Good morning, #BBN! It’s GAMEDAY!!! I hope you got up early and had a balanced breakfast because we are set to kick-off at Kroger Field very soon at Noon eastern time.
The fifth ranked Georgia Bulldogs come to town fresh off a bye week sporting a 3-1 record. Two weeks ago the Dawgs lost down in Tuscaloosa 41-24 to Alabama.
Coach Kirby Smart’s team started off the season with three consecutive easy victories over Arkansas, Auburn, and Tennessee before the loss to the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs are scoring 33 points per game while allowing just 19.5 defensively.
Kentucky is coming off of a very disappointing 20-10 loss to Missouri and are turning to Joey Gatewood at Quarterback. Gatewood will be facing a tall task as his first career start is coming against one of the best defensive units in all of college football. The Wildcats are now 2-3 on the season.
There really isn’t much else to say to set the stage for this one. If you want an in-depth Scouting Report on the Georgia Bulldogs make sure to read Adam Luckett’s piece or go over How Kentucky Beats Georgia by Freddie Maggard. Without further ado, let’s dive in to the Five Things You Need to Know About the Georgia Bulldogs.
Best Defense in College Football
You absolutely to start with the Dawgs defense when breaking down Georgia. Starting off with a look at the statistics, Georgia ranks first in the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards allowed per carry, second in yards allowed per play, sack rate, and redzone TD rate allowed, and fourth in overall yards per attempt allowed. This is a stout unit in every facet of the game.
The Bulldogs utilize a 3-4 scheme and rely on their dominant linebackers and edge rushers to create havoc in the pocket. They are pressuring the quarterback on over 40% of passing plays.
Not only is this group extremely talented, but they are deep as well. 11 defensive players are former Top 100 recruits with several other four star recruits getting significant snaps. They will rotate players in and out to stay fresh without losing an ounce of talent.
To put it simply, Joey Gatewood and company are going to have their hands full today at Kroger Field.
Azeez Ojulari Dominating at Outstide Linebacker
I know we just talked about how dominant the Georgia defense is as a whole, but Azeez Ojulari (#13) deserves his own praise. In just four games, the Redshirt Sophomore has produced three sacks, nine Quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles to go long with six tackles for loss and 15 total stops.
At 6’3” 240 pounds you can expect to see Ojulari flying all over the field and making a living in the Kentucky backfield. Along with Ojulari, you can’t sleep on the rest of the linebacking corps for a second. Georgia’s leading tackler is Inside Linebacker Monty Rice (#32) with 24 tackles. Then you have Nakobe Dean (#17), Quay Walker (#25) and Nolan Smith (#4) that have combined for 53 tackles, 3 sacks, and 20 QB Hurries. It is a deep, talented group that can change the game with havoc.
It will be imperative that the Big Blue Wall brings their “A” game and limits negative plays.
Limited Running Game
For as dominant as the defense has been, the Georgia offense has been very mediocre so far this season. The Bulldogs rank eighth in yards per carry in the SEC. Redshirt Sophomore Zamir White (#3) is the featured running back but is averaging just over four yards per rushing attempt.
Against Alabama, White led the team with 10 rushes for 58 yards and a touchdown, but three other running backs received at least five carriers so you can expect a rotating door in the Bulldogs backfield. As a unit, they are averaging 165 yards per game on the ground.
A Pair of Big-Time Wide Receivers
This season the top wideout has been slot receiver Kearis Jackson (#10). Jackson has caught 21 passes for 323 yards, good for and impressive 15 yards per catch. Last season, George Pickens (#1) led the team in receiving as a true Freshman and is back for more in 2020. Pickens hasn’t been as dominant this year as a Sophomore, but the speedster is still extremely dangerous. He has brought in 13 receptions for 140 yards and a pair of scores.
Georgia will heavily involve their running backs and tight ends in the passing game as well when they aren’t able to stretch the field vertically. James Cook (#4) actually led the Dawgs in receiving out of the backfield against Alabama with 101 yards and a touchdown on four catches. His score was an 82-yarder.
Stetson Bennett IV
When Georgia fans were looking forward to this season, they never expected for their Quarterback to be Stetson Bennett IV (#13). Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman decided to opt out of the season and USC transfer JT Daniels is still recovering from a torn ACL which only left former walk-on Bennett IV.
Thanks to a big enough arm and some talented receivers, Bennett IV has been able to connect on some deep shots down the field. However, his passing success rate ranks towards the bottom of SEC Quarterbacks and he has struggled with having a lot of tipped passes both at the line of scrimmage and down the field. The UK defense will have to capitalize on some turnover opportunities to have a chance this afternoon.