Kentucky’s upset fueled by Maxwell, other Georgia players

You may or may not have noticed that the SEC Defensive Player of the Week named on Monday was Kentucky linebacker Sam Maxwell. It should be further noted that the Wildcats’ senior is from Hartwell.

Kentucky's Sam Maxwell, here hauling down Georgia's Washaun Ealey (24), hails from Hartwell and is one of 16 players from Georgia playing for the Wildcats. He was named SEC defensive player of the week with 11 tackles and an interception. (Photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Kentucky's Sam Maxwell, here hauling down Georgia's Washaun Ealey (24), hails from Hartwell and is one of 16 players from Georgia playing for the Wildcats. He was named SEC defensive player of the week with 11 tackles and an interception. (Photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Maxwell had the game of his career against Georgia. The senior finished with 11 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception as the Wildcats knocked off the Bulldogs in Athens for the first time in 32 years.

It wasn’t just that Maxwell was making plays but when he was making them. His interception came with the game hanging in the balance with 1:45 to go. His tackle-for-loss came on a third-and-one for Georgia. His last recorded tackle of the contest when he stopped Branden Smith inside their 1. The Bulldogs’ fumbled the ball away on the next play.

It should also be noted that another Georgia native made a significant play for Kentucky. Defensive tackle Shane McCord intercepted a Joe Cox screen pass and returned it 21 yards to the Bulldogs’ 8 to set up the go-ahead touchdown.

In all there were 16 players from Georgia on the Kentucky roster, many of them playing critical roles, such as All-SEC senior cornerback Trevard Lindley of Hiram. Next to their own state, the Wildcats sign more players from Georgia than anywhere else.

The person most singularly responsible for that is Kentucky’s assistant head coach — and head coach in waiting — Joker Phillips, whose recruiting base is Georgia and Atlanta. The Wildcats currently have five players committed from the Peach State, including three from Stephenson High alone: TE Ronnie Shields, LB Jabari Johnson and RB Raymond Sanders. Also committed are CB Eric Simmons of Westlake and PK Joe Mansour of LaGrange. Kentucky has long benefited from what it calls the “LaGrange pipeline.”

Phillips said heading into the Georgia game last week that recruiting the state had made them more competitive with the Bulldogs.

“We’ve played them tough over the years,” Phillips told the Lexington-Herald Leader. “One of the reasons I think we’ve played them tough is because we’ve got so many Georgia kids on the team and it’s an emotional game for them.”

That has been noticed back in the Bluegrass state, which does not traditionally produce as many football prospects per capita. Steve Kragthorpe is expected to get fired after three losing seasons at Louisville and Eric Crawford, a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, noted that is at least in part because the Cardinals haven’t recruited the fertile state of Georgia as well as the Cats.

While many Georgians have found success at Kentucky, it has been rare if ever that the Bulldogs went head-to-head with it on a player. In most cases Georgia simply has passed over their targets in favor of other recruits. In the case of Maxwell, he did not start until his senior season at Hart County and then did not qualify academically for admission as a true freshman. He was, it seems, never on Georgia’s radar screen.

Except for this past Saturday. Maxwell was hard to miss.

50 comments Add your comment


November 23rd, 2009
3:52 pm

UK’s upset was fueled more by the 4 turnovers than any other factor. Not disrespecting UK, but that is the cold hard truth.




November 23rd, 2009
4:10 pm

Turnovers have fueled many of UGA’s wins over UK in the past. UK’s play contributed to many of the turnovers that resulted in their win.


November 23rd, 2009
4:12 pm

They are getting a real player in Raymond Sanders the RB from Stephenson. I watched him in the King game on TV. Quick & fast.


November 23rd, 2009
4:20 pm

We played like Kentucky! Plain and simple! We were not and are not good at this point. With those 4 second half TO, we lost. With 4 turnovers in a game period, Kentucky gets blowed out!


November 23rd, 2009
4:55 pm

Kentucky also has a former outstanding Parkview offensive lineman (can’t think of his name right now) that decommitted from a verbal with Georgia, at the last minute, three years ago because he wanted a meaningful degree. :)


November 23rd, 2009
5:07 pm

I wonder how many “stars” those Kentucky players had back when they were being recruited out of high school. Proving once again all that matters is how you play on the football field. Not what the “experts” think you should be doing according to their celestial charts. They played well and earned a road victory in a very tough stadium.

A story on Paul Johnson’s record in rivalry games is now available for viewing on The Yellow Jackets are getting ready for their big game against Georgia on Saturday. THWG!


November 23rd, 2009
5:10 pm

Kudos to KY. They played a good game and they can recruit the state of Ga. KY has always reruited well in the state of Ohio also. Don’t know if they still do well in the buckeye state or not, but they need to! Georgia alone will not sustain a winning tradition that they expect. Ohio like Georgia turn out very good football players that can play anywhere in the country.

Ogeechee Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:44 pm

I agree that U of Kentucky recruiting players from Georgia – along with Florida – has helped build better team speed and depth.

U of Tennessee also has to go out of state as the smaller population just does not produce a lot BlueChip tallent.

With that said – the game was somewhat of a fluke. UGA beat themselves – and Kentucky did an outstanding job by limiting their own mistakes. That was the difference in the game…. and because of that – Kentucky deserved to win. Rich Brooks has done a good job there -and I hope they beat Tennessee next week.

Kudos for Kentucky and congratulations – class act school – class act fans.

Go Dawgs!


November 23rd, 2009
5:45 pm

With all due respect to Kentucky – we beat ourselves!

Insert excuses for loss here

November 23rd, 2009
5:51 pm

The refs cheated Georgia out of another win. Nice to see all of them fans leaving early while the game still hung in the balance. What a bunch of quitters and losers. Tech is gonna own the dogs this week. Butt kicking coming up!

Insert excuses for loss here

November 23rd, 2009
5:52 pm

We beat ourselves. Kentucky had nothing to do with it. Losers!

Frank Lane

November 23rd, 2009
5:59 pm

The Fife Factor has buried Georgia this year. Named for Barney Fife of Mayberry RFD fame, the Fife factor is the number of plays that a team can average without shooting itself in the foot. Any penalty that ends a drive qualifies as a shot in the foot. Any penalty that sustains an opponent’s drive is a shot in the foot. Every turnover is a shot in the foot.

Georgia shot itself in the foot seven times in the Kentucky game. Kentucky shot itself in the foot not once in the Georgia game. If Georgia ran 42 plays the Fife factor was 6.0. If Kentucky ran 25 plays in the game, their Fife factor was 36.

Georgia’s Fife Factor for the 2009 season is less than 7.0. Florida for 2009 is over 30.0. A low Fife factor is almost impossible to overcome.

Frank Lane

November 23rd, 2009
6:01 pm

Type. If Kentucky ran 36 plays in the game, their Fife factor was 36,

The Source

November 23rd, 2009
6:13 pm

gatorman770…don’t make me laugh…I’ll bet you were the BMOC at the community college you attended…you know all the stats and names but couldn’t even get in a real school. How’s that new deck comming on the back of your house you’ve been building the past four years. The good thing is you don’t have to think about taking the xmas decorations down any more the xmas season is upon us son for the next two months your neighbors would be dog cussing you behind your back….what a mullett head!

UK fan

November 23rd, 2009
6:49 pm

I love how some UGA fans downplay UK’s win. I keep seeing UGA fans say we gave it to them trying to take away from what our players did. C’mon !! I would never see you guys saying Florida gave you the game if Tebow threw 3 picks.

Every team in every sport who loses beat themselves. UGA just didnt come out to play in the 2nd half. UK came in and played great between the hedges . Respect it

liz boy

November 23rd, 2009
6:54 pm

One thing I have notice is that Georgia lacks the ability to run from one side of the field to the other—- I am talking one bench to the other bench—–whats up with that? I have a new drill—In full pads 200 times to one side of the field to the other——just at one practice—–the next day the same thing—-until ==========well until they start stretching the field with speed and kill power—but they look pretty lazy on the field or they dont care—dont know which.


November 23rd, 2009
7:09 pm

The Source – Is that all you got? I did go to 2 Georgia community schools, Kennesaw College and GSU and was on the deans list every quarter but 2 with a 3.5 average at graduation. Go back to your trailer park and kickback in your undersize 1970s red and white striped Richard Simmons Dolphin running shorts and stuff your fata$$ curdawg face.

Gerald Ball

November 23rd, 2009
7:09 pm

Georgia fans:



Goodness, saying “We would have won if we would stop turning the ball over and shooting ourselves in the foot” is like saying “I’d be a millionaire if I had $999,999 more dollars in the bank!” Case in point: Why does Joe Cox keep committing turnovers? BECAUSE HE IS JOE COX! IF HE DIDN’T COMMIT TURNOVERS, HE’D BE A DIFFERENT QB! What, you mean that if Georgia had Ryan Mallett, Colt McCoy, Chase Keenum, Zac Robinson or even Eric Crompton, they’d be a better team? Wow, how did you figure that one out? Or if they had Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart, or Anthony Dixon they wouldn’t have all these fumbles and problems running the football? Wow, genius! Or if they had Virginia Tech’s special teams, they’d have good kickoff and punt coverage? Amazing insight!

Well guess what. Georgia doesn’t have any of those things. And do you know why? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T VERY GOOD! Kentucky has a BETTER record and beat head to head you ON YOUR OWN HOME FIELD. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE BETTER THAN YOU!


Or put it like this. If Georgia beat themselves, it was because they aren’t very good. If that is the case, mediocre 6-6 teams “beat themselves” all the time. Ask Georgia Tech when Chan Gailey, Bill Lewis, and Bill Curry were their coaches, and as a matter of fact when overrated George O’Leary was their coach. Georgia Tech fans can tell you all about “beating yourself.” How did we beat ourselves? By making Reggie Ball a 4 year starter perhaps? Yep, that’s how you beat yourself just like Georgia’s been doing all year long.

Here’s a hint: when Brian VanGorder was defensive coordinator, Georgia didn’t “beat themselves” nearly as often.


November 23rd, 2009
7:21 pm

UGA was out coached and that is why we lost. Plus, give me a break…4 turnovers. Tennessee will beat Ky this weekend and put them out of their gloating.


November 23rd, 2009
7:28 pm

dawgdude…at least you are a realistic fan. Most dog fans make excuses but yes you have been outcoached most of the year. With the talent that ga has….no way KY should win there. I think UT and USCe are above you guys…but KY should not be. UT will beat KY this weekend to extend their misery. AND….the Jackets will beat ga and extend theres. Not flaming but that is what will happen.


November 23rd, 2009
7:30 pm

Im from elbert co,just up the rd from hartwell(home of maxwell and shane mc)and it seems like the dawgs always over look the talent in north east ga,other than t.king and a few others they go to different parts of the state.when elbert,hart,toccoa,for years made deep runs in the playoffs with elbert winning a s.championship,i hope they dont let the mattox kid (clarke cent,)and the young talent in elbert and hart co get away.


November 23rd, 2009
7:34 pm

Alot of excuses being made about the lose to KY. At least give us some credit please. We beat you guys at your place. Yes you did turn it over 4 times but we found a way to win about what 32 times at GA…we finally get a win. I would trade that win in a heartbeat though for a win over Tennessee. 24 years and counting is getting very old to our biggest rival. Well I will enjoy our win over UGA for now….and on to bigger things this weekend….Tennessee! Go Cats!


November 23rd, 2009
7:38 pm

kywildcat….enjoy your win this week because unless UT turns the ball over alot to you (you know like we did) you are not going to win. UT wins by a touchdown I think. I won’t even guess how the dawgs will do this weekend. Can’t wait for this season to be over!


November 23rd, 2009
7:45 pm

Wildcat fans – a win over UT just isn’t going to happen. Sorry…


November 23rd, 2009
8:14 pm

techster lets not get crazy ohkay,usc hasnt passed us nor has guys need to get that slow start thing taken care of because we wont let you back in the game this year.cmr knows that he pulled the brakes last year and it cost them this time it wont happen,he ,willie and the other coaches will play the finish the drill card.and show flim from last year .AND PLEASE CMR DONT COVER ANY WIDEOUT NOT NAME THOMAS.GO DAWGS.


November 23rd, 2009
8:31 pm

He didn’t sign with GT either. Shame, shame, shame GT for not signing every kid in state. That’s how stupid it is to criticize UGA for not signing all these kids from the state.


November 23rd, 2009
8:35 pm

Richt has always recruited the best individual athletes, and that is exactly how they have played. Kentucky is a great example of taking average athletes and coaching them to play as a team. I suspect that UK’s graduation rate is much better than that of Georgia, that usually is near the bottom. Kentucky won the game because they didn’t give up. It reminded me of some of Dooley’s less talented teams that hung around until the fourth quarter and ended up winning the game. In contrast, Richt’s teams tend to roll over and die or play dirty when things aren’t going their way.


November 23rd, 2009
9:11 pm

Face it. This is nothing new for the Richt era. Ga. does not control it’s borders when it comes to recruiting. Why does UK have an all-SEC corner from Hiram walking on their campus? The coaching has been less than acceptable this year and for the past several. Ask yourself this Dawg fans, “why isn’t UGA a national program yet? Maybe you need to hire Joker so UGA can start recruiting and keeping Ga. talent oh and coaching up the ones that are suckered into going to Athens. Oops, forgot he’s already head coach in waiting at UK. A long season will get longer this Saturday when you guys get out-coached, out-hustled and out-disciplined. Enjoy your turkey Thursday.


November 23rd, 2009
9:15 pm

I would like to know why Georgia did not recruit Jermaine Cunningham, who is an all American defensive lineman at Florida. Georgia is not recruiting the best defensive players in Georgia.

reality check

November 23rd, 2009
9:30 pm

Kentucky fans you are right. You won and deserve all the credit for playing better. Your team played harder and smarter and deserved to win. You are just seeing the frustration of a very talented (we thought) team not playing up to its potential and a fan base that is frustrated and upset. You have to admit if we would have continued playing like the first half it would have been a blowout. To your credit you came out fighting once you caused the first turnover. Go DAWGS!

Chip Towers

November 23rd, 2009
9:49 pm

Dawgtime: I’m certainly not trying to shame Georgia or Tech for not signing local products that go off and do well. This state produces 200 to 400 Division 1 prospects a year. They can’t begin to sign them all. Merely noting that they are Georgians, and that’s something for which to be proud.

Hakeem Rubenstein

November 23rd, 2009
9:52 pm

UK Fan: You have’nt been exposed to this very long have you ? As a Tech fan, you must realize that no one has ever beaten UGA. The refs have, the team has beat itself, the weather’s wasn’t right, the coaches got stupid, or injuries were the problem. The point is that your team is never as good as theirs. Welcome to la la land. Athens is 25 sq miles surrounded by reality.
UGA has never been beaten by FL either.


November 23rd, 2009
10:10 pm

I will agree that UGA has better talent top to bottom than UK. However, can anyone argue that our key playmakers were better last Sat? Wasn’t Locke the best RB on the field with his 4.29 speed and shiftiness? Wasn’t Maxwell the best linebacker on the field? Wasn’t true Freshman Newton (3TD’s/no picks) the better QB vs. the panicky Joe Cox? Does GA have a better all around player and LEADER than Randall Cobb?

Much was made of the stat disparity, but face it folks….in the second half you got worked.


November 23rd, 2009
10:37 pm

Hakeem Rubenstein you are a tool – that is all.

What are Florida's Upsets fueled by?

November 23rd, 2009
10:48 pm

Florida and Meyers got beat 41-0 by Michigan. What was that DEVASTATING LOSS fueled by?

What was the Ole Miss loss, when Meyers and Fla were favored by 22 points, what was that loss fueled by?

It's Joe Cox's First Year As a Starter

November 23rd, 2009
10:56 pm

Joe threw a lot of picks like almost ANY 1st year starter. Big deal. Grow up, move on. You have to be ignorant to expect a 1st year starter with as little game experience as Cox to win the Natl’ Championship in the SEC. Get a clue.

Cox still threw for more td’s and yards and took less 13 less sacks than Tim Tebow this year.

To expect Cox to be like DJ is PLAIN STUPID. DJ had TONS of game experience compared to Cox.

Michigan’s QB didn’t do so hot n his first year starting either, did he?

P.S. Cox’s 1st year also beat Stafford’s in TD’s, passer rating, yardage, and was about the same in interceptions (14 vs. 13).

P.S.S In Cox’s first year as a starter, in TD’S, yards, and sacks, Cox OUTERFORMED Tim Tebow as a SENIOR with 3 years of game experience(tEBOW’S the greatest college football player of all-time, right?)


November 23rd, 2009
11:00 pm

Florida plays guys like Troy, Charleston Southern, and Florida International. Hard to beat those guys.


November 24th, 2009
1:00 am

first of all I would like to thank the ga fans for being great to us this weekend. the food was great and yes the game better. Wished you had a horse track like keenland to go to though. lol
What some people don’t understand is a fumble recovery at the start of the first half was caused by a great hit by kentucky. Kentucky started getting to your QB in the second half and that is why you had the first int, and when maxwell had the game clencher int was because you ran the same play from a few min earlyer in the game. You guys were running the same pass playes over and over to the same side of the field. On the way home we were breaking the film down and it was realy our bad play calling for not stoping it more… turnovers are caused by one thing pressure. And yes I truly think that we wanted the game alot more you could just tell it. GA has 4 star players or better in every position kentucky has 2-3 star players in most positions however most of those players are red shirted to get better faster and to put weight on them. So when they are playeing there soph years they are alot better. We at kentucky don’t get the big players most of the time so we have to make them that away.


November 24th, 2009
1:39 am

These comments by Georgia fans just proves the point that fans see what they want to see. My God, what ignorance. For all you imbeciles who keep saying “we beat ourselves” is absolute bias and disrespectful to the team that won. Kentucky forced 3 of the 4 turnovers in the second half. By pressuring Cox, hitting the ball out of players hands and Maxwell’s anticipation of the play he had been burned on the previous drive. We forced 2 other fumbles that were recovered by Georgia, will anyone mention that? When a team commits a turnover, guess what Georgia fans? You still have the opportunity to stop the other team from scoring, especially on a 3rd and a mile! And you did not! Georgia lost because Kentucky was hungry for the ball in the second half and took it from you. Because you could not stop Lock and Cobb and because they scored 5 touchdowns on you. Have more class people!


November 24th, 2009
2:32 am

The excuse Georgia fans seem to be using is that they gave the game to Kentucky because they had four turnovers and beat themselves. Guess that was a gift for Kentucky giving the game to Georgia last year in Lexington.

First turnover was a fumble caused by a solid big time hit on the Georgia kick returner. He did not start to run and the ball fall out. He did not let the ball go through his hands. He did not GIVE IT to a Kentucky player. It was a good play by a good Kentucky player. Kentucky’s offense then scored a TD.

Second turnover was an interception caused after the good Kentucky defense got by the Georgia D-line and pressured Cox. He did not GIVE IT to McCord, the Kentucky D made a play. Kentucky’s offense then scored a TD.

Third turnover, well this one I would have to agree was a gift. Just a busted handoff, guess they did GIVE IT to Kentucky, but Kentucky’s D did stop Smith at the one. Georgia was only going for the tie anyway.

Fourth turnover was Cox under pressure trying to make something happen. If you want to say they GAVE IT to Kentucky then ok. Still time running out and going for the tie.

Also how many three and outs did Georgia GIVE Kentucky’s defense in the second half? Guess they just felt sorry for poor Kentucky and wanted to give them some help.

Of course Kentucky does not have the winning football tradition of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, but all those schools started a tradition at some point in years past. Everyone seems to think Kentucky had no business winning the Georgia game but it shows Rich Brooks and his staff has made progress. The SEC is a tough football conference and Kentucky won’t be a title contender year in and year out but they are becoming competitive. Maybe their tradition of playing a role of wins the SEC is just starting.

One thing is for sure. On Saturday November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia, Kentucky was the better team. Regardless of talent on each team the scoreboard that was turned off as soon as the clock hit :00 Was UK 34 UGA 27.


November 24th, 2009
4:14 am

Brian Stewart for UGA defensive coordinator position. (Former Dallas Cowboys DC, current Philadelphia Eagles defensive assistant coach)

PASS IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ga football fan

November 24th, 2009
6:29 am

Go Wildcats. Boy UGA get use to it Your stars aren’t what you think they are.
Get some real players. Not everyone that lives in Georgia wants to go to Georgia Sorry Guys you just not all that.I wont name any name the so call big name players that go there and become small name players. Um I wonder why. Some 5 star players really are but most (80%) are just good camp performers. Work on you recruiting are get use to it. UK is for sure getting a better running back than UGA in 2010. Check it out.


November 24th, 2009
6:31 am


November 24th, 2009
6:33 am

has anyone read “The Curse of the Track People”? I am beginning to believe it. Think about it.


November 24th, 2009
6:38 am

Well UGA look at you with your tail between your legs,just admit you were in a CAT FIGHT and LOST. PLEASE no more excuses.


November 24th, 2009
8:15 am

Richt has a house in Hartwell Lake… Tell him to get over to the High School instead of relaxing on the dock. This is twice now Hart county boys have come to Athens and burned Uga(Ben Leard,Sam Maxwell and Shane McCord). Congrats to Shane and Sam!

R.W. Gweed

November 24th, 2009
11:57 am

Is Richt really going from the football field to the mission field as some have speculated? It seems like his mind is on other things besides football. This season has been like the movie “Groundhog Day.” We just keep playing the same way each week and repeating the same mistakes. If it’s a blessing to go to the Independence Bowl, then let’s stay home and give that blessing to someone else.


November 24th, 2009
2:53 pm

all this going back and forth, come on boys. Georgia lost to Kentucky because Georgia turned the ball over 4 times, including on the goal line. Most of those had nothing to do with UK’s defensive prowess, but the Dawgs total inept play. UK “wanted” the game more than Georgia. Joe Cox went brain dead and the team checked out early, the coaching staff stood around dumbfounded. Congrats Kentucky, you took advantage of the mistakes and converted. UK deserved to win. Don’t celebrate too much, Tenn will beat you by 14.

GO Big Blue

November 24th, 2009
3:05 pm

It’s funny listening to Georgia fans and Tennessee fans talk about how Kentucky isn’t that good. Their football fans sound exactly like our basketball fans. You’ve got the realistic fans and you’ve got the delusional fans that think they are better than everybody all the time. I can feel for you guys. Our basketball program is finally coming out of one of the worst landslides of all time. But it doesn’t matter what program you are every team has up and down years. In football, Kentucky has to fight harder, recruit harder and play crisp clean football in order to upset teams in the SEC. So don’t even try and say that you guys gave the game away. The Georgia players came out flat the second half thinking they had it in the bag and Kentucky fought back tough and pressured and I’d even say spooked the Georgia players or at least your Quarterback into making mistake after mistake after mistake. Sometimes the ball bounces your way in games and sometimes it doesn’t but what separates the winners from the losers is what a team does with those opportunites. Do you throw it away or fumble it (Georgia) or do you take charge and capitalize on it (Kentucky). There have been plenty of games in the past when Kentucky was given an opportunity to win and just threw the ball away and allowed another team that opportunity. Going back to basketball Georgia was absolutely horrible last year in the SEC yet you found a way to beat Kentucky. By many standards our fans would say that we beat ourselves but when it comes down to it Georia players had nothing to lose and just wanted it more and there defense forced Kentucky into making stupid errors. Anyway, Brooks has built a program at Kentucky that will just keep getting better and better. We may never be a Alabama or Florida in football but you can expect more upsets and losing streaks to be broken over the next few years.


November 24th, 2009
10:58 pm

Hey Frank that’s what Football is all about. If you win the turnover game you usually win the game.