Georgia Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats Preview: Back on the Horse


The Georgia Bulldogs are still very much alive in the race to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game, but Mark Richt’s club will have no additional time to lick their wounds after an embarrassing loss to the Florida Gators last Saturday. This week, the Dawgs travel to Lexington for their final road game of the 2014 season, and while the opponent is perceived as inferior, UGA could have their hands full without a much-improved effort in this spot. Let’s preview the action.

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats

Time/TV: 12:00 pm ET, ESPN

Georgia Offense vs. Kentucky Defense

For the season, the Kentucky defense has been the definition of middling. The Wildcats are ranked 51st nationally in both scoring defense (24.2 points per game) and total defense (371 yards per game), and on the bright side for Georgia, their opponent’s weaknesses line up with the strengths of the Bulldogs.

Kentucky has been brutal against the run this season, allowing 188 yards per game, and even without the services of Todd Gurley for one additional week, UGA is set up to dominate on the ground. Nick Chubb was, once again, extremely effective in rattling off 156 yards on the ground against Florida, and the stage is set for another breakout performance given that Kentucky’s run defense is the worst of the four teams that Chubb will face as a starting running back.

Through the air, the picture is slightly more bleak, as the Wildcats are actually a top-15 unit nationally against the pass. Obviously, Hutson Mason has come under fire recently, but his pure numbers were actually quite good against Florida (26 of 41 passing, 319 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) and provided that he can simply secure the ball, the offense should be just fine.

Georgia Defense vs. Kentucky Offense

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles has had a nice season, compiling 2,235 yards through the air with 13 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. That said, Georgia has a pass rush that can be scintillating when it is going well, and as a whole, the Kentucky offense is a good match-up.

Towles leads a top-50 passing offense (not a huge stamp of approval, but still) and Ryan Timmons is the leading pass-catcher for the Wildcats. Still, Georgia has steadily improved in stopping the pass, and the pass defense certainly wasn’t the problem last week in Jacksonville.

The run defense was, most certainly, the problem by allowing 418 rushing yards to a one-dimensional Florida attack, but Kentucky does not appear to have that extra gear. In fact, the Wildcats do not have a single rusher with more than 313 yards on the season (in nine games!), and while they aren’t quite as bad as that number makes it appear, Kentucky is still just 75th in the nation in rushing offense.

Jeremy Pruitt has been brutalized in the media this week, and rightly so, but his group has the advantage here.


The stakes are simple. This is a game that the Georgia Bulldogs simply can’t afford to lose, and while it is “Kentucky” on the other side, Big Blue is not an embarrassing football outfit this season. Still, the Dawgs are the more talented team by a wide margin, and provided that Nick Chubb remains upright, everything should be okay on Saturday.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!