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Georgia 42, Kentucky 38: Post mortem

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Congratulations to the Georgia Bulldogs.  This victory was nobly won.

For Kentucky, it was an unfortunate end to a great football game.  Amazingly, the Cats had a chance to win this contest, but Randall Cobb chose crunch time to make one of the few mistakes he made today.  A tough loss for Kentucky despite fighting (and getting a little lucky) to be in great position to win at the end of the game.

What went right:

  • The offense moved the football well.  Randall Cobb and Joker Phillips have designed an offense that maximizes the benefits of Cobb's athleticism, and Georgia really had trouble with it.
  • The defensive line played pretty well, getting good pressure on Stafford most of the time and stuffing Moreno quite often after the first quarter.  Stafford had a huge day, but that was mostly due to the fact that Trevard Lindley went down with injury, which allowed the dangerous A.J. Green to assert himself.
  • The special teams were truly special today, and quite possibly the biggest reason we were in the game to the last second.
  • The running game for Kentucky was about the best I have seen all year.  The backs ran hard, and got yards against a quality SEC defense.
  • The young wide receivers are starting to get it.  I saw some excellent blocking in the secondary today, and we are seeing our young guys step up and make plays instead of taking plays off.
  • Randall Cobb -- Randall was amazing, even including that unfortunate screen pass attempt that ended the game.  He is only a freshman, but without him, we had no chance at all in this game.
  • Kentucky took away the football and won the turnover battle again.  Our turnover margin has been excellent the last three years, and it continues to give the Wildcats opportunities to win games that they otherwise might not have a chance to pull out.

What went wrong:

  • Kentucky's defense, as a unit, utterly failed.  There is just nothing else to say about that.  Granted, they were facing one of the best offenses in the SEC, and it is tough to stop a team with as many weapons as the Dawgs have, as I noted in both my pre-game analysis and the open thread.  But it is what it is, and giving up so many huge plays for touchdowns is not what SEC defenses do.
  • Arm tackling still seems to be a big problem with the 'Cats lately, and trying to arm tackle Knowshon Moreno can have only one result -- touchdowns and big plays.
  • UK surrendered more big plays after the catch today than we have seen this year except against Florida.  I suppose that is somewhat to be expected, since outside of Florida, the Bulldogs have the most explosive athletes in the SEC.  But UK did a very poor job of getting the Georgia athletes on the ground after the catch.
  • Play calling -- Joker Phillips generally did well, but there were a couple of inexplicable exceptions.  One was a bizarre pass play on 3rd and 1 early that gave Georgia a 3 and out that lead to a touchdown, that screen on the last UK play of the game, and that ill-conceived reverse call that put UK in a big hole in the second half.
  • Injuries -- I pray that Trevard Lindley's injury is minor, as he may be the only defensive player we cannot afford to lose.  I feel for Georgia as well in that regard, as I saw a couple more Bulldogs limp off the field, and they are even more banged up than Kentucky is.

Make no mistake, we blew a chance at a huge upset, but it wasn't all bad.  If the UK offense can continue to move the ball like they did today the rest of the season, we have a real chance to win that seventh and even eighth game.  Congrats to the Bulldogs, and tough luck for the Wildcats. 

At least it was a hard-fought game, and I think that with experience, our young offense will be able to win games like this in the future.  There is a lot to be proud of, but this loss still hurts.