Georgia vs. Kentucky: No Need to Stress over Bulldogs' Squeaker over Wildcats

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterOctober 20, 2012

Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Georgia QB Aaron MurrayAndy Lyons/Getty Images

Georgia fans, before you freak out, take a deep breath. 

The Bulldogs' 29-24 win over Kentucky was close—perhaps a little too close for comfort. But it was a road win in the SEC, and those aren't easy to get.

Okay, so maybe they should be when you're playing a team like Kentucky that's littered with injuries and at a disadvantage from a talent standpoint, but with the rivalry game vs. Florida looming next weekend, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see the Bulldogs sleepwalk a little bit.

The good news for Georgia is that there are some positives to take from the close win over Kentucky.

Quarterback Aaron Murray, for one, had a career day.

The junior from Tampa completed 30-of-38 passes for 427 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was an efficient, explosive and responsible performance from Murray, all of which will be very important next weekend when the Bulldogs take on the Gators in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Georgia defense, which has been a sore spot this season and was missing star linebacker Jarvis Jones, played better, limiting Kentucky to just 330 total yards—170 of which were on the first three drives of the game.

Again, it wasn't the greatest performance in the world, but the Georgia defense got punched in the mouth, and eventually punched back. 

If there is one point of concern it's the running game, which was remarkably stagnant against Kentucky—which entered action on Saturday with the SEC's No. 12 rushing defense, having given up 184 yards per game.

Georgia managed only 77 rushing yards as a team on Saturday, which was the second straight disappointing performance on the ground for the Bulldogs. 

It shouldn't come as a shock that the "Gurshall" nickname, which is a play on words on Georgia's two true freshman studs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, as well as former Heisman winner Herschel Walker, picked up steam shortly before Georgia's loss at South Carolina two games ago.

Haven't Bulldog fans learned not to compare running backs to Walker? It never works.

It wasn't the prettiest win in the world, but it was one that Georgia can build off of. The Bulldogs were challenged, battled and prevailed, though not all of the questions facing them were answered on Saturday night.

That's important heading into the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against No. 2 Florida, which will essentially be a de facto SEC East championship game after the Gators knocked off South Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

Does the squeaker against Kentucky change your perception of the Georgia program heading into the Florida game?

It shouldn't. 

The Bulldogs were going to be underdogs against Florida anyway, and getting tested on the road vs. Kentucky yielded some positives. 

Murray looked like a gunslinger without turning the ball over, the defense didn't quit when it got tested and—above all else—it was a road win in the SEC. 

Again, those aren't easy to come by.

Doing it at a neutral site in Jacksonville next week against the No. 2 Florida Gators won't be either.