Georgia-Kentucky preview: Dogs seek first road win

(Note: Please join the conversation during the game on Mark Bradley’s live blog.)

The Georgia-Kentucky game (7:30 p.m. Saturday) at a glance:

3 storylines

  • 1. Has Georgia’s season really turned? A season that appeared doomed when Georgia lost its first three SEC games was infused with new possibilities when South Carolina lost to Kentucky and Florida lost to Mississippi State last week. Suddenly, Georgia (3-4, 2-3 SEC) was tied with Florida for second place in the SEC East, just ½ game behind South Carolina. Winning the division remains a longshot for Georgia, especially with South Carolina holding a tiebreaker advantage, but the dream will gain steam if the Bulldogs win at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3) Saturday night.
  • 2. Seeking season’s first road victory. Georgia is 0-3 on the road this season and 3-5 since the start of last season -– a stark contrast to the Bulldogs’ 30-4 record on the road in Mark Richt’s first eight seasons as coach. (Note: Neutral-site games, such as the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville, are not included in “road” records.) The Bulldogs have won back-to-back SEC games at home but need to validate those victories with a breakthrough on the road at night at Kentucky.
  • 3. A big test for Todd Grantham’s defense. Georgia has moved up to No. 3 in the SEC in total defense after strong performances against Tennessee and Vanderbilt the past two weeks. Kentucky, though, will pose the toughest test for the Dogs’ defense since Ryan Mallett and Arkansas. The Wildcats have myriad playmakers on offense, starting with the versatile and dangerous Randall Cobb (33 career touchdowns as a rusher, receiver and returner). Then there’s quarterback Mike Hartline, the SEC’s No. 2 passer (1,791 yards). And there’s 6-foot-5 wide receiver Chris Matthews, who leads the SEC in touchdown receptions (six). The Wildcats will be missing one offensive weapon: Tailback Derrick Locke, the SEC’s third leading rusher, won’t play because of a shoulder stinger, Kentucky says.

A Georgia win would …

  • Even the Bulldogs’ overall and SEC records at 4-4 and 3-3, respectively.
  • Give the Bulldogs three consecutive SEC victories for the first time since October 2008.

A Kentucky win would …

  • Be the Wildcats’ third victory in five years against Georgia, which lost to Kentucky in Athens last year and in Lexington in 2006.
  • Make for a happy homecoming night in Lexington. (Yes, Georgia is Kentucky’s homecoming opponent.)

Keep an eye on …

  • For Kentucky: Randall Cobb is one of the more versatile players in college football -– a threat running, catching, throwing and returning the ball. The Georgia defense’s first task is to know where he is on the field. He might be at wide receiver, or he might be taking shotgun snaps from center in the Wildcat -– Kentucky calls it the “WildCobb” -– formation. In addition, he returns punts and kickoffs and is the holder for extra points and field goals. His 33 touchdowns in 2 ½ seasons at Kentucky are divided among rushing (20), receiving (11) and punt returns (2). He also has thrown five TD passes, including one on a fake field goal.
  • For Georgia: Tailback Washaun Ealey had a big game (123 yards rushing, no fumbles) against Vanderbilt in his return to the starting lineup last week, and the Bulldogs need more of the same from him. Kentucky ranks next-to-last in the SEC in rushing defense, ahead of only … Vanderbilt.

The numbers game

  • +4: The turnover margin so far this season for both Georgia and Kentucky, which are tied for second in the SEC in that category behind Alabama (+7).
  • 13: Games since mid-season 2006 that Kentucky has come from behind in the fourth quarter to win –- an impressive indication of the Wildcats’ resilience.
  • 35.3: Average points per game scored by Kentucky this season, the most by any SEC team other than Auburn.

History book

  • Series record: Georgia leads 49-12-2, including 23-7 in Lexington.
  • Last meeting: Kentucky won 34-27 last season, the Wildcats’ first win in Athens since 1977, as the Bulldogs committed four second-half turnovers to squander a 20-6 halftime lead.

The bottom line

Kentucky is coming off a 31-28 victory over South Carolina, which one week earlier beat then-No. 1 Alabama 35-21 and five weeks earlier beat Georgia 17-6. Nevertheless, Georgia is favored by 3 ½.

Please join the conversation during the game on Mark Bradley’s live blog.

195 comments Add your comment

lanier

October 22nd, 2010
8:23 am

without Locke the Cats are cooked. Big Dawg will eat!

Helsing

October 22nd, 2010
8:27 am

Anyone know if you can you get this game on directTV?

Darrow

October 22nd, 2010
8:33 am

I’ve been out of town all week. What’s the arrest total in Athens this week?

Piney Woods Pete

October 22nd, 2010
8:35 am

Kentucky 37, Georgia 24.

Ouch, those hobnail boots hurt.

R. Haldeman

October 22nd, 2010
8:37 am

Attention, everyone, especially dawgtards. We will now observe a moment of silence in memory of Saint Jan Kemp, who exposed the shameful practices at UGA that were initiated and carried out by slimeball Vince Dooley. Dooley’s image as a coach and a nice guy were forever shattered during the trial, not to mention the one million dollars that dawgtards had to pay Saint Jan. These practices of recruiting morons and coddling them for four years, them tossing them out like garbage, are still going on, but at least the world knows what’s happening in Athens now.

And now, the moment of silence…
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Thank you, you may resume your normal activities now.

Double g

October 22nd, 2010
8:39 am

Game comes down to the wire Sat. night. UGA’s special teams makes the difference here.

82Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
8:41 am

@Darrow ….I hear they are looking for you, for stupid comments like that. Get back to the nerd site.

Gary

October 22nd, 2010
8:44 am

Could the Loosers at Tech please buy up all of their Michael Bolton Tickets so the AJC will stop showing his face on the slide down everytime I open a link. Gotta love Tech and their music choices. Maybe this is why people prefer Athens.

RFP

October 22nd, 2010
8:45 am

Haldeman – That garbage was from the 80’s, get some new material. Shouldn’t you be playing Humans vs Zombies or whatever you Tech nerds do these days?

McDawg

October 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

keys to win-IGNORE your first point

no big plays on the D and no turnovers on the O and i think we win handily

still need a breakout game from some interior linemen but i also think J. Houston dominates

Dave

October 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

It will be a war and a lot of points put up. We have GOT to keep an eye on Cobb, get to Hartline as fast as humanly possible and jam the receivers at the line to disrupt routes. I think our offense can score enough points, but the trick is whether our D has truly turned the corner. The looked fantastic against TN and Vandy, but this is a whole different animal. I hope the return of AJ makes as big a difference in this game as it has to date. Turn Murray loose and let him do what he does. This is not a time to go half stepping and try to protect Murray with keeping him in the pocket. Get first downs, move the chains and continue all the way down the field. Keep KY’s offense off the field and win the turnover battle. GO DAWGS!

collegeballfan

October 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

UGA should take this one, KY is 1-3 in the conference.

Dawg_Mike

October 22nd, 2010
9:14 am

@ Helsing:
Depends on where you are. If you are out of Comcast coverage area it’s likely you can purchase it on Directv Gameplan for $24, but there’s no guarantee it won’t be blacked out.
Do what I am going to do- go find a watering hole that has it….

Inlet Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
9:28 am

I loved Randall Cobb in Raising Arizona.

Rodster

October 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

The Wildcats are not going to be a push over. For UGA to win this game they’ll have to have more fortitude than they did against Colorado. I hope they prove they can win a close game.

Jack Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
9:37 am

After contacting ESPN Gameplan I was advised the game is available for $24.99

Mike

October 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

You can get the game on Direct TV with ESPN GAMEPLAN.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jack Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Mike for additional information you can also get the game through Dish network ESPN gameplan

timthebrave

October 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Directv question. Usually if the game is on CSS you can’t get the game on Directv in the Atlanta area. It will most likely be blacked out on the college game plan. Your best options are to roll on up to Lexington or find a local sports bar that has it….Go Dawgs!

Larry

October 22nd, 2010
9:42 am

If the Dogs beat KY they should be fired up for the Gaytors next week. If they lose to KY, they won’t show up in Jacksonville. Either way, they lose to Auburn.

timthebrave

October 22nd, 2010
9:44 am

Jack Dawg, They did the same thing to me 2 years ago…I had about 15 people over after ordering on ESPN Gameplan….Waited…waited….Called Directv and they told me it was probably blacked out after I had already ordered it and they said it was definitely available…..We all ended up at the local bar.

Not Blacked Out

October 22nd, 2010
9:59 am

The game is not blacked out locally. You can order the ESPN Gameplan package for DirecTV, DISH, or U-Verse, and you will be able to watch the game in Georgia. The TV agreement with the SEC prevents the blackout of SEC games on CSS.

http://www.secsports.com/NEWS/tabid/473/Article/134288/sec-television-faq.aspx

Dawgs win the east

October 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

PTC DAWG

October 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

DAWGS ROLL book it.

reebok

October 22nd, 2010
10:18 am

We don’t have CSS on U-verse and I am having he11’s own time figuring out if I am going to be able to purchase it on one of the PPV channels…I will check ESPN Gameplan…thx for the info, Not Blacked Out

20oz Bulldog

October 22nd, 2010
10:23 am

We are a national program and will win big.

Demand respect.

Andy

October 22nd, 2010
10:24 am

We need to run the ball and sustain long drives to keep their offense off the field, but, most importantly, NOT TURN THE BALL OVER!

DawginLex

October 22nd, 2010
10:27 am

UGA whipped UK last year up and down the field but the great equalizer-TURNOVERS, cost the game.

Murray can go for 300 yards in this game.
Ealey can get 100 yards in this game.

500 yards and 45 points is there for the taking.
The UK defensive line is not physical at all.

No turnovers and make them throw it by taking the cobb runs out of the game and this could be a blowout.

Turn the ball over and/or commit dumb penalties and it is Arena Bowl all over again just like 2008 up here.

Rico Suave

October 22nd, 2010
10:31 am

At least our quarterback doesn’t wish he were a Gator!!!!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=5709856

Oh, Cam Newton…. do you wear a Florida shirt under those Auburn pads??

Dawg26

October 22nd, 2010
10:31 am

Because he is….Big Bad Bruce…… Woof Woof Woof Dawgs have kittens for dinner!

South Ga Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
10:34 am

DAWGS ROLL INTO LEXINGTON AND HAND OUT A BEAT DOWN!!! DAWGS ON THE RISE!!!

Swamp Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
10:35 am

For anyone in the West Palm Beach area, the game is on comcast channel #32 (CSS) No HD, but better than nothing.

DIT

October 22nd, 2010
10:39 am

I agree that we need to be able to control the clock on offense. Need to have long drives that results in TD’s not field goals!! Keep Cobb off the field. Our O-Line needs to push them off the ball and our RB’s need to run for 200+ yards. Murray will have a good day. He has been the only player that has been consistantly good. Funny, your not hearing so many Murray jokes from the Nerd Herd because of his play. You know that Murray is licking his chops to get at techs defense!
Defense needs to create at least 2 turnovers. Hey, I’m not asking for much right? Should be a great game! Go Dawgs!

Will

October 22nd, 2010
10:52 am

Does anyone know what channel the game is on if you have Dish???

Mr. C. Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
10:57 am

The direct tv guide shows the game on channel 790.

Delbert D.

October 22nd, 2010
11:12 am

Locke won’t play? That’s bad news for the Wildcats and me. Looks like Georgia should win, and my desperation pick on Sack Shultz will be another flop.

WALLACE BUTZ

October 22nd, 2010
11:36 am

This will be last game for Caleb King.

Alphare

October 22nd, 2010
11:55 am

How time has changed, KY is a big game for dawgs now?

Buck Belue

October 22nd, 2010
12:07 pm

Ahh… listen to 680 the fan so I cant talk about UGA even thought they have no national relevance whatsoever

Buck Belue

October 22nd, 2010
12:07 pm

been drinkin early this morning

azdawg

October 22nd, 2010
12:13 pm

This game looms big not withstanding upcoming games vs AU and FL. GA will score enuf to win if the D plays well. It’s the first big test for the D since the CO game and the other losses where the D gave up big plays and chunks of yardage. We’ll see if the wins against TN and Vandy were truely the D playing great and finally getting a handle w/the new scheme or just poor play by the opposition.

KY is a good team and matches up well vs GA’s Def. If GA’s D can stop KY’s Offense they truely have arrived and who knows, maybe stop Cam Newton as well.

If the def reverts back to its old ways of giving up big plays and poor playing, tackling, etc., then its bust city and the rain clouds will form again and most likely a sub 500 season.

gbal

October 22nd, 2010
12:31 pm

My understanding is DISH Network subscribers will not be able to pick up the game?

ATLdawg, ya dig?

October 22nd, 2010
12:42 pm

“Neutral-site games, such as the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville…”

you lost me there.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

frank

October 22nd, 2010
1:09 pm

so if we have directv and the sports pack will we get to the see the game? if so what channel?>

Bill Campbell

October 22nd, 2010
1:12 pm

You Tech boys can watch the Tech/Clemson game on your portable tv’s in Piedmont Park this weekend!

dawgster

October 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Dish Customers…just spoke to Dish network customer service and was told that ht GA-Kentucky game is available thru ESPN gameplan for $24.00…they said to call 1-877-347-4778 and ask for the “one day” package only…the customer rep says to be sure you make that clear so you don’t get charged for the entire gameplan package..i also asked there was a chance it would be blacked out and she assured me it wasn’t because it was a pay per view…but i can only go on what she told me…i hope she was correct…good luck and go dawgs..

Pago Pago Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

Actually, it appears that this program has really sunk low when the UK game will determine the season. Sad…

dawgster

October 22nd, 2010
2:06 pm

Dish Network…game will be on channel 463…but you have to order game…1-877-347-4778..this is info i received from dish network customer service…

BirdDawg

October 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

Ouch…a conference game not available on TV?? Thanks a lot ESPN/SEC!