This will be a
game about a little bit of forgetting and a little bit of
remembering. Obviously, the Bulldogs want to put last week's
embarrassing loss to South Carolina behind them and move on to this
week's opponent, Kentucky. But, they also want to remember what they
did wrong and why they lost 20-17 in double overtime to a team they
were favored to beat by over three touchdowns.
If they need any motivation, its that their goals are all still in front
of them. The #3 national ranking isn't. That was moved down to #10
after the loss. But, simply, all they have to do is win.
One Mizzou win was against West Virginia. The 3-3 Mountaineers do have
wins against NC State and Kentucky. And the Tigers also beat South
Carolina (easily 34-14) and Ole Miss. But they lost at Wyoming. They
still have SEC games with Vandy, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee and
Arkansas. But, the one that matters most is at UGA on November 9. If
the Dawgs take care of business then, they'll move ahead of Missouri
with the tie breaker.
Also ahead of UGA is Florida. They have some impressive wins vs Miami at
Kentucky, Tennessee and #7 Auburn. Their only loss came last week at
#5 LSU (42-28). Again, the one that matters is November 2 in
Jacksonville against the Bulldogs. Knock off the Gators there and no
one is ahead of you with a clear road to the SEC East title.
But, Georgia has to continue winning the rest of its conference games. It
becomes easier if Mizzou and Florida trip somewhere else along the
way. But those two games have to be won to get the tie breaker.
Among Kirby Smart's plans beyond that, is to beat the SEC West
champion at Mercedes Benz Stadium. That's likely either Alabama or
LSU. The SEC Champion will surely be included in the playoffs. Get
there and anything can happen.
So, the Bulldogs just have to win out, then win in Atlanta and they
can still get back to where they want to be. And that all starts
Saturday with Kentucky.
Some much needed rain soaked the state and the stadium all day. But the
Dooley Field was in good shape. The weather apparently slowed down a
bit of a late arriving crowd. But, eventually, there was a large gap
of empty seats in the upper deck.
Georgia got the ball first with a scary start as James Cook
couldn't get a handle on the kickoff and fell on the wet ball at the
14. But, o problem as D'andre Swift got 14 on the first play
to the 28. But the drive only made it as far as the 37.
Kentucky had the ball at their 20 after a 63 yard punt. The first play
got 7 on an A.J. Rose carry. Josh Ali got the first
with a run to the 30. A false start put the ball at the 25. QB
Lynn Bowden kept it for 11 and a third and four at the 36.
That's all they got.
Georgia got a holding call on Prather Hudson on the kick and gave
them a terrible spot to begin their second drive at their 9. Jake
Fromm got three on a precarious toss to Brian Herrien.
Another pass to Cook lost a yard for a third and 8 at the 11.
Another pass fell short to the displeasure of the nervous fans. Ali
took the 54 yard Jake Camarda kick back 19 yards into UGA
territory to give his team terrific field position at the 46.
After two nothing plays, a third and nine came up two yards short on a
Bowden carry. Stoops took a time out and made a gutsy call to appear
to go for it on fourth and two. But, I think they were just hoping
to draw the Dawgs off side. Instead, they jumped and punted to the
five. But, a false start forced a rekick that came out much better
for the home team sailing out at the 20.
So far, the defense looked fine but the offense seemed very tentative
evidenced by another three and out and another chorus of boos. The
49 yard punt rolled out at the 24.
Kavosley Smoke picked up five on the first play, but was shaken
up. The Cats went three and out themselves. A 69 yard punt by Max
Duffy barely made it to the end zone. Georgia ball at their 20.
Herrien pushed his way forward for four with Fromm converting on a short
completion to George Pickens at the 30 drawing a derisive
cheer as the first quarter came to an end with a total of only four
combined first downs and no points. A toss to Cook went to the 36.
Swift got a rise from the crowd with a first down 8 yard run to the
42. But as Fromm was under a rush, he dumped it to Swift behind the
line for a loss and a second and 17. More boos as the offense only
got two on a safe short pass. The 63 yard punt went into the end
zone. Wildcat ball at their 20.
A pair of QB keepers only got three for a third and seven. A deep pass
couldn't connect. Duffy's 59 yard punt rolled dead at the 19.
Finally a decent gainer as Pickens caught one and went 21 yards to the
40. Swift got five more with Fromm carrying it to midfield, a half
yard short. Kirby Smart felt his offense needed a boost and
went for it on fourth and short. A QB sneak was a no gain. Kentucky
took over on downs. The steady rain looked like it was increasing in
Bowden was sacked by Quay Walker and JR Reed for a four
yard loss. Bowden got 8 back for a big third and five at the
UGA45. A bit of razzle dazzle with Ali throwing the ball failed.
But, another good kick. Bulldog ball at their 11.
A predictable call with Zamir White taking the handoff and getting
three. Swift again gave his team a jolt with a rush right for 20 to
the 34. But a bad snap had to be fallen on by Fromm for a nine yard
loss at the 25. Swift again to the rescue with a 23 yard dash to the
48. Cash Daniel was hurt on the play. But, good was again
followed by bad as a nice Herrien run was nullified by a holding
call on Charlie Woerner. Second and 17 at the UGA39. From
couldn't find an open receiver and ran for 6 and a third and 13 at
the 45. He was brought down from behind on the next play trying to
run again. Another punt with no points. Kentucky would have one last
drive at their 16 with just over a minute left in the half. But, it
fizzled quickly as time ran out of a listless first half. A total of
8 first downs (UGA had six). Georgia only had 123 yards of offense
with Kentucky getting just 52.
Rodrigo Blankenship made his first appearance with a 17 yard kick
to the Wildcat 34. Bowden ran out of bounds left with a 9 yard first
down scamper to the UGA48. He got 21 more on the next two plays to
the 31. Two more plays got four for a third and six at the 27. The
QB would have gotten enough but had it called back with a holding
call. Third and 16 at the 37. Maybe four down territory. But, they
settled for a punt instead again pinning the Dawgs deep at their 14.
That followed the first half pattern when their drives began at the
14, 9, 20, 20, 19 and 11.
More boos as two short handoffs to Swift only got four. The boos got
louder as a Herrien carry didn't get anything. The 48 yard punt was
fumbled at the 30 but recovered by the visitors.
Two short gains brought up a third and five with Bowden eluding defenders
for what would have been a first down run. But, another holding call
brought it back for a third and 15 at the 24. Another punt and
finally Duffy shanked one for only 15 yards giving the Dawgs their
best starting position by far at the KY39. Surely, they would get
points out of this one.
And, surely they did. On the first play, Swift dug them out of the hole
going the distance for the game's first points, 7-0, putting him
over 100 yards rushing. The crowd was very happy. Water logged but
Blankenship kicked again with the ball fair caught. Ball at the 25. Two
plays later, it was third and four. Stoops took his first time out.
The rain came down even harder and the 12 mph winds were gusting.
The tide began to turn as Bowden had the ball stripped by Richard
LeCounte. Bulldogs ball with again great field position at the
It worked before. They tried again with a handoff to Swift who got 11
this time to the 20. Smart took his second time out. Herrien for
another first with a pair of carries and a first and goal at the 8.
Herrien started slow as he surveyed the right side, then burst
across the goal line. Just like that, a scoreless defensive struggle
was 14-0. Five plays, 31 yards in 2:36.
But, the Cats weren't going to lie down as Zack Johnson took a 63
yard kickoff 58 yards out to the UGA40. Another inspired Bowden run
that made it 21 yards to the red zone had a facemask call push it
half the distance to the goal to the nine. A certain touchdown was
dropped by Christopher Rodriguez in the end zone with the
game moving into the final quarter. Facing a fourth and goal at the
8, Stoops took another time out. Down by two scores, he was forced
to go for it. An incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs.
Again, they were starting deep in their own territory (at the 8). But,
this time it was for a good reason. Swift took the handoff and
dragged a few defenders to the 16. An unnecessary roughness call
added 15 more to give the Dawgs some breathing room to the 32. Swift
swept left for 13 more to the 45. Swift again for six inside
Kentucky territory to the 49. Herrien's turn for 14 to the 35. The
drive ended as Swift punched it in from three yards out for his
second touchdown of the game and what would be the final score of
The defense, which had been stout all game, had only given up a total of
177 yards to Kentucky. And the offense, which had to take it slow
early on due to the repeated bad field position and the wet
conditions had 235 yards on the ground with 179 of them coming from
Now, Georgia gets a week off to prepare for #7 Florida in Jacksonville
with the SEC East clearly on the line.