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Georgia 29, Kentucky 24: Troubling Signs for the Dawgs as a Giant Game Looms

In a close call Saturday, Georgia showed the reasons why it might lose and win the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

Andy Lyons

There's nothing wrong with having a look-ahead game as long as you win. After all, the name of the game in a conference championship race is winning -- and the Dawgs are now clearly in the hunt for the SEC title once more. With South Carolina's loss in Gainesville on Saturday, all Georgia needed to do in Lexington was win, and they could make next week's showdown in Florida a make-or-break game for both teams. (They could also make official what we've known for a while: Kentucky isn't going to a bowl game this year.)

But in defeating Kentucky narrowly, Georgia raised grave concerns about whether it actually could take care of Florida in Jacksonville. The Dawgs didn't just survive a tough game, they got gashed by the Wildcats' rushing attack, which generated 206 yards on 43 carries. Coming into Saturday's action, Kentucky ranked dead last in rushing offense in the SEC; Florida was second. And Georgia and its famed "Gurshall" running game continued to sputter, gaining just 77 yards on 32 carries.

The bright spot, though, was Aaron Murray. He picked apart Kentucky's passing defense, going 30-of-38 for 427 yards and four touchdowns. Murray completed passes to eight different receivers, including nine apiece to Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell. It was the kind of game Georgia fans expected to see from Murray when they dared to dream in the preseason about winning the SEC; it is the kind of game the Dawgs will need from him next Saturday if they hope to make those dreams come true.