Rapid Reaction: Last-second FG lifts Georgia, keeps Kentucky out of first
LEXINGTON, Ky. — For Kentucky, the wait continues.
Jacob Eason rallied Georgia once again, driving the Bulldogs into the red zone to set up Rodrigo Blankenship’s game-winning 25-yard field goal on the final snap Saturday night.
Georgia’s 27-24 victory snapped a two-game losing streak and prevented the Wildcats from moving into first place in the SEC East and becoming bowl eligible.
It was Blankenship’s fourth field goal of the game.
What it means: For UGA, it’s a quality road win that slows the bleeding of a tough season and puts the Dawgs another step closer to bowl eligibility. For Kentucky, the focus shifts from (gulp) winning the SEC to wrapping up a bowl bid.
What I liked: Whether from the Wildcats or more traditional formations, Kentucky continued with its commitment to the ground game. The Wildcats racked up 186 yards on the ground, despite facing a tough Georgia run defense.
The Bulldogs also committed to the ground game, although they got more production from QB Jacob Eason than Kentucky did from their passing attack. Once again, Eason engineered another fourth-quarter comeback. He didn’t win it with his arm Saturday, but he made the smart, safe plays that set up the victory.
What I Didn’t Like: UK QB Stephen Johnson won’t be confused for Tom Brady, but Kentucky’s receivers did a poor job of helping him out. Drops, a handed-over interception and a fumble hurt UK’s offense badly.
Georgia was inconsistent in the red zone and on 3rd down and lost multiple promising drives in field goals.
Key Play: Sony Michel exploded off the right side for a big touchdown with just over nine minutes to play. The score and ensuing two-point conversion gave Georgia a 24-21 lead. Georgia trailed in the third quarter 21-13.
Who’s the Man: Both teams’ star running backs showed up in this game. Kentucky’s Boom Williams and Benny Snell combined for 194 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Georgia’s Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 212 yards and one touchdown.
What’s Next: Kentucky will finish their SEC schedule next weekend in Knoxville against the suddenly mediocre Tennessee Vols. It isn’t a matchup that has been kind to Kentucky in recent years, with one win in the past three decades. The Wildcats must win that to post their first winning season in the SEC since 1977.
Georgia has a tough home matchup with Auburn, and figures to be a home underdog.