Published October 20, 2010 - 9:29am
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Will the real Georgia Bulldogs please stand up? This Saturday night the Dawgs (2-3 SEC, 3-4) head North on I-75 to Commonwealth Stadium and take on the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3 SEC 4-3). Georgia’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine so far this season has them oddly enough still alive in the SEC Eastern Division race. They will need to keep up their latest progress to take down the feisty ‘Cats. Both teams are coming off momentum building wins and each wants a say in who wins the SEC East crown. Georgia is coming off a 43-0 shellacking of Vanderbilt and Kentucky is coming off the 31-28 whirlwind last second upset of South Carolina. Each win serves to fire up the fan base as UGA is looking like the team everyone thought they’d be and the Wildcats under first year head coach Joker Phillips are trying to position themselves in the upper crust of the SEC East teams.
Keys to the game:
Kentucky’s Offense: UK’s dangerous playmakers are Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb. UGA will need to account for these two on every play and avoid getting gashed for big plays like they did last year in Athens. If UK QB Mike Hartline can pick up where he left off in the 2nd half of the South Carolina game, UGA will be in for a long, long night. The Dawgs secondary has already been torched several times this year and the lack of sound pass coverage skills by Bacarri Rambo and company will be tested. Solid tackling which to date has been lacking in the Dawgs D will need to limit yards after contact. Allowing Cobb and Locke to roam around unchallenged will spell disaster. Kentucky ranks 2nd in the SEC in total offense.
Georgia Offense: The Dawgs are a much more dangerous team with WR AJ Green in the lineup. His presence alone opens up the ground game for UGA. UK ranks next to last in Rushing Defense in the SEC. Washaun Ealey’s big game last week needs to be repeated in order to make UK respect the run and get AJ Green one-on-one coverage. QB Aaron Murray continues to protect the football and make smart plays with his feet. If the Dawgs O-line plays up to their potential and controls the line of scrimmage, UGA can run the ball to set up play action down the field. Running the ball also eats clock and keeps Cobb and Locke on the sidelines. Georgia will be without RB Caleb King again this week as he is serving the 2nd week of a 2 week suspension. Carlton Thomas showed promise last week with 40 yards and 2 TD’s vs. Vandy.
Offense Edge: Kentucky
Georgia Defense: Last week was the first shut out by DC Todd Grantham’s newly installed 3-4 scheme. UGA ranks 4th in the SEC for Total Defense after their impressive showings the last two weeks. As it is designed to do, the Dawgs D needs to get pressure on Hartline and force him to make decisions quickly. LB Justin Houston will need to pressure the QB which will make things easier for UGA’s middle of the pack ranked Secondary. Not letting Cobb or Locke run wild is the key to bottling up UK’s Offense.
Kentucky Defense: Allowing 29.9 points per game and with the 11th ranked Rushing Defense, they will need to counter UGA’s running game and get three-and-out’s early. Allowing UGA to control the clock with a ground game will lead to a very long night for Wildcat fans. They held the Gamecocks to only two 2nd half field goals last week.
Defensive Edge: Georgia
Intangibles: A night game in Lexington, the Cat Crazy’s will be ready and loud for this contest. After Randall Cobb’s “twitter-gate” comments, expect the fans to be up for his challenge to fill the stadium and support the team. UGA so far this year has lost all their road games. They will need to score early to keep the crowd out of it and control their emotions in a hostile SEC environment. The winner of this game will have a distinct advantage in trying to get to Atlanta. So which team will show up? The 2nd half Kentucky team from last week or the resurgent Dawgs and their dominating potential?