Bulldogs hope to regroup at home against Wildcats
Well, well, well... what do we do with the Georgia Bulldogs now?
So think about this, we’ve got the former No. 1 team in the country coming off a serous beatdown at Auburn. With that in mind it’s hard to say what will happen in this week’s Kentucky-Georgia game.
Despite last week’s stunning loss at Auburn, the Bulldogs still control their own destiny, assuming they win out. They’ve already wrapped up the SEC East, sitting at 6-1 ahead of the three-loss Wildcats. You just have to wonder where their heads are going to be after that bad loss.
Georgia averages 256 rushing yards per game, second to only Alabama in the SEC. That’s why last week’s crushing loss to the Tigers was so stunning. I mean, 46 yards on the ground? Oy vey.
The Wildcats come in 7-3 and have out-rushed their opponents in seven of their 10 games. They are within sniffing distance of their first 10-win season in 40 years.
Kentucky at Georgia
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Georgia -24
Three Things to Watch
1. Don’t let the loss to Auburn linger
This one is pretty simple. Yes, it was 40-17. Yes it was bad. But I’m telling ya Georgia, this is no time to trip over your bottom lip. Stop moping. Strap your chinstrap a little bit tighter this week and get after it like your national championship hopes rely on it… which they kind of do actually. I’d be willing to bet the Silver Britches are going to sell out and try to establish that ground game from the get-go. Look for Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to get a heavy dose of running plays in the early part of this game. Kentucky will try to establish a ground game too, especially now that Benny Snell Jr. has 472 rushing yards and nine TDs in his last three games. Whoever establishes the ground game first will get a huge leg up in this one.
2. Unleash the “Blitz Bros”
If UK is going to have some success in keeping this a four-quarter game vs. Georgia, the Wildcats are going to need to harass and harangue Bulldogs freshman QB Jake Fromm. So when they’re not plugging up the running game, Denzil Ware (above, right) and Josh Allen need to get into Fromm’s grill and give him a case of the heebie-jeebies. I’m talking happy feet, poor decisions, shaky play and all. Keep an eye on these two heat-seekers and if they can disrupt the Georgia offensive efficiency. Oh and also watch out for the “Blitz Baby,” Josh Paschal, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound freshman who has a knack for getting to the QB with regularity as well. Kentucky has 27 sacks and 10 interceptions already this season.
3. Don’t be bad dogs
The Bulldogs have been put in the doghouse a lot this season: personal fouls, retaliations, bonehead plays, peeing the rug. Bad Dogs, especially early on in that Auburn loss. In fact, most of Kirby Smart’s first half camera time against the Tigers seemed to show him yelling at his undisciplined players. Georgia is 13th in the SEC in penalties committed. If that form continues here, advantage Wildcats.
If you look at the numbers that those boys in Vegas trot out, it would seem the Bulldogs have an easy W here. In fact, the ESPN FPI says that Georgia has a 94 percent chance to win this one. So barring any wild turnover margins or penalty-fests, I’m guessing Erk Russell will be proud of his Junkyard Dogs after this one is done.
But keep in mind that Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. He has thrown just four interceptions in 239 passes this year and has led the Wildcats to five game-winning drives in his career, which is second best in school history.
Something tells me Georgia will be a tad on the flat side here. At least for the first few quarters. Call it the Plainsmen hangover. Then the fourth quarter is when the Dogs take over. The average points per game for these two teams is Georgia 34.6 and Kentucky 27.9. Sounds about right to me.
Prediction: Georgia 35, Kentucky 28
— Written by Eric Sorenson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He is a college football, college baseball and college hockey addict... and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Stitch_Head.