UPDATED: Georgia struggles vs. Kentucky, but win sets up monumental matchup with Florida

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Florida did its part by taking down South Carolina on Saturday. Georgia followed suit by beating Kentucky, though it didn’t go down like anyone predicted.

Nearly a four-touchdown favorite, the No. 11-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) found themselves in a street fight with the 1-7 Wildcats. Georgia finally eked out a 29-24 victory, but there was hardly a wild celebration in postgame locker room. Even the tone of the ever-optimistic Mark Richt seemed indifferent and weary.

“You know what, I’m happy with the victory,” Richt said somewhat unconvincingly. “We’re what, 6-1? That’s not bad.”

It’s good enough to set up at SEC Eastern Division showdown next Saturday in Jacksonville. After Saturday’s disparate results — the No. 2-ranked Gators (7-0, 6-0 SEC) thumped No. 7 South Carolina 44-11 in Gainesville — not many will give Georgia a chance in their annual rivalry game next to the St. Johns River. Still, a win over what will be a favored Florida team will put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat to repeat as SEC champions.

“That’s why you play on Saturdays,” Richt said.

Kentucky was certainly saying that Saturday. Georgia needed a record-setting night from quarterback Aaron Murray, a roughing-the-kicker penalty and an a hotly-contested onsides kick recovery to settle Saturday’s score. The victory wasn’t finalized until the Bulldogs stopped Kentucky’s final pass for a 13-yard gain at the Wildcats’ 30-yard line as time expired.

Aaron Murray’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Lynch – it was his fourth on a record-setting night — made it 29-17 with 7:51 to play, the first time the Bulldogs had been ahead by more than a touchdown all night. Ultimately, that play gave Georgia the cushion it needed to get back to Athens with the victory.

Murray finished with a career-best 427 yards on 30-of-38 passing and now holds the school record for career touchdown passes with 75. David Greene (2001-04) had the previous record with 72.

“I’m not a record guy,” said Murray, who also set the school mark for completion percentage with 30 or more receptions (78.95). “I just want victories. I want championships. That put us another step closer toward achieving those goals. We just have to go out there and keep competing and winning games.”

Said Richt: “A lot of things have to go well to throw the ball like that. You’ve got to be able to protect, to run good routes, to put the ball on the money and catch it. And you have to have a good idea what you’re doing. You have to have some scheme involved in there. I thought everything came together well.”

Murray completed the majority of his passes to wideouts Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell, who finished with nine receptions apiece. King had 188 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 66-yarder. Mitchell had 103 yards. Marlon Brown dropped what would have been a sure-fire touchdown from 52 yards out in the second quarter.

Despite their struggles running the ball — they managed only 77 yards on 32 attempts — the Bulldogs’ claim their ability to throw the ball gives the offense confidence heading into Saturday’s game against the defensive-minded Gators.

“I think so,” King said. “I think those big guys, our O-L, will take pride in protecting No. 11 and let him get it down field to his boys.”

Florida’s offense might be licking its chops after getting a close look at Georgia’s defense, which continued to give up yardage in huge chunks to the previous hapless Cats. Kentucky, which came into the game 13th in the 14-team SEC in total offense, gained 329 yards, 198 of it in the first half . The Wildcats converted 4-of-7 third downs in the first half, all on runs, and finished 6-of-14.

“hey ran the ball on third-and-10 or so a lot and we let them run for first downs,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We need to stop that in the zone that we have if we play physical. Obviously we’re going to address that. I didn’t think we played the third-down runs well and we need to clean that up.”

The game was still in the balance when Georgia’s Connor Norman recovered on onsides kick attempt by Kentucky with 3:59 to play to thwart the final upset attempt. It was a bang-bang p[lay as Kentucky’s kicker Joe Mansour hesitated to pounce on the ball as it slowly rolled 10 yards. Norman dove in under Mansour, a LaGrange native, just as he went down.

“Connor was heads up to go in there and snatch it and convince the refs it was his,” Richt said.

The Bulldogs were able to knock out three first downs after that and ended its possession at the Kentucky 16 when tight end dropped what would have been a first-down catch at the Wildcats 1.

Kentucky had time only to get off one desperation pass, which it completed to no avail at its own 30. The plan was for some sort of hook-and-lateral, but Georgia’s Shawn Williams was on Kentucky’s La’Rod King too fast and wrapped him up before King could get rid of it.

“Well, I don’t live in ‘almost,’” said Kentucky coach Joke Phillips, who drops to 12-21 as the Wildcats’ coach. “At the end of the year, we don’t say we almost win. The records say wins and losses. This was a loss.”

555 comments Add your comment

Ward

October 20th, 2012
10:49 pm

Can we please fire the entire staff?

Frank Lane

October 20th, 2012
10:49 pm

Very disappointing performance for the defense. Do not know what is wrong.

sam

October 20th, 2012
10:50 pm

I’ll take the win but the D needs to get its act together. i’m not sure if its coaching or attitude but they have got to learn to defend the run.

Ward

October 20th, 2012
10:51 pm

I hate having as much passion as I do about this team, when they (and the coaching staff) are clearly apathetic and unconcerned with how they play…passionless… Their effort this year is an embarrassment to the university.

sam

October 20th, 2012
10:52 pm

couldn’t tell, and the announcers never circled back to it but was the penalty on the fake punt really a penalty?

Dynomite

October 20th, 2012
10:52 pm

Man I don’t even want to watch next Saturdays game. We are gonna get an old fashioned a$$ whipppppppppppin’.

cugas

October 20th, 2012
10:52 pm

The problem… our defensive players CANNOT get off a block. Ogletree is only good in space. AND I saw a lot of tackles where our guys either bump tackle or throw their butt/back into people…pitiful.

Donald Trump

October 20th, 2012
10:53 pm

You’re Fired!

cugas

October 20th, 2012
10:54 pm

Mark Richt needs to start faking some enthusiasm, just to make me happy. My wife does and it works.

ATinSAV

October 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

This defense has definately checked out. they are soft and play uninspired football. They have quit on Grantham. Next week should be reminiscent of the SC game. No offensive line, no defensive line, we will get pushed around all day long.

cugas

October 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

there was no penalty on the fake punt unless it was the snapper moving the ball.

t2go

October 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

Ward

October 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

There was no emotion on defense… Malcom Mitchell jumps around like a clown too much… Theus needed to be redshirted because that kid gets abused almost every play… How can we get rid of Grantham? McGarity should be fired if he won’t make changes.

Disgusted Dawg

October 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

Please, for the love of all thuings good, fire the whole pathetic coaching staff. Another embarassment. We were an onside kick away from losing to the worst team in the SEC. I live in Florida. I’m hiding next weekend.

Doesn't matter

October 20th, 2012
10:56 pm

Awful defense no tackling and what ever happened to tackles for loss… everyone is trying to strip the balk for that big play .. not counting dawgs out next week but gators playing extremely well in all phases of the game..

Brian

October 20th, 2012
10:57 pm

I am not looking forward to this week…GA is simply a bad football team. I love GA, but 3rd and long Bobo combined with 3rd and long Grantham, we are simply going to be destroyed. Start prayin for Jarvis now…everyone!

joe

October 20th, 2012
10:58 pm

This is disgusting get rid of this staff now mcgarity my money stops until you do this was BS plain and simple

Wait till next year?

October 20th, 2012
10:58 pm

Aaron Murray reminds me of Phillip Rivers, great stats, but can’t take it to the next level. Guess that’s okay since Mark Richt is the Norv Turner of college ball.

cugas

October 20th, 2012
10:59 pm

Jarvis is overrated….just like everybody else on this team and coaching staff. Against weaker talent, we win because we have better athletes….against the same talent, our coaching staff gets exposed.

t2go

October 20th, 2012
11:00 pm

Mark Richts face going into the locker room at halftime says it all! Do you think Saban or Spurrier or Muschamp would be grinning ear to ear after eaking out a field goal to go up on your opponent you should be destroying?! Actually Muschamp was mad as hell at his team…AND THEY WERE DOMINATING!!! Mark Richt doesnt have what it takes…plain and simple! I will be expecting a total beat down next weekend……and perhaps a bowl loss….I am sad for my Bulldogs!

Hairy Dawg

October 20th, 2012
11:01 pm

The bad fans is goning hate it when Coach Richt unloads the whooping can on Judas Muschump.

Next wwek Dawgs when big. Dawgs is rested and had off week to perp for Gaytors. Gaytors is tired out from LUSer and choking chicken games. Advantage Dawgs. We owns East and make Gaytors pay in Jax.

Go Dawgs! Sick Em!

Concerned

October 20th, 2012
11:01 pm

I’m nervous about this Defense. Something is wrong, players are out of position often, tackling is not nearly as strong as last year, and gaps are everywhere for opposing backs. They need to focus on hitting and maintaining their gaps!!

Florida is going to destroy GA next week if our defense is this porous!

cugas

October 20th, 2012
11:01 pm

Murray is fantastic JV quarterback, but when he plays on the varsity squad (SC, UF, etc) he just can’t handle it.

Lowcountry Dawg

October 20th, 2012
11:02 pm

Tonite, Georgia won on pure talent. Which is how they have won the games they have won the last several years. When a gameplan needs coaching, effort and toughness-we lose everytime. The only way Georgia wins next weekend is if Florida turns the ball over. We have so much talent and experience this year-and very few injuries-not like 2008-when we did have more than our share. This season has really exposed glaring weaknesses in our coaching staff unlike any other.

joe

October 20th, 2012
11:02 pm

I hope this bunch of losers get blown out in jax maybe it will fof the ad to grow a pair and do something to get this program back on track defense has quit on Grantham and uga Al they think about is NFL wish they had left last year tired of this s++++

DAWG with two bags over head

October 20th, 2012
11:02 pm

Unprepared and outcoached as usual. Why do we continue to put up with this crap? Going to get killed next week, but Howdy Doody McGarity doesn’t care one bit. Coaches are all LOSERS!

cugas

October 20th, 2012
11:03 pm

Was terence edwards playing for us tonight? I saw a ton of dropped passes.

bamadawg

October 20th, 2012
11:04 pm

I don’t blog but I will say this: PITIFUL, Is anybody going to do anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hairy Dawg

October 20th, 2012
11:04 pm

week
win
prep

GTSux

October 20th, 2012
11:04 pm

Agreed. Theus either holds, gets beat, or commits a penalty every play.
If we can’t shut down Kentucky, who can we shut down? Florida is gonna run
for 400 yards and rack up 50 points. Same old story! Grantham either can’t coach or
can’t motivate.

Danny

October 20th, 2012
11:04 pm

Sigh…..6 and 1 and I feel like we have no wins at all….no passion at all.

RMikel58

October 20th, 2012
11:05 pm

Sloppy a-s-s win! Not one Bulldog showed up and they had 2 weeks to prepare for it.
Worst 6-1 team in America, Over ranked to say the least. Say what you want to say PATHETIC.
Who in the world prepares these guys?
Its not Bobo, God i wish it was because its expected, its Grantham causing these issues. We cant stop anybody and for some freaky reason its always that the QB , RB or someone has a career game.
This is embarrasing, unacceptable and not tolerated. Another UGLY WIN. Again and again, time after time they stink.
If they have problems from Kentucky, just imagine Auburn or Ga. Tech little long Florida has a good chance beating us.
They could easily be 4-3 but got lucky. This is a JOKE people. Quit making excuses after every game and quit saying that winning is all that matters.
There are some serious issues and its the middle of the season.
Wow i just cant believe this is even a Bulldog Team.

Dude84

October 20th, 2012
11:05 pm

LOL at the Congratulations Dawgs and Hairy Dawgs!!! You are the ABSOLUTE WORST UGA fans in history!!! You are the reason UGA is stuck in mediocrity!!! Mark Richt is 1-12 vs ranked teams since 2009!!! Aaron Murray is 0-10 in big games as a UGA QB… He FAILS everytime, and ‘fans” like yourselves give him a pass, as teams like Alabama and Florida DOMINATE weaker teams on a regular basis, and even good teams like South Carolina today. Mark Richt has not won a meaningful game since 2005 when we beat LSU… thats 6 years of LOSING EVERY BIG GAME, Alabama in 2008, Boise State last year, South Carolina last year, LSU last year, Michigan State last year, South Carolina this year, etc etc etc…then we have to BARELY beat the weak teams in the SEC… Vandy last year, Kentucky last year, Tenessee this year, Kentucky this year….ALL while having top 5 talent. This is because BOBO, GRANTHAM, and ESPECIALLY RICHT are the WORST COACHING STAFF IN THE SEC, and maybe they are 70th or 80th best in the country!!! Real UGA fans know this and are not delusional….

FIRE RICHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FIRE RICHT NOW!

slydog

October 20th, 2012
11:05 pm

why is everyone so upset and in need of venting when you already know what to expect from a team playing under Mark Richt? It does not matter whether they win or lose. That is the attitude of the coach and therefore the team. Get over it. He isn’t going anywhere as long as Georgia continues to sell out and win 8-10 games a year. If you want a championship, then follow all of the other teams.

Dawgboy

October 20th, 2012
11:06 pm

4 SEC teams now have superior coaching to UGA (maybe more). That is not going to change anytime soon. We had a chance to get UGA alum Muschamp after our 6-7 season, but didn’t do it. The blogs in Alabama say UGA alum Kirby Smart is now ready for a head coaching job after this season. This will be our last chance to get him.

joe

October 20th, 2012
11:06 pm

Hairy Dawg the only way this bunch of losers win in jax is if Fla doesnt show up Fla 52 uga 10

wins-by-a-link

October 20th, 2012
11:07 pm

Worst defense in SEC, Only saved by passing game, No rushing to speak of, Also may be worst coaching staff in the SEC, Fla will run all over this team, Talk of playing in the Dome for SEC tittle is foolish.

James K Polk

October 20th, 2012
11:07 pm

We can thank our loser alumns/fans for this. Richt should have been gone after 2010. We will never be anything more than we are right now because our alumns/fans do not demand it. Bama, Florida, and LSU would have fired this clown a long time ago. Then again, those fan bases demand excellence, ours does not. It’s sad, really. We are capable of so much more.

Ward

October 20th, 2012
11:07 pm

As an alumni and it hurts so bad to see this program fall like it has over the past few years… It is a program of cowards, which starts at the stop with Greg McGarity not having the strength to make a decision that should have been made 2 years ago. Instead, we have the most over paid coaches in history. The entire staff needs to be dismissed and we need fresh blood no matter the cost. Aaron Murray needs to go… I don’t care if he breaks ever record in UGA history; he will never be someone the fan base cares about. He is not a winner or someone that can lead any team to the promise land. I am over it and the University will not get one more dollar from me until they make a change at the top of the program. I am going to encourage all of my fellow alumni to do the same…We cannot vote Richt out, but we can vote with our dollars and I implore you all not to use any of your dollars to support a program that will not give us what we ask for and deserve: HOPE! As long as Mark Richt and his band of dwarfs are here we will have no HOPE. I cannot keep the faith expecting good things to come down the road; I have been fooled too much over the past few years. UGA has become a C-USA program. We don’t even look good playing against teams less than us (Kentucky or Buffalo or FAU), and when it comes to teams like Bama, LSU, South Carolina we see how mediocre we truly are now days…It is an embarrassment to this state, much the same as Tech is to the state… at least they don’t have talent. I know some will say that we will still we 10 games this year (and we may well do that), but we will lose to USC & UF in the only two games versus real teams all year… Most likely we will lose our bowl game too and I am afraid that people will feel like that is good enough to keep the coaches… Well, I am here to say it is not. I do not care that Mark Richt is a good Christian man. So am I, and if I don’t do my job well I would still get fired. Being a good man doesn’t make you a good coach…Just look at all the arrest and suspensions! Being a Christian means that you have salvation; it doesn’t mean that you become good at all you do, nor does it qualify you to do things that you really cannot do well. The results should speak for themselves and as far as I am concerned they do not meet where we should be as a program.

cugas

October 20th, 2012
11:07 pm

We continue to play the most talented players and NOT the best players. All the prima donnas know their position is safe, because the coaches won’t bench them.

JRW7

October 20th, 2012
11:08 pm

DAWGS won, but there’s about this defense that’s just not right, gives up way too many yards and points, we have to play better on defense to beat the Gators!

NCDawgFan

October 20th, 2012
11:09 pm

What I want to know is what happened to the #5 defense in the country from last year? Same coach. Same scheme. Ten starters back. What I see out there is uninspired effort, usually out of position, getting pushed around by the worst team in the SEC. If they don’t bring even greater passion than we saw in the Vandy game, next weel will make the SC game seem like a mercy killing. Our defense is very difficult to watch without actually throwing something at the television. Sad.

Limeydawg

October 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

Yeah…um…at least we’re as good as Kentucky…in football.

If Will Muschamp has any soul, he won’t beat us by more than six touchdowns next week (out of mercy).
Could somebody help me out? Does the “G” stand for “gutless”, “gives up”, or “just good enough to beat Kentucky?”
On a brighter note, Mark Richt appears to be a miracle worker. Hallelujah!! He’s turned a bulldog into the golden retriever of college football. Warm, cuddly, and no real threat to the big dogs in a fight.
Thanks, Mark.
Thanks alot.

Jacob

October 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

I don’t think you can truly call yourself a fan of the Bulldogs if you hope we a) lose or b) get blown out. I mean, seriously?

Hairy Dawg

October 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

We sandbags tonight to setup Gaytors. Now we surprise them in Jax with a beating down.

Go Dawgs!

Just Asking?

October 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

Where was Grantham’s vaunted Defense tonight against Kentucky’s running attack? I didn’t see it..

slydog

October 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

How many tackles did Alec Ogletree miss today?…lol

Ward

October 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

Everyone here should write an email to President Adams and Greg McGarity tonight to demand change… I have already sent one to each. If you are ready to compete for titles the way we should, then join me in doing whatever it takes to get a change… Even one among you say Richt is a good man, then tell me why that good man keeps having players getting arrested and playing without passion.

t2go

October 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

THis is what they had after a bye week?! There is something seriously wrong with Georgia Football!! I have been calling for Richt to be fired for years..then I came off it because I was sick of being so negative. But this program is going nowhere with him. He is a zombie and a goof! GO AWAY PLEASE!!!!

Dude84

October 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

Mark Richt 1-18 vs ranked teams since 2006!!!! Barely squeeks by the WORST team in the SEC tonight in a HUGE prep for Florida!!! After getting blown out 35-7 by SC THIS IS HOW WE RESPOND!!!! WE Cant beat a ranked team to save our lives, then we barely squeek by the Vandy’s and Kentucky’s and Ole Miss’s of the world, LOSE to the 2 or 3 RANKED , GOOD teams we play and go 10-2 or 10-3 EVERY year and these FEW, STUPID UGA fans CONTINUE to defend this MEDIOCRITY….FORTUNATELY McGarity STRIVES for CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! So Richt will be gone next year, as well as Grantham and BOBO!!!! THANK GOD!!!! HALELUJAH!!!!!! These are the worst college coaches in the SEC…..TOP 5 TALENT and undercoached in EVERY GAME!!!!

THANK YOU JESUS THAT RICHT WILL BE GONE NEXT YEAR!!!!! The only question left is if somebody is going to egg Mark Richt’s house tonight, like Aaron Murray’s house last week…