCITED
Kentucky's defense is an inexperienced unit that has held up well against the pass, but partly because their opponents have felt free to run it all over them. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because Vanderbilt -- the team Georgia just unloaded on for 41 offensive points and 547 total yards -- followed almost exactly the same pattern. True, the Wildcats did hold Marcus Lattimore under 80 yards in last week's upset win over South Carolina, but Lattimore left the game with an ankle injury after only two carries in the second half; he'd been averaging 5.3 yards per rush up to that point.
Had he been able to play the entire game, it's highly likely he would've been the fifth hundred-yard rusher allowed by the Wildcats this year. It's one thing to give up that many yards to, say, an unstoppable force of nature such as Auburn's Cam Newton (28 rushes for 198 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago in Lexington), but the UK front seven also got gashed by Louisville's Bilal Powell (16 rushes, 153 yards) and Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey (22 for 184, a good portion of that coming while Kentucky still had their defensive starters in).
The Wildcats actually had the SEC's worst run defense before last week; they've since moved up to 11th, thanks mainly to Vanderbilt dropping to dead last after getting gashed by Georgia. But that can't come as much comfort to Wildcat fans, particularly since it looks like the Dawgs may finally be ironing out the kinks in their O-line and running game. With leading rusher Caleb King watching from the sidelines, Washaun Ealey shook off a month's worth of struggles by ripping Vandy for 123 yards and a score; perhaps more importantly, a somewhat retooled offensive line finally opened up some big holes, including one big enough to let Ealey set a new team high with a 58-yard rush in the first quarter. Even little Carlton Thomas managed to break outside for some nice runs, two of which went for touchdowns. With fullbacks Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmaier back up to full strength, this running game is finally rounding into the kind of unit Georgia fans thought it'd be all along.
With respect to QB Aaron Murray, of course, Bulldog Nation is virtually worry-free and has been for some time. Despite facing an athletic and well-coached secondary last week, Murray had another stellar day (15-of-24, 287 yards, two TDs, no picks) that would've been even better if not for some dropped passes in the early going. Murray now ranks 18th in the nation (and #1 among freshmen) in passing efficiency -- he's thrown 12 touchdowns to only three interceptions, a stat that may be the most confidence-inspiring of all. Last year it was a turnover-fueled second-half meltdown that caused a 20-7 halftime lead to collapse into a 34-27 loss; two of those turnovers were picks by QB Joe Cox, and one of them led directly to the touchdown that put the Wildcats ahead for good. It isn't overconfidence on the part of Georgia fans to expect that Murray will avoid those kinds of errors, particularly against a secondary that will have to cover A.J. Green and emerging threats Kris Durham and Tavarres King even while accounting for the departure of the star of last year's defense, cornerback Trevard Lindley.
REASONS TO WORRY
Kentucky is clearly vulnerable up front, but behind that, they're solid. Linebacker Danny Trevathan ranks #1 in the conference in tackles, averaging 10 per game, and free safety Winston Guy checks in at 19th with 6.57. So while Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas may be able to get behind the first line of Kentucky defenders, the guys behind them have proven to be pretty tenacious, so they shouldn't automatically expect to break off the kinds of long runs they finally found against Vanderbilt last week. Turnovers, too, are a problem that Ealey hasn't necessarily wrapped up after just one fumble-free Saturday against the Commodores.
Nor should Georgia automatically expect to win the field-position battle. The absence of Branden Smith seems to have caused the return game to stagnate somewhat -- the Dawgs' longest return against Vanderbilt was only 12 yards, and while they obviously didn't get a lot of opportunities against Vandy, they didn't get much done the previous week against Tennessee, either. (Of course, the Wildcats rank last in the SEC in punt-return defense and next-to-last in KO defense, so maybe there'll be an opening for Brandon Boykin or Logan Gray to break one after all.)
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Georgia RB Washaun Ealey vs. Kentucky WLB Danny Trevathan. OK, Washaun, you achieved some impressive redemption against the Commodores last week -- now do it again. Kentucky's given up some big chunks of rushing yardage this season, but Trevathan is a seasoned player with a knack for flying to the ball, and he knows he's going to have to corral Ealey and the Bulldog backfield if the UK defense is to mount any kind of disruption. A late Ealey fumble near the Kentucky goal line last year -- recovered by, you guessed it, Danny Trevathan -- robbed Georgia of perhaps its last best chance to turn the tide in that game; here's hoping he's fired up and ready to distribute some payback.
(Now comes the hard part -- how Georgia is going to stop the Kentucky offense, coming tomorrow.)
Kenarious Gates is now the starting at right guard, but OL Josh Davis is still going tosee time on the O-line according to Marc Weiszer.
Gates got his first start against Tennessee but Davis saw some time at right tackle last week against Vanderbilt. When the Bulldogs take on Kentucky Saturday night, it will be the team Gates came close to playing for, but signed with Georgia the last minute.
Weiszer also reports LB Richard Samuel would prefer to redshirt this season since he has not played one down in 2010. The former running back torn his meniscus during the preseason and has limited him to fully participate in practice. Samuel was slated to practice in first pads for the first time today.
With heavy hearts, the Georgia Bulldogs took the field days after the passing of Uga VII. The Dawgs piled up a 20-6 halftime lead, then did some rolling over of their own.
Turnover after turnover let the 'Cats back in the game, as Randall Cobb took advantage with two second-half touchdowns. Georgia outgained Kentucky by 224 yards, but flubs and whoopsies gave the game away.
Derrick Locke led the way for Kentucky, piling up two touchdowns of his own and 160 yards from scrimmage. The lowlights:
As the game slipped away, Sanford Stadium began rapidly emptying -- even more so than you'd think. I can't find video of it, but ESPN made a point of monitoring the streams of red exiting the building. Here's three departing fans, leaving with some spirited encouragement for Joe Cox.
Georgia leads, 49-12-2. Kentucky won their first meeting, 13-6, in Wally Butts' first year as Georgia's coach.
Mark Richt is 7-2 against Kentucky. As Dawg Sports' Kyle King notes, that's even better than it seems:
Wally Butts, Johnny Griffith, Vince Dooley, Ray Goff, and Jim Donnan all failed to begin their respective Georgia head coaching careers by going 2-0 against Kentucky, while Coach Richt won his first five against the Blue and White.
The series' longest winning streak was ten games, starting in 1978, with Dooley closing out his career by beating the 'Cats nine times in a row before Goff went 2-2 in his first four years. Donnan and Richt combined to put together a nine-game streak of their own ending in 2006. That drought-buster resulted in this:
Here's the funnest fact of all, for Georgia fans: Kentucky hasn't beaten Georgia in consecutive meetings since they won in 1949 and 1956, with no games played between.
Spread: SBGGLOBAL.com, Sportsbook.com, and OddsMaker.com say Dawgs -3.5, while 5Dimes.com has Georgia as 4-point favorites.
Over/under: 5Dimes.com lists the over/under at 58.5.
Pick: Having been burned by the Bulldogs twice already this season thanks to the Due-For-A-Win Fallacy ("They can't possibly lose again!"), I'm hesitant to take Georgia. Does the letdown-game wave continue, with South Carolina's big win over Bama giving the Wildcats the edge, followed by the 'Cats losing focus against Georgia*? Or have the Dawgs finally turned the corner, locked in on
One factor: the Kentucky crowd could either choose to be petty or defiant after Randall Cobb's Twitter outburst against Wildcat fans. If they decide to prove Cobb wrong and treat Commonwealth Stadium like it's Rupp Arena, this is suddenly a big-boy SEC road game.
Considering Georgia's defense has played only one bad game (Colorado), and there's no reason to think they'll collapse this week, my play here is the under. An involved home crowd could dim the Dawgs resurgent offense -- they've scored 45 points total in three road games, but 55, 43, and 41 in three home games.
* Sure, it's weird to say it that way since Georgia is the better team, but this is the SEC East, ma'am. Nothing has made sense since Louisiana-Lafayette left town.
Before that, they fell by single-score margins to the Auburn Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels. Their only shameful loss was a 34-point blowout against the Florida Gators -- the highest total Florida's sputtering offense has racked up all season.
Kentucky also beat some cupcakes and Louisville.
Georgia Bulldogs: With all hope lost and Mark Richt all but fired (remember those days?), the Dawgs bounced off the mat to work over the Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores like their lives depended on it.
They played the Arkansas Razorbacks gut-punchingly close, but lost convincingly to the Gamecocks and Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Also, that Colorado Buffaloes thing.
Edge: Kentucky, as hard as that may be to process.
A win this Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats (4-3, 1-3) keeps the Georgia Bulldogs (3-4, 2-3) within sniffing distance of the SEC East title. Against all odds the Dawgs are tied with the Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3) and only a half-game behind the division-leading South Carolina Gamecocks (4-2, 2-2).
South Carolina has Vanderbilt this week, while Florida is off. This means Georgia has a shot at keeping pace with the 'Cocks and moving a half-game up on the Gators in advance of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party And Red Panties/Jean Shorts Joke Festival.
The remaining schedules of each SEC East contender, for your reference:
|Louisiana||Sat 09/04||W 55 - 7|
|@ South Carolina||Sat 09/11||L 6 - 17|
|Arkansas||Sat 09/18||L 24 - 31|
|@ Mississippi St.||Sat 09/25||L 12 - 24|
|@ Colorado||Sat 10/02||L 27 - 29|
|Tennessee||Sat 10/09||W 41 - 14|
|Vanderbilt||Sat 10/16||W 43 - 0|
|@ Kentucky||Sat 10/23||7:30 PM EDT|
|Florida||Sat 10/30||3:30 PM EDT|
|Idaho St.||Sat 11/06||12:30 PM EDT|
|@ Auburn||Sat 11/13||TBA|
|Georgia Tech||Sat 11/27||TBA|
|Southern Miss.||Thu 09/02||W 41 - 13|
|Georgia||Sat 09/11||W 17 - 6|
|Furman||Sat 09/18||W 38 - 19|
|@ Auburn||Sat 09/25||L 27 - 35|
|Alabama||Sat 10/09||W 35 - 21|
|@ Kentucky||Sat 10/16||L 28 - 31|
|@ Vanderbilt||Sat 10/23||7:00 PM EDT|
|@ Florida||Sat 11/13||TBA|
|@ Clemson||Sat 11/27||TBA|
|Miami (Ohio)||Sat 09/04||W 34 - 12|
|South Florida||Sat 09/11||W 38 - 14|
|@ Tennessee||Sat 09/18||W 31 - 17|
|Kentucky||Sat 09/25||W 48 - 14|
|@ Alabama||Sat 10/02||L 6 - 31|
|LSU||Sat 10/09||L 29 - 33|
|Mississippi St.||Sat 10/16||L 7 - 10|
|@ Georgia||Sat 10/30||3:30 PM EDT|
|@ Vanderbilt||Sat 11/06||TBA|
|South Carolina||Sat 11/13||TBA|
|Appalachian St.||Sat 11/20||12:30 PM EST|
|@ Florida St.||Sat 11/27||TBA|
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