The 4-4 Georgia Bulldogs travel to Lexington, Kentucky this weekend for their last road game of the season. They will face the 5-3 Kentucky Wildcats who are playing well, winning their last 3 games in the conference. With one more win the Wildcats will be bowl eligible for the first time since 2009. Wildcats fans are excited for the opportunity to clinch a bowl berth as reports are they have sold the remaining tickets for the matchup at Commenwealth Stadium.
For a recap of the series history, Georgia has not lost to Kentucky since 2009 when the Wildcats won at Sanford Stadium 34-27. It was the Wildcats first win in Athens since a 1977 win over the Dawgs 33-0 with England’s Prince Charles in attendance. The last time Kentucky beat Georgia at home was 2006 24-20 which happened to be Matthew Stafford’s freshman year. Which means the last 4 times the Dawgs have traveled to Lexington, they have come away with a win. My first UGA road game was the 2008 matchup where the Dawgs won 42-38 behind AJ Green’s go-ahead 11 yard touchdown with a minute to play. Current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb drove the Wildcats into UGA territory but threw a game-ending interception to Defensive End DeMarcus Dobbs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlNSI22duHo) 3 minute mark of video. From the most recent game in Kentucky, the Dawgs won 63-31 in a game where UGA did not punt and Quarterback Hutson Mason had more touchdowns 4, than incompletions, 3.
Though for the Dawgs to come even close to that offensive output this Saturday, they’ll need a miracle. This offense rushed for 21 yards last Saturday against Florida, the lowest since the last century. Though the number one key in this game is to return to running the ball more than the 19 times in the Florida game as crazy as that sounds. Georgia’s two best games were against North Carolina and South Carolina, the common theme was sticking to the run. Both games saw Georgia run for over 250 yards and control the time of possession. The second key is to continue to win the turnover margin, as Georgia leads the SEC in that category while Kentucky is towards the bottom. Kentucky is not talented enough to overcome multiple turnovers, so Georgia needs to force them early like last week. Though, for once it’d be nice to see Georgia’s offense score a touchdown after the Dawgs defense forced a turnover. Outside of the Tennessee game, Georgia has failed to do this. Finally, Georgia’s defense should load the box against the Kentucky run and make Quarterback Stephen Johnson prove he can beat them. Johnson has only thrown 3 interceptions, but the more glaring stat is zero touchdown passes in 4 of the 7 games he’s played in.
Based on how things have gone lately, I expect Kentucky to start off strong with the loud crowd but from them to slowly simmer down either by committing a turnover or Georgia making a big play on offense. This should be a low-scoring battle, but I see the Dawgs winning 24-21 based solely on the huge discrepancy in talent.
God Bless and Go Dawgs!