Two teams coming off frustrating losses collide when the Georgia Bulldogs (3-1) travel to Lexington to face off with the Kentucky Wildcats (2-3). The Dawgs have had two weeks to stew after a promising start gave way to a brutal finish in a 41-24 against Alabama while Kentucky’s problem of having little to no offense against teams that aren’t Ole Miss continued in a 20-10 loss vs Missouri.
Despite their differing standing in the conference, these two teams do have something in common. Both teams seem to have a ceiling that is lower than their fanbases would like, and the only way those ceilings can be raised is with improved play at the quarterback position. Stetson Bennett has been pretty solid for Georgia for the most part, but his 3 interceptions against Alabama showed that he might not be the guy to best unlock the downfield aspect of Todd Monken’s offense. Bennett will get the start for Georgia, but barring some unforeseen improvement I am still of the belief that Kirby Smart’s best chance at a SEC championship runs lies with J.T Daniels. I did say Bennett has been solid though, and against Kentucky, solid will probably be enough.
If the Kentucky offense looks the same as it did last week, you can remove the probably from that last sentence. The Wildcats had 8 first downs and 145 TOTAL YARDS(50 Pass, 95 Rush) while compiling a time of possession of 16:50 against a Mizzou team that isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut. Many people, including yours truly, were very excited for the return of Terry Wilson to this team.
I thought that Wilson would provide much more balance to this offense, forcing opposing defenses to at least respect the possibility of a passing play, unlike most of last year. That hasn’t happened though, and Mizzou was able to load up against UK’s stable of backs and keep the under the century mark on the game. Wilson is out for this week, and now the UK offense will be under the stewardship of Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood. Gatewood will have perform much better than Wilson if UK is going to score against one of the best defenses in the country.
Last week aside, Kentucky has generally been able to find success running the ball this year. Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Asim Rose Jr. both are over 230 yards on the season and average over 5 yards per carry. Georgia counters with the nation’s best rush defense though, holding teams to 65 yards a game on the ground. Eddie Gran and the Kentucky offensive line will have to be creative and open up some holes on the ground for their backs if Kentucky wants points because it’s hard to see Gatewood and co. moving the ball through the air against Richard LeCounte and the rest of the ballhawks in the UGA secondary.
For Georgia, their offense isn’t going to have to do anything outside of the game plan we have seen over and over again during the Kirby Smart tenure. I’d be shocked we see anything else besides a heavy load of Zamir White, James Cook, and Kendall Milton all day. Do that, and only ask Bennett to make the simple throws he has shown he can make, and Georgia should be able to replicate Missouri’s performance from last week with a little more oomph from a team that is still smarting from a loss on the national stage.
In order for Kentucky to win this game, both teams with have to perform in a way they have not yet this season. This should be a relatively comfortable grind-it-out win for the Dawgs as they get ready for Florida.
How to Watch
Time: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Georgia -16.5
Moneyline: Georgia -1250 | Kentucky +710