The Georgia Bulldogs are one of the most dominant teams in the country.
Last season the Dawgs went on an incredible run that saw them the SEC Eastern division, win the Rose Bowl, and take Alabama to overtime in the National Championship game.
This season the Bulldogs are again playing great football. The team was ranked No. 2 nearly all season up until their October 13th loss to LSU.
After a big win over Florida, the Dogs are now back on track and ranked No. 6 heading into Lexington for the winner take all game for the SEC East.
Here’s a look at the biggest playmakers that Kentucky will need to worry about.
Quarterback Jake Fromm: Jake Fromm is quite an impressive young quarterback. The Sophomore guided his team to the national championship game a year ago in his freshman season. His encore season hasn’t seen too much of a sophomore slump. Fromm has thrown 16 touchdowns against only four interceptions and ranks seventh in the SEC with 1,649 passing yards. In Fromm’s lone start against Kentucky however, he did not have his best day. Despite his team’s 42-13 win Fromm only went 9-14 passing with 123 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. If Kentucky can again hold Fromm to just 123 yards, they will have success but, this will be easier said than done.
Running Back Elijah Holyfield: It would be fair to choose to break down D’Andre Swift here since he only has two fewer carries than Holyfield but, Holyfield is still the Georgia feature back. Kentucky knows just how dangerous this runner is. “Holyfield will literarily try to run you over.” Kash Daniel said Wednesday. The junior who was stuck behind now NFL starting running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb for two years has finally gotten his chance, and he has not disappointed. Holyfield has run for 559 yards on just 85 carries this season and has broken off four touchdowns. Holyfield is a strong runner that Kentucky hasn’t seen much of so they’ll need to execute what they learned on film to perfection to stop him.
Offensive Line: As the Wildcats pointed out on Wednesday the offensive line may be the Dawgs biggest strength. “They’re ballers up front.” Josh Allen said. The Georgia offensive line has paved the way for two running backs with over 460 yards this season, only given up 12 sacks and man are they big. All five lineman are listed over 300 pounds. None bigger than right tackle Isaiah Wilson. The Redshirt Freshman weighs in at 345 pounds and stands well over six feet tall at 6’7. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Kentucky to get to the backfield but, they will need to find a way.
Linebacker D’Andre Walker: Despite being 15th in total defense in the country there are some statistics on defense that show Georgia may have some holes. One of them is sacks. The Dawgs rank dead last in the SEC in sacks and rank among the worst in the entire nation. There one reliable pass rusher is D’Andre Walker. Walker’s five sacks rank 6th best in the SEC. He is elite at ripping the ball out of runners hand as his three forced fumbles ranks tied for third in the SEC. If there’s one player for Terry Wilson and Benny Snell to fear it’s Walker.
Now, if Kentucky is going to win the SEC East, here are the five keys to doing so.
1. Get off to a fast start
Jake Fromm and Georgia is a really good offensive team. They have several weapons like Swift and Ridley, but if you can get a quick touchdown and keep the crowd into it, you have a chance.
Jake Fromm has thrown for nearly 1,650 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Fromm has also thrown four interceptions this season, but two of those came against LSU when they laid the hammer on the Bulldogs.
Georgia is a very good team, but I can see Kentucky fans being hyped up this weekend and making it rough for the Bulldogs if Kentucky gets an early lead. Terry Wilson showed up last week as he threw for over 260 yards, and I think he will have to do more of that this weekend to upset the Dawgs.
2. Control the clock.
Kentucky has done well all year at running the ball and controlling the clock. If Kentucky is going to beat the Dawgs this weekend, they need to run the ball well, but more importantly, do so efficiently.
Last weekend against Mizzou, Benny Snell did not have his best game. Now, that is in part because they were stacking the box on 3rd and 3 or shorter, so it will be on Eddie Gran to mix up the pass and run plays on third down.
Snell was only able to rush for over 60 yards on Saturday, but I think now that Georgia and other teams have seen Terry throw the ball, they will have to at least count for the pass on third down instead of always stacking the box.
Georgia has the 43rd-best run defense in the country and average giving up over 160 yards-per game on the ground. If Kentucky can take advantage of the Dawgs’ not-so-great run defense, I think they can pull out a big win.
3. Keep Georgia away from field-goal territory.
Georgia is really good and that is in part because of their outstanding kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, who has crushed UK the past two seasons.
Blankenship is a top-3 kthreecker in the nation, as he is making over 85 percent of his kicks this season. Blankenship has hit a 53-yarder and has made 13 of his 15 kicks this season for the Dawgs. Blankenship has kind of been the Cat killer against UK in the past two seasons, as he has accounted for 19 points against Kentucky, and three of those points were coming in 2016 when the Bulldogs beat UK at Commonwealth Stadium on a last-second field goal.
Kentucky’s defense has been great at keeping teams from field goal range, but this game, they will be on high alert as all the Bulldogs have to do is make it to the 40-yard line and they are practically in field-goal range.
4. Win the turnover battle.
Terry Wilson has been good this season, but not great. Heck, going into the Missouri game, several people thought he wasn’t going to have a job must longer.
Against Missouri, Wilson changed everyone’s opinion of him, as he threw for 267 yards and the game-winning touchdown to CJ Conrad. Now, with that being said, he also threw an interception, which was his 6th of the season, and he has also had four fumbles this season.
Georgia is really good, but they are beatable. If Terry and the UK offense turns the ball over, I don’t think Kentucky can upset the Dawgs. If UK can manage to get to the red zone and let Wilson throw the ball, I could see them winning.
Wilson is completing over 92 percent of his passes in the red zone, which is outstanding. If Kentucky can have two or less turnovers, I can see UK getting the big upset and becoming SEC East Champions.
5. BBN has to represent
Here in Kentucky, we are used to having a really good basketball team, but finally, we have a really good football team and the chance to do something special.
Kentucky has been amazing all season, and they are only three points from being undefeated and probably ranked in the top five in the country. With only one loss, Kentucky is rolling and they have a chance at winning the SEC East for the first time in history.
When Mark Stoops came to Kentucky, fans never knew what to expect with the recruits he was getting and developing. Stoops has shown he can recruit, coach and be a good representation of our football program.
Kentucky has a big opportunity this Saturday afternoon to go to the SEC Championship and possibly be in the top five of the College Football Playoff standings. If Kentucky is going to win, fans need to get up and get loud for the Cats and help them win the East and go to the SEC Championship in CATlanta.
Kentucky has had an amazing season, and I don’t expect them to slow down this week. They have won every game this season besides the A&M loss in OT as an underdog this year. I think Terry shows up for the second strait week and solidifies his name into Kentucky Football history. I see Jake Fromm getting around 200 passing yards, but I think UK keeps Georgia under 14 points. Josh Allen gets three sacks, and Kentucky wins the SEC East.
My Prediction: Kentucky 21, Georgia 16