Georgia Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats: Complete Game Preview
Georgia hopes to send off Aaron Murray and a host of other Bulldogs the right way on senior night against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Here's what you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Nov. 23
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Place: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Radio: Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network
Spread: Georgia by 23.5, via 5Dimes
Georgia Keys to Victory
As brutal as last week's loss to Auburn was, it shouldn't overshadow the adversity the Bulldogs have faced all season long. Last week was not an isolated, heart-breaking incident. Rather, it was the cherry on top. Injuries, special teams mishaps, general misfortune and a host of other issues have plagued a Bulldogs team that showed so much promise early in the year.
As the season winds down, it's better to look ahead than to look back.
With seniors being honored before the game, nerves will be running high as dozens of players take the field at Sanford Stadium for the final time. The Dawgs must keep emotions in check and open the game with poise and precision.
A good, clean start will allow Georgia to cruise.
Kentucky Keys to Victory
Prey On the (Emotionally) Weak
Kentucky has not won a conference game since 2011, and the talent differential between the Bulldogs and the Wildcats does not present a lot of optimism for those looking for an upset. That being said, Kentucky has probably not faced a more emotionally drained opponent in years.
Georgia survived a brutal early-season stretch before getting upset at home by Missouri and Vanderbilt. Last week's game was thoroughly disheartening, and seven of the Dawgs' 10 games have been close late in the fourth quarter.
This Georgia team has to be fatigued. That opens the door for a team like Kentucky.
Open Up the Playbook
There are very few things that Kentucky does well. The Wildcats are 95th in the nation in passing yards and 78th in rushing. They fail to crack the top 75 in either scoring offense or scoring defense.
Kentucky's best bet is to get fancy on offense. Georgia's secondary has been exposed time and time again, and the Bulldogs have a tendency to give up big plays. The Cats need to have fun with play-calling. And who knows, they might catch the eye of a few recruits from the talent-rich state of Georgia in the process.
Players to Watch for Georgia
The home crowd at Sanford will be looking to send Murray off in dramatic fashion on Saturday, and he's deserving of all the praise that the 92,746 fans in attendance can dole out, as evidenced by his career statistics:
- 12,983 Passing Yards
- 117 Passing Touchdowns
- 62.1 Completion Percentage
- 16 Rushing Touchdowns
It's also worth noting that Murray completed 78.9 percent of his passes against Kentucky last year while throwing for 427 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
In total, 29 seniors will take the field at Sanford Stadium for the final time on Saturday. A few notable names include:
- Garrison Smith: A defensive end with 20 career starts, Smith has registered 133 career tackles and 12 tackles for loss.
- Arthur Lynch: As Georgia's starter at tight end over the last two seasons, Lynch has notched 749 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
- Kenarious Gates: Gates has started in 39 career games on the offensive line.
- Chris Burnette: Burnette has started 34 games on the line for the Bulldogs.
- Dallas Lee: Another long-time starter on the offensive line, Lee has accumulated 30 starts.
Players to Watch for Kentucky
Kentucky's quarterback leads the team in passing and rushing production and has the capacity to be a dual-threat. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Whitlow has gathered just 1499 yards of offense on 262 combined passing and rushing attempts (5.7 yards per attempt).
A junior defensive end out of Georgia, Dupree has played well in each of the last two years. In 2012, he registered 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to rank seventh in the conference in both categories. This year, he's registered nine tackles for loss and has sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times.
What They're Saying
Mark Richt on Georgia's Defense
Mark Richt told Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph that no blame has been passed for the defensive breakdown against Auburn. He added, "We're going to keep coaching and keep trying to make improvements and corrections on everything we do in all phases of the game."
Mike Bobo on Georgia's Future
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has reason to be optimistic looking ahead to next season. He told ESPN.com's David Ching, "That group's kind of been playing together…for a long time." He added that the weapons on the second team have tremendous chemistry with next year's quarterback, Hutson Mason.
According to Logan Booker of Bulldawg Illustrated, Aaron Murray wants to wear black jerseys in his final home game. Said Murray, "I think everyone on the team would love to wear them. It's not just a senior thing."
Lost in Georgia's 6-4 record is the fact that this Bulldog team is still a very competitive squad. Although diminished by injuries and a brutal schedule, this is the same team that pushed Clemson on the road and defeated South Carolina and LSU earlier in the year. This is the same team that was one tipped pass away from overcoming a 20-point deficit on the road against a Top 10 Auburn team just last week.
Conversely, Kentucky is a bad 2-8 team. The Wildcats' two wins came against FCS Alabama State and Miami of Ohio (the RedHawks boast an 0-10 record).
Georgia has an advantage in talent, coaching, experience and atmosphere. The Bulldogs win by 28 points.