The Kentucky Wildcats potentially salvaged their season with a win over Arkansas last week. Sitting at 3-3 with 4-5 potential wins left on the schedule, a bowl game is still attainable, and the outstanding 2020 recruiting class is still intact.
But to keep momentum going in the right direction, the Wildcats will need to bring their A game to Athens this weekend when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs.
Lynn Bowden carried the load last week, rushing for nearly 200 yards from the quarterback position and doing everything Kentucky needed him to do to pick up the win over the flailing Razorbacks.
But now the word on the street is that Sawyer Smith is close to 100% and is ready to go. When healthy, he has looked like the signal-caller Kentucky needs him to be. But will he be taking snaps this week against the Bulldogs?
Georgia is coming off of a horrible loss to South Carolina. With playoff aspirations and an SEC championship in their sites, the Bulldogs had a letdown at home against the Gamecocks, who spent time during the game being led by their third string quarterback. You can bet on the Bulldogs coming out and firing on all cylinders with fire in their bellies on Saturday.
Led by junior quarterback Jake Fromm, Georgia was one Tua Tagovailoa miracle away from winning a national championship two seasons ago, and they were a Jalen Hurts comeback away from winning the SEC and making the College Football Playoff last year.
Touted as a potential first-round NFL Draft pick coming into the season, Fromm has 1,371 yards passing and nine touchdowns on the season, and he has completed 70.4% of his pass attempts.
Running back D’Andre Swift, who torched Kentucky for 156 rushing yards and two touchdowns a year ago, leads the Bulldogs with 573 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. He is joined in the backfield by Brian Herrien and Zamir White, who have four and two touchdowns, respectively. This three-headed monster creates quite a formidable rushing attack.
It certainly helps that they’re playing behind a Georgia offensive line that returns four of five starters from last year, including All-American and potential top-10 pick Andrew Thomas at left tackle, as well as and Freshman All-American Isaiah Wilson at right tackle.
This will be the Bulldogs’ annual homecoming game. Since 1922, Georgia is 77-18-2 in homecoming contests. In addition, Georgia leads the Kentucky series 58-12-2 and is on a nine-game winning streak. Kentucky’s last win in the Georgia series came in 2009 in Athens, and the Cats have yet to beat the Dawgs this decade.
Cager, who is a grad transfer from Miami, has had a touchdown in three of the last four games and has 14 catches for 188 yards in his last three games. However, he went out in the second half of the South Carolina game with a rib cage injury and is uncertain to play this week.
On top of that, nobody has scored more than 20 points on Georgia’s defense this season, and that was during last week’s double-overtime loss. Georgia leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 12.3 points/game. The Bulldogs have allowed just 74 points in 2019. This group does not give up points, let alone yardage, so Kentucky is going to have a hard time moving the ball against this unit.
Some believe that Kentucky may play both Smith and Bowden at quarterback during the game to try and catch the defense off guard. But based on how they have looked throughout the season, I am unfortunately not sure that will make much of a difference.
The Wildcats certainly have an uphill battle to fight on Saturday. Georgia will be coming in with something to prove, and the Wildcats are just now healing up enough to put their best players on the field.
Will Kentucky have a chance at handing Georgia their second consecutive loss? Or will the Wildcats be hoping and praying that they make it out of Athens with enough players to suit up against Missouri next week?