Georgia Bulldogs Have No Margin for Error Against Kentucky
The Georgia Bulldogs sit at 6-4 right now and, after a nice come-from-behind win over the Auburn Tigers, the scrappy little team from Athens has to be feeling a bit better about finishing the season strong.
Two teams are left on the slate, one is sitting pretty in the BCS top 15—Georgia Tech. While the other is in much the same boat as the Dawgs—looking to close out strong and make a statement for the goodies that next season will bring.
No one is looking for Georgia to drop this home game to Kentucky. The Wildcats may be 6-4 but their last SEC game was a 24-13 sleeper against a Vanderbilt team that, to put it lightly, has had some troubles stopping the run this year.
The Wildcats ran amuck all over Vandy to the tune of 308 net yards and three scores.
That said, Georgia isn't Vandy.
The Dawgs defense may have it's share of issues in the secondary but they sit third in the conference in rushing defense and I seriously doubt that either Derrick Locke or Randall Cobb can be placed in the same category as Ben Tate of Auburn.
Georgia held the talented and shifty Tate to a mere 67 yards on Saturday and gave him his lowest yards per carry total of the season thus far.
Both Derrick Locke (741 yards and five scores) and Randall Cobb (410 yards and seven scores) have to be accounted for in this offense, no question, but Georgia has proven that it is up to the task where the run game is concerned.
As for that struggling secondary, it sustained quite a blow last week when backup safety Bacarri Rambo went down after a collision with an Auburn receiver. However, Rambo is just a backup and Bryan Evans did manage to show some signs of life last week as the starter.
Which is to say he didn't get burned for a score and defended the passes thrown his way with better competency than he has all season.
Kentucky has one key wide receiver in Randall Cobb—the converted quarterback has 384 yards receiving on the year. Second to him is Chris Matthews with 299 yards.
Neither of the two have been able to benefit from the inconsistent play of quarterback Newton Morgan—Morgan took over the reigns from junior Mike Hartline at midseason and has shown some skills but is still not yet the true leader he needs to be to lead this offense.
It may seem cocky or too self-assured to say so but the Dawgs have no business losing to Kentucky, at home, on Saturday. Period.
Georgia may be inconsistent and hard to figure on most game days this year but the talent level is there and some of the freshman players are starting to find their rhythm.
The Dawgs are 3-1 in the last four weeks and the run game that was so hard to find early in the season has started to come on late—the kickstart was Vandy and the train has been chugging along quite nicely ever since.
Freshman Washaun Ealey has 328 yards and three touchdowns since his poor outing against the Vols—a yards per carry average of nearly six (5.96).
Caleb King has bounced back from his jaw injury and concussion quite well and has 137 yards to go along with three touchdowns in the last two weeks (6.22 ypc).
Both guys are playing their best football of the season and their contributions have taken a little bit of the pressure off Joe Cox who hasn't thrown an interception in the last couple games.
This season isn't over. A win against Kentucky will set up a showdown against the hated Tech Juggernaut from Atlanta and the Dawgs would like nothing better than to decimate the Yellow Jackets while securing a more favorable bowl in the process.
Despite how mediocre Georgia has looked at times this season, they are still currently second in the SEC East and have a chance at getting a nod in one of the more respectable bowls if they can finish the season on a high note—the Chick-fil-A Bowl is the best Georgia is likely to net this season and that would be okay with many fans who were beginning to think the Dawgs wouldn't bowl at all.
If nothing else, this game against Kentucky is the last hurrah for guys like Joe Cox, Geno Atkins, Bryan Evans, Prince Miller, Michael Moore, Jeff Owens, Vince Vance, and, likely, Reshad Jones and Rennie Curran.
All would like nothing better than to close out their last home game with a win for the Georgia faithful.
It's a game that we should win and I have total faith that we WILL win. It's time to hunker down Dawg fans—this one's for all of us.
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