Previewing Kentucky at Georgia
The Kentucky team the Big Blue Nation had been hoping to see finally showed up on Saturday against Vanderbilt. The Cats dominated every facet of the game en route to a 44-21 win over the Commodores. However this week they face a tough test as they head to Athens to play the Bulldogs. With that in mind we will begin Previewing Kentucky at Georgia with a look back at the huge win last Saturday.
A Very Significant Victory
Not only did the Wildcats help their chances of playing in a more southern bowl game, they accomplished tasks not done in decades.
For Mark Stoops the win was especially sweet at it was the Wildcats seventh win of the year. In doing so he earned another year on his contract and a 250,000 bonus. That means he will remain the head man in Lexington until 2022. He is now the longest tenured coach in the SEC East.
In addition it was a significant victory for the Kentucky football program. The win moved the Wildcats to 7-3 for the first time in a decade. Even more significant is the fact the Cats will finish .500 or better in the SEC two years in a row for the first time since 1976-77. A win in either of the remaining games gives Kentucky their first eight win regular season since 1984.
Rushing Into The Record Book
With another huge game Benjamin Snell Jr. ran his way into the Kentucky history. Snell rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns against the Commodores putting him over 1,000 yards for the season. That makes him the only player in Kentucky football history to do it in back to back seasons.
He now owns the school record for most touchdowns in a career with 28, and he is just a sophomore. The SEC’s second leading rusher needs only two more scores to tie Moe Williams‘ record of 17 set in 1995.
Snell’s performance against Vandy put him in some very exclusive company in SEC history. He is now only one of three players to rush for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first two years. Check out the other two to make the list.
— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) November 12, 2017
Scouting the Bulldogs
As we continue Previewing Kentucky at Georgia it is now time to look at the Bulldogs. Kirby Smart‘s club has clinched the SEC East and were ranked number one before running into a buzz saw at Auburn.
The 40-17 loss to the Tigers dealt a severe blow the the Bulldogs’ national title hopes. Guz Malzahn’s club held the dynamic duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to 48 yards rushing, more than 200 below their season average. Despite the sub par night Chubb he did pass Bo Jackson to move into fourth in the SEC’s all-time rushing list with 4,318. The loss dropped Georgia down to number seven in this week’s rankings. Georgia still controls its College Football Playoff destiny so this is an important game.
On the other side of the ball the Bulldog defense led by Roquan Smith ranks fifth in the nation giving up 248 yards per game. They also rank fifth giving up 14 points a game in 2017. Those numbers are somewhat inflated after giving up 40 points and 488 yards against Auburn. The match up of Snell versus the Georgia defense will be the big key to the game on Saturday. Snell ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns in last season’s 27-24 loss.
Can The Wildcats Win Saturday?
It’s hard to believe but the Cats are only two plays away from this game being for the SEC East title. Unfortunately for True Blue Fans the bad losses to Florida and Ole Miss prevented that.
The Wildcat defense has been very good against the run this year ranking 19th in the nation. Watching Jordan Jones, Josh Allen and Denzil Ware try to stop the Bulldog running game will be interesting.
Kentucky’s best bet is to make Jake Fromm beat them through the air. However Fromm has been solid during his freshman year so it may be a pick your poison for the Cats.
The much maligned Kentucky secondary had a game of redemption against Vanderbilt. The unit picked off Kyle Shurmur four times on Saturday. A stat even more impressive since Shurmur had only thrown three in nine games.
Not that Kentucky needs anymore motivation for the game but they did get some via Twitter.
Incredibly, only one question for Georgia's Kirby Smart on this week's #SEC coaches teleconference. Even members of the media are having a hard time getting fired up for Cupcake Week ahead of Rivary Week. #UGA
— John Crist (@SaturdayJC) November 15, 2017
This prompted a response from star freshman Lynn Bowden Jr.
I’m letting y’all know now WE WANT ALL THE SMOKE !!!! “Cupcake”
— Lynn Bowden (@H_Huncho) November 15, 2017
The point spread on the game is 21 which sounds about right. It will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs bounce back after their first loss. Look for Kentucky to hang around for a half before Georgia pulls away in the second.
Georgia 41 Kentucky 20
Thanks for Previewing Kentucky at Georgia with us here at Last Word On College Football. The Cats close the season next week when they entertain Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. Kentucky is looking for their second straight win against their in-state rival.