Arkansas did its job. The Hogs beat Florida to give the Wildcats a glimmer of SEC East hope. The BBN tailgated, Cat Walked, and cheered with maximum enthusiasm on its way to creating a raucous home-field environment. Georgia entered the game wobbly, average, and battered. Then, Kentucky proceeded to fumble, drop, and penalize itself into a 27-24 loss on Saturday night.
Let’s take a closer look:
- Rush: 40 carries, 186 yards, 4.7 per carry
- Pass: 10-20, 122 yards, 1 INT
- Total: 61 plays, 308 yards
- 3rd Down: 3/13, 23%
- Time of Possession: 26:01
- Turnovers: 2 fumbles, 1 lost. 1 INT
- Benny Snell: 21 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs
- Boom Williams: 14 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD
- Stephen Johnson: 10-20, 122 yards, 1 INT
— Kentucky couldn’t get out of its own way. Jeff Badet caught a potential touchdown pass on a perfectly thrown post route then bobbled the football into Deandre Baker’s hands. Missed scoring opportunity.
— QB Stephen Johnson completed a critical 3rd down pass to Garrett Johnson who then fumbled the football back to the Dawgs.
— Cats didn’t live in the S.L.O.P (Sustained Long Offensive Possessions) as it lost the time of possession battle 33:59 to 26:01. It also failed in the field position game which can be attributed to 3rd down inefficiency, penalties and turnovers.
— In the waning minutes of the 2nd quarter QB Stephen Johnson operated an efficient 2-minute drive. Johnson delivered a strike to Tavin Richardson that would have given kicker Austin MacGinnis a shot at a half-ending FG. A holding call negated suitable field position and FG attempt. Missed scoring opportunity.
— Dawgs coughed up the football early in the 3rd quarter. Three conservative play calls led to an Austin MacGinnis FG attempt. Result was a holding penalty that led to an eventual punt that sailed through the end zone. Missed scoring opportunity.
— After a creative 1st half Eddie Gran surprisingly called a conservative 3rd and 4th quarter.
— Benny Snell wildcatted his team down the field while facing a 24-21 deficit deep in the 4th quarter. As the field shrank in the Red Zone so did the wildcat’s capabilities. Stephen Johnson missed on a 3rd and goal fade route to Dorian Baker after two minimal Snell runs. A TD instead of a FG on this drive would have salted the game. Missed game-winning opportunity.
— Benny Snell laid it all on the line; as did Boom Williams. A 3rd running back has to surface going forward.
- Rush: Allowed 42 carries, 215 yards, 1 TD
- Pass: 17-31, 245 yards
- Total: 73 plays, 460 yards
- Time of Possession: 33:59
- 3rd Down: 6/14, 42.8%
- Mike Edwards: 13 total tackles
- Jordan Jones: 10 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass breakup
— Defense was not helped by their offensive counterparts. Georgia’s sustained time of possession took its toll on the thin Wildcat defense.
— Georgia OC Jim Chaney realized that he had RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at his disposal. The junior duo combined for 40 carries and 212 yards. Both are future professionals.
— The much maligned Bulldog OL bowed its back by opening running lanes and protecting its quarterback. UGA had allowed 19 QB sacks going into Saturday. UK registered zero for the night as Jacob Eason was allowed to stand tall in the pocket. Kentucky’s lack of a persistent and threatening pass rush was costly as the Dawgs rolled up 460 total yards.
— UGA began its game winning drive on its own 25-yard line with 2:47 left on the clock. QB Jacob Eason masterfully directed a 9 play, 67-yard drive by going 4-4 when it counted the most. The true freshman has a monstrous arm and future in Athens.
— Cats produced a punt team turnover as JD Harmon capitalized on an Isaiah McKenzie fumble.
— Punter Grant McKinniss averaged 40 yards off 7 punts.
— UGA kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was money: 4-4 FG’s including the game winner.
What does all this mean?
— On a night when UK needed to play clean; it didn’t. Kentucky was often penalized during crucial moments of the football game. UK had also lived on the edge by winning games while losing the turnover margin. Turnovers finally bit the Wildcats in their collective rear ends.
— Early 3rd quarter momentum was all Blue. With the game on the fringes of being put out of reach back to back WR turnovers crushed Kentucky’s chances to maximize the moment.
— Georgia and its 38 four stars and six 5 stars were obviously the most talented team on the field. However, opposing skill level had zero to do with dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, and a lack of “edge”. Saturday night felt as if Kentucky lost the game more so than Georgia won it.
— This game and a shot at the SEC East title were both ripe for the taking. Kentucky failed to take advantage of plentiful, opportunistic situations.
— Mark Stoops, “We had really good preparation all week, and I really didn’t feel like we had an edge about us today though.” The Cats may have lacked edge; Georgia certainly did not.
— As average as this Georgia team has been throughout 2016, it’s imperative to remember that UGA sports a proud football program steeped in rich tradition. The Dawgs played with their backs to the wall and won through perseverance. Hats off to Kirby Smart. His team played with a sense of desperation and as if their season and bowl eligibility were on the line.
— The season is not over as the Tennessee Volunteers await and are now poised for a trip to Atlanta. Somebody’s got to win the East, right?
— Kentucky fans were incredible. Hats off for a tremendous atmosphere. The BBN was the Most Valuable Player; it wasn’t close. Kudos.