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College Football Preview: Kentucky vs. Georgia

Georgia is playing their best football of the season. UK played their only good football of the season in the fourth quarter against an absolutely horrid Ole Miss squad.

The Bulldogs are coming off of a 45-7 dismantling of the defending NCAA Champs, Auburn, and have won eight strait after losing their first two games to start the season. They did avoid playing the two powerhouses in the West Division in LSU and Alabama, but have taken advantage and with a win over UK will clinch a spot in the SEC Championship against LSU. It will mark their first appearance in the conference championship since 2005. A loss to the Wildcats and South Carolina goes to the ‘ship, courtesy of their 45-42 win over the ‘Dawgs in the second week of the season.

So, Georgia has a lot to play for against a struggling UK squad. A letdown is not likely. If things continue as they have, things could get ugly really quick for Joker Phillips and the Wildcats.

After giving up 80 points in their first two games, both losses (Boise State, 35-21; South Carolina, 45-42), the Bulldogs have given up just 106 points in their last eight games, which equates to just over 13 points a game allowed. Not good news for a UK offense that had 49 yards in the first half last week at Vandy. It is going to be tough sledding for Max Smith and the boys.

Defensively, this squad is exceptional at forcing turnovers. They have nine more takeaways than their opponents through 10 games and their +9 turnover margin ranks second in the SEC, ninth nationally and is one of the main reasons they are knocking on the door of the SEC Championship.

The Georgia offense is led by sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray (6-1, 211). Murray started a freshman last year and is not in the midst of a sophomore slump. He has thrown for 2,284 yards this season and completed over 61-percent of his passes, while throwing 27 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He is not a true threat to run, but likes getting outside of the pocket and then has the ability to tuck it when the opportunity presents itself.

Murray lacks the size of a true pocket passer but understands positioning within the pocket and is very aware. He has excellent feet and knows how to slide to open throwing lanes. He is a great decision maker and has very good arm strength and nice touch. He is really dangerous when he gets on the edge because he can see the entire field.

Point blank, Murray is a winner and knows how to lead this football team. It will be extremely tough for the Kentucky defense to keep him in check.

Their running back is a stud freshman in Isaiah Crowell (5-11,215). Crowell is on pace to rush for over 1,000 yards this season, with 821 already. He is averaging nearly five yards a carry and has five touchdowns on the year. Still, at times you can tell that Crowell is a freshman. He sometimes lacks the toughness, both mental and physical, to live up to his tremendous potential. Throughout the season, he has tired out late in the fourth quarter and often comes off of the field with injuries. Once he realizes these are both just a part of the game, watch out.

Georgia’s defense is good. UK’s offense is not. Georgia’s offense is good. UK’s defense is on the field way too much. I hate to say it, but it will almost take a miracle for Kentucky to win it. Most prognosticators are predicting a 20+ point victory for the Dawgs and to be honest, it could end up being a lot worse.


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