The Bulldogs looked the part on Saturday against Florida, defeating the Gators 36-17 in Jacksonville. The Georgia running game controlled the tempo, while the Bulldogs defense throttled the Gators passing game. Next up is No. 11 Kentucky in a clash that will likely decide the winner of the SEC East.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Stop Benny Snell
Beating Kentucky is really about that simple. Missouri had it done a week ago until inexplicably changing their defensive shape late and letting quarterback Terry Wilson look like Patrick Mahomes. Wilson is not a good passer, he is so ineffective that the Wildcats ran multiple quarterbacks against the Tigers. This offense is all about Snell.
Knowing it is coming is one thing. Stopping it is another entirely. Snell is 65 yards shy of 1,000 this year with nine touchdowns. This comes on the back of a 1,333 yard, 19 touchdown season in 2017. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider Snell has no quarterback to keep teams honest, so he is often facing nine in the box defensively.
The Georgia defensive line is good enough to shut Snell down. Doing so will take away any offensive productivity Kentucky has.
Don’t let Kentucky hang around
The Wildcats beat Missouri last time out because the Tigers couldn’t find a way to put them away. They slow the game down, making it ugly and a grind, and manage to hang around until they can steal the game with a flurry of plays late.
It is basically the rope-a-dope method of playing college football.
Countering this is easy to say, but hard to do. If Georgia can put some space between themselves and the Wildcats on the scoreboard – we are talking three touchdowns at a minimum here – then they should be fine. Anything less than that and Kentucky will still be playing to win late on in the contest.
Jake Fromm has to be good
The Kentucky defense is playing at an all-world level. In the second half against a Mizzou team that can move the ball on anyone, the Wildcats allowed exactly zero first downs as they gave their offense a chance to get going.
For Georgia to win, Fromm has to be much more like he was against Florida than in the nightmare against LSU.
Fromm looked comfortable and controlled against Florida as he passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He has completed at least 70% of his passes in all but two games this season, with the LSU contest (47% completions, one touchdown, two interceptions) being by far his worst outing.
The Kentucky defense ranks in the top 15 nationally against the pass and they will be coming after Fromm to try to know the Georgia quarterback out of his rhythm. The key for Fromm will be to avoid the killer mistakes, trusting that his offense will have too much for Kentucky over the course of 60 minutes.