Bus rolls on. The Bulldogs (8-2, 6-1 SEC) arrive at Saturday’s game against Kentucky (4-6, 1-5) having won eight straight games since dropping their first two to No. 5 Boise State and No. 10 South Carolina. The winning streak has been made possible, coaches and players say, by the team adhering to the its credo this season, “Get on the Bus,” as in “get on or get off because we’re rolling on.” That attitude has put Georgia in position to clinch the SEC East title and championship game berth with a victory.
Senior Day. Twenty-four players and four student managers/assistants will be recognized in Senior Day ceremonies before Saturday’s game. Among the seniors that will be playing their last games between the hedges are six starters: offensive linemen Justin Anderson, Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones; fullback Bruce Figgins; defensive end DeAngelo Tyson; and cornerback/kick returner Brandon Boykin. They’re 32-17 over the past four seasons.
Mark Richt’s milestones. By all accounts, a victory today will go a long way toward assuring that Mark Richt will continue as Georgia’s head coach past this season. Richt has just two years remaining on his contract after this season and was not extended coming off his first losing season last year (6-7). A win today would give him his fifth shared or outright SEC East title in 11 seasons and fourth championship game appearance. As East champs, UGA almost certainly will extend Richt’s deal after the season. With 105 wins in 141 games, he would remain third in winning percentage (.745) among active FBS coaches with more than 100 games experience, behind Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and TCU’s Gary Patterson.
A Georgia win would . . .
Clinch its first SEC Championship Game berth since 2005
Be the 33rd for the Bulldogs’ senior class.
A Kentucky win would . . .
Be its third in last six games vs. Georgia and second in row in Athens
Keep an eye on …
For Georgia: Brandon Boykin. The senior cornerback from Fayetteville will be starting his 35th game for the Bulldogs – tops among defensive players – while also returning kickoffs, punts and taking occasional snaps on offense as a running back or receiver. He already owns the school record with 2,469 yards in kickoff returns and, with 30 yards on Saturday, will move to second all-time in the SEC. He needs 250 yards to run down Florida’s Brandon James as the league’s best ever.
For Kentucky: CoShik Williams. The 5-foot-9, 178 pound junior tailback from Hiram has provided a spark in the Wildcats’ running game after a pair of fellow Georgians – Josh Clemons and Raymond Sanders – went down with injuries. In the past four games Williams has averaged 86.3 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns.
The numbers game
Georgia’s national ranking in total defense
Wins in a row should Dogs beat Kentucky, most during one season since going 11-0 in 1982.
TD passes so far this season by QB Aaron Murray, a school record
Yards TB Isaiah Crowell needs to become the 12th UGA player to rush for 1,000 yards and only true freshman other than Herschel Walker.
The history book
Series record: Georgia leads 50-12-2, including 24-4-2 at Sanford Stadium
The last time: On Oct. 23, 2010, in Lexington, Ky., Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey set a school record with five rushing touchdowns and Brandon Boykin added a 100-yard kickoff return as the Bulldogs overwhelmed Kentucky 44-31 in Commonwealth Stadium.
The bottom line
A 30.5-point favorite, Georgia (8-2, 6-1 SEC) should win easily to clinch its fifth SEC Eastern Division title under head coach Mark Richt and earn its first berth in the league championship game since 2005. The Wildcats (4-6, 1-5) rank 109th or worse nationally in six statistical categories and are coming off a 38-8 loss to Vanderbilt while the Bulldogs are among the top 10 in five different categories. Expect a big day for quarterback Aaron Murray and the Georgia defense.
– Chip Towers