Is this weekend the biggest game in Kentucky football history? The 11th ranked Cats go down to Athens, Georgia to take on the number 1 ranked team in the nation, the Georgia Bulldogs. Kentucky is looking to improve to 7-0, as well as Georgia. The winner of this game will be sitting at the top of the SEC East and the only remaining undefeated team left in the SEC. Kentucky is coming off arguably its best performance against the LSU Tigers and hope to keep that momentum for this game. The Cats are sitting as 23.5 point underdogs going into the game, so a win will be a very difficult task to do in the road.
Georgia is stacked from top to bottom with athletes who are hungry to annihilate opponents. Luckily the Cats are very physical. Georgia May be without their main quarterback J.T. Daniels, but Senior Stetson Bennett has stepped in for the Bulldogs nicely. Bennett has thrown for 746 yards with eight touchdowns and a completion percentage that sits at 69.4%. What helps Bennett is his weapons to throw to. The biggest threat in the passing game will be the tight end Brock Bowers who leads the team with 315 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Ladd McConkey has had a strong showing with 280 yards and two touchdowns. Their passing game is strong, but the running game will be their strong suit on offense, just like Kentucky. Georgia has three running backs with over 200 rushing yards. Zamir White has 354 yards and six touchdowns, James Cook with 245 yards and two touchdowns, and finally Kendall Milton has 210 yards and two touchdowns. A three-headed monster for the Dogs in the backfield.
The battle of the day will be the defenses for both sides. Georgia has arguably the best defense in the country and Kentucky’s stands within the top 10. Georgia has tallied up 22 sacks and eight interceptions on the season so far. Kentucky only has 13 sacks and three interceptions, but statistically they have been very strong. Georgia’s defense has dominated this season. When Arkansas played them as the #8 team, they scored 0. Last week, the 18th ranked Auburn Tigers only scored 10 against Georgia. Kentucky will be in for a tall task to try and take down the Dogs with such a great defense, but Kentucky’s defense could potentially have the Cats in the game towards the end.
Kentucky needs the passing game to stay crisp like it was in the LSU game. Will Levis seemed to have his decision making on point last game and this game will be a must for him to play to his full potential. Mistakes in the passing games and turnovers will kill Kentucky’s chances of pulling off the upset. The run game will also be crucial for the Cats. Georgia has a great run defense, but it may have more holes in it compared to all other aspects to their team. Luckily, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke will be splitting time to give different looks for Georgia to figure out. The Cats must also have another receiver step up to help Wan’Dale Robinson during the game. Robinson will have a ton of attention from Georgia defensive backs and Levis is going to need another target or two to step up for the big game.
I know this game will be a TALL task for the Cats, but I strongly believe that they will give Georgia their best battle of the season. It may still be two early in the start of Kentucky’s run of success in the football program to take down a team like Georgia, but this game may be a barn burner. Or it may turn out to be domination from Georgia. My predictions for the players of the game offensively will be Chris Rodriguez Jr. and for the defense, I believe that Josh Paschal will have another monster game like he did against Florida. For the score, I sadly think Georgia will win 28-20. I think it will be somewhat close and not a blowout, but if it ends up in a blowout, I will not be surprised. This could be the game to change the narrative completely for Kentucky football or it can be a spirit crusher, who knows? All we can hope for is battle from the Cats. Let’s hope for the best and as always, GO CATS!
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Devin Hall is a columnist for MESPORTS digital. A University Louisville graduate who loves good music, good games and good times. He can be reached at DHall@maineventsports101.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mista_Hall25