Back in August before the season started, most in Big Blue Nation had the game against Georgia as one that Kentucky would lose for sure. But if we would have known that the Bulldogs would be at a point this season where they had lost three out of the last four games and had not scored an offensive touchdown in 10 quarters, most Wildcat fans would have taken that as a good omen for a victory.
But after two straight debacles on the road and at home, the Kentucky Wildcats are in the same position as the Georgia Bulldogs, where they have more questions about their team than answers. Georgia lost star running back Nick Chubb for the season, they have a quarterback controversy eight games into the season, head coach Mark Richt is feeling the heat more than ever, and they just suspended two defensive players for the game on Saturday.
Kentucky just held a players only meeting and are still struggling to find an identity on either side of the ball. The Wildcats seem to be in as much disarray as their opponent.
Let's get to know the Bulldogs.
School: University of Georgia
Location: Athens, Georgia
Celebrity Alumni/Attendees: Herschel Walker, Ryan Seacrest, Alton Brown (Celebrity Chef), Josh Halloway (Sawyer from that trainwreck of a TV show Lost), Fran Tarkenton, Bubba Watson, Matthew Stafford, Todd Gurley, Andy Roddick, and a helluva lot more.
Mascot: UGA VIIIMXLLLIII
Coach: Mark Richt (141-41)
2015 Record: 5-3 (3-3)
Current Ranking: #43 according to real time RPI (Kentucky is ranked #69)
Vegas Says: Georgia -14
Bulldog Offense: This offense has been MIA ever since Nick Chubb went down with a season-ending knee injury in the early going of their game against Tennessee. They went from a national title contender to a team without an identity in an instant. In that game they blew an early 24-17 lead and were outscored 21-7 in the second half. Their last offensive touchdown came in the fourth quarter of that game. Since then, the Bulldogs have scored a combined total of 12 points on offense, all on field goals.
Much of this offensive ineptness has to do with the quarterback position. Greyson Lambert started the first seven games of the season and was asked to manage the game and give the ball to Chubb. His numbers weren't all that impressive with 1,276 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions, but he's only completed 64% of his passes.
Last week the Bulldogs decided to shake it up a bit and started junior Faton Bausta over Lambert against one of the best defenses in the country. Bausta was awful, going 15-33, 154 yards, no touchdowns, and four interceptions against the Florida Gators in a 27-3 beating.
And now yet another QB has emerged in the running for the position as Mark Richt has said that Lambert and sophomore Brice Ramsey have both been taking snaps with the starters this week. Ramsey has thrown for 221 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions this season.
Georgia still has the third-ranked rushing offense in the conference. Those numbers are inflated due to Chubb's early season production. In the last two games against Missouri and Florida, the Bulldogs have rushed for 189 total yards.
This is a game tailor-made to get the Kentucky defense back on track. The unit is coming off of two weeks in a row in which they were decimated by the rushing attacks and the dual-threat quarterbacks of Mississippi State and Tennessee. The Bulldog rushing attack has been mediocre since the loss of Chubb and the passing game has been completely ineffective.
If they Wildcats allow a big number of yards and points in this game, then they are in a world of hurt.
Bulldog Defense: The Georgia defense is fifth in yards allowed in the conference and has the second-ranked pass defense. Defensive back Dominick Sanders is one of the better defensive backs that Kentucky will face and is probably the best of the Georgia secondary.
The Dawgs aren't particularly good against the run, but Kentucky may be without their best rusher if Stanley 'Boom' Williams is out with an elbow injury. Although he is healing faster than expected and is listed as day-to-day, I'm not counting on his presence for Saturday.
Luckily for Kentucky, Mikel Horton was one of the few bright spots against Tennessee. The sophomore rushed for 109 yards against Tennesse. Horton will carry the bulk of the load but will be helped along by Jojo Kemp and true freshman Siheim King.
Kentucky was able to put up 349 yards of offense and 14 points against Tennessee. If they can put up that kind of yardage against the Bulldogs and put up around 21 points, I think the Wildcats can win. But Patrick Towles has to be better. He was one of the players that called the meeting, now his leadership needs to be reflected in his performance.
If Towles struggles early, I would bet that Drew Barker will be quick to enter the game to inject life into the offense.
Likely Outcome: I know that the Wildcats have looked atrocious on defense in the last two games, but those performances were against two very good offensive teams that have personnel that the Wildcat defense struggles against. This Georgia offense is in shambles and now is the time to right the ship for DJ Eliot.
It's going to be a sleepy noon kickoff in Athens against a Georgia team that doesn't know what the future holds for the season or for the head coach. With a revolving door at quarterback, an offense without an identity, and a defense that lost two players, the recipe is right for an upset.
Kentucky Wildcats 20-Georgia Bulldogs 17