On Saturday, Kentucky attempts to snap Georgia’s nine-game winning streak over the Cats.
LEXINGTON – October 18, 2019 – Bradley Charles – Bluegrass Sports Nation
On Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats (3-3, 1-3 SEC) travel to the Peach State to square off against the Georgia Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC). ESPN’s Football Power Index currently gives Kentucky just over a 6% chance of defeating Georgia.
Georgia leads the all-time series 58-12-2, with a 29-4-2 record in Athens. The Bulldogs have won the last nine meetings, with Kentucky’s last win coming at Athens in 2009.
Georgia enters the game ranked 10th in the AP Poll. Kentucky is 3-25 all-time against a ranked Georgia squad with the last such victory coming in 1988.
Kentucky is coming off a 24-20 victory over Arkansas, and all signs point to Lynn Bowden Jr. receiving the start at quarterback for the second game in a row. Last week, Bowden went seven of 11 through the air for 78 yards and a touchdown. Bowden rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and even returned a punt. Since 2000, only three FBS players have at least 20 rushing attempts, 10 passing attempts, and a punt return in the same game: Antwaan Randle El, Julian Edelman, and Lynn Bowden Jr. At this point, Bowden being the starting quarterback against Georgia is essentially a universal expectation.
Despite Kentucky’s success last week, it is hard to envision Kentucky beating Georgia with Bowden throwing only 11 passes for 78 yards. On Monday, when Stoops was asked if Kentucky will pass the ball more in the game against Georgia, he replied, “We certainly are going to have to have more balance this week. You just look at Georgia defensively, they give up a very, very few amount of explosive plays, very few explosive runs.”
It goes without saying that Georgia is a top-notch football team, averaging 38.5 points per game while allowing 12.3 per game; owning one of the best home-field advantages in the country. The Georgia offense is totaling nearly 505 yards per game, while the defense allows just shy of 282 per game. Also, Georgia has a conversion rate of 46.3% on third down, which ranks third in the SEC behind LSU and Alabama.
Quarterback Jake Fromm has been impressive, as expected, this season. Fromm is one of the better quarterbacks in the country, holding a 28-6 record as the as a starter at UGA. Through the air this season, Fromm is 114 of 162 for 1,371 yards and nine touchdowns to just three interceptions.
The Bulldog rushing attack is led by D’Andre Swift who has 89 carries on the season for 573 yards and five touchdowns. Brian Herrien and Zamir White will, most likely, receive touches as well. Swift, Herrien, and White are all averaging nearly 6.5 yards per carry. Georgia has only allowed four sacks on the season.
The Bulldogs’ receiving corps is a balanced group with eight players having caught at least nine passes and none with more than 19. Both George Pickens and Lawrence Cager each have 19 receptions on the season. Pickens leads the team in receiving yards with 283; Cager follows with 245.
Defensively, Georgia has an astounding 29 players who have recorded a tackle for a loss this season and 11 who have recorded a sack. Junior linebacker Monty Rice leads the team in total tackles with 38, followed by cornerback J.R. Reed who has 31, and fellow linebacker Tae Crowder who has 30.
On Monday, Mark Stoops said, “Knowing Georgia, the way they’re coached, the coaches that they have and the leadership they have on that team, the winning attitude, it will be a very difficult time going in there this week. We have to make sure we elevate our game because I’m quite sure that Georgia is going to bounce back in a strong way and be ready to play.”
Personally, I think Kentucky needs to try to run a more traditional offense against Georgia than they did against Arkansas last week. It’s hard to envision Kentucky getting a victory when only throwing a dozen passes. As mentioned earlier in the article, Stoops’ comments on Monday agreed with this notion.
No matter what happens on Saturday, Kentucky has seen great success under Mark Stoops.
The game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. and will air on ESPN.