Kentucky vs. Georgia: 10 bold predictions, with the SEC East title in the balance
It’s down to this for all those marbles in the SEC East. So why not go bold? Here are 10 bold predictions for UGA vs UK.
1. Swift and Holyfield will be a handful
This season, Kentucky has given up only three 30-plus-yard runs and one 40-plus-yard run. That said, while Kentucky has faced quality rushers, it hasn’t seen many home run threats the likes of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield. UGA will rush for around 150, and between the two, they’ll hit a big run.
2. So will Benny Snell
When Kentucky runs well, Kentucky’s offense moves pretty well. The two teams that have stopped UK’s ground attack — Texas A&M and Missouri — basically took the UK offense out of the game entirely. None of this is surprising to Benny Snell. Kentucky will want to keep possessions and keep UGA’s offense off the field. It might not be a glamorous line, but Benny goes for around 125 yards on 30 carries.
3. Nauta problem
Kentucky’s pass defense is stingy, but Missouri’s Drew Lock did have some openings last week down the middle of the field against UK. Jake Fromm’s growing to rely on tight end Isaac Nauta, and we see him with a 5-catch, 75-yard kind of day.
4. But UK will get to Fromm
Georgia doesn’t protect Fromm terribly well, and Josh Allen’s solid presence will probably open up the other edge for Jamar Watson. Linebacker Jordan Jones was sharp last week, also, and don’t be surprised if he has a big play or three on the pass rush.
5. Georgia can force a turnover or two
The Bulldogs may not have a Josh Allen-type player, but they have a back seven that will make QB Terry Wilson pay at some point. Kentucky’s passing game is a grab bag, and Wilson can become static in the pocket. Look for Georgia to force a fumble or two and maybe grab a pick from Wilson.
6. But UGA’s passing game won’t be much to write home about
Ask Lock about trying to run vertical routes on Kentucky. Georgia has talented receivers, but if the yards don’t come over the middle, there won’t be many of them at all, particularly if Mecole Hardman can’t play or play much for the Bulldogs.
7. Kicking themselves
Georgia’s offense showed a tendency to bog down in the red zone against Florida. Good luck against a Kentucky team that gives up touchdowns in only 8 of 19 red zone possessions. UGA will move the ball between the 20s but will end up relying on several Rodrigo Blankenship field goals.
8. Feeling special
A key component of Kentucky’s win last week at Missouri was special teams play. Whether it’s Lynn Bowden on a kick return, punter Max Duffy pinning opponents or the nice job kicker Grant McKinniss has done on kickoffs, special teams have been decent for UK, placekicking aside. Kentucky will make a big special teams play, maybe with a blocked punt.
9. Georgia leads early
Kentucky will be tight in what is one of the biggest home games in their history. Georgia will look to strike early and will have some success, leading by a touchdown or so at the half. Kentucky has to get this game to the second half still being competitive, and Georgia will try to knock them out early. But if not …
10. Kentucky rallies late
The Wildcats are at their best in the third quarter, allowing just seven points all season in the third stanza. How big of a hole will Kentucky have to dig out of? How will Georgia respond if Kentucky can draw close down the stretch? Those answers will define the outcome.