The Kentucky Wildcats will look to rebound from last week’s setback when they welcome the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs to Kroger Field.
Game time is set for 3:30 pm ET Saturday. CBS will have the coverage providing a national stage for Will Levis and the Cats.
To put it simply — optimism couldn’t really be any lower heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Bulldogs.
As of Friday morning, the DraftKings Sportsbook has Kentucky listed as a 22.5-point underdog.
ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky a mere 7.1% chance of winning the football game outright. On what will be a chilly afternoon in Lexington, temps are expected to be hovering in the mid-to-upper 30s.
If you’ve seen Georgia play this year, that might sound a little low considering Georgia had thrashed pretty much every opponent on their schedule, including No. 5 Tennessee.
So, where do you even start with this game?
The overarching concern with UK football remains to be first year offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello’s inability to scheme up points.
Kentucky has a projected first-round quarterback under center, one of the best running backs in school history, and a plethora of wide-receiver talent, yet they aren’t scoring points to even beat Vanderbilt.
Watching the Cats labor to do much of anything offensively outside of Chris Rodriguez against a bad Vanderbilt team was the last straw for many.
Again, playing the Georgia Bulldogs won’t provide much opportunity for evaluation. Kirby Smart’s team has given up by far the least amount of points of anyone in the SEC with just 116 total surrendered through seven games.
Only two teams, Kent State and Missouri, have scored 22 points or more on Georgia this season. Oregon and Tennessee only mustered 16 points total in eight quarters of football.
To state the obvious, if Kentucky can barely score against Vandy it doesn’t exactly bode well for putting up points on Saturday against the No. 1 defense in America.
With all of the offensive woes it was surprisingly frustrating to see Brad White’s defense also meltdown against Vandy.
This week, they’ll be tasked with containing Georgia’s crafty game manager, Stetson Bennett.
The senior quarterback is having a stellar season with nearly 3,000 passing yards through 10 games with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He now has 53 career passing and 11 rushing TDs for his career.
Georgia has four players on the roster with at least 50 rushing attempts this season. An impressive eight players have scored a rushing touchdown this season with the team totaling a staggering 32 scores and a 356 yard per game average.
The Bulldogs game plan will start and finish with attempting to pound Kentucky on the ground.
Kentucky has hung its hat on playing tough defense for several years now, but if what we saw last week show up this Saturday, the Dawgs will hang 50+ points on UK.
This week, Brad White complimented Hendon Hooker but made the statement that Bennett is probably the best QB that his defense has faced.
I’d have to assume that redemption is on the minds of the core veteran defensive players after a disappointing performance in their last outing.
Mark Stoops spoke to the media earlier this week and offered up his thoughts on the tall task of playing Georgia.
“It comes down to winning some matchups. If you just watch them, take a couple examples, they need a third and five or something, they’re going to create space, they’re going to catch it and get it. We get covered and there’s nowhere to throw the ball. It’s going to be the same way this week. They’re not going to give you anything. There’s no magical little scheme or anything like that. You got to win. You got to block some people, get open, throw good footballs.” Stoops said.
The vibes around the program are rather dim right now, but that can change quickly with an unexpected good showing against a national powerhouse.
Any form of positive momentum would go a long way just a week ahead of the ever-important season finale with Louisville.
If Kentucky can manufacture some point producing offensive drives and cover the +22.5 spread, then I think most would agree that’d be a solid outcome for Saturday’s game.
Time: 3:30 pm ET on Saturday Nov 19th
Location: Kroger Field - Lexington, Kentucky
TV Channel: CBS
Announcers: Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Jenny Dell (sideline reporter).
Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro have the UK radio network call on 630AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and the UK Sports Network.
Replay: CBS All Access also gives you the option to replay select events on-demand.
Weather: A mainly sunny sky. High 38F. Winds SW at 10-20 mph, per weather.com.
Score Projection: TeamRankings has Georgia winning 37-12.