This is the most important game in Kentucky football since Bear Bryant was controlling the sidelines back in the late 40s and early 50s. The 7-1 Wildcats host the 7-1 Georgia Bulldogs in a game that will decide who wins the SEC East in 2018. Kentucky is a win – and then a couple of held serves against teams they should beat – away from a trip to Atlanta and the SEC title game.
By Steve Wright
Not only is this a game that Kentucky can win, it is a game that they should win if they approach it with the right attitude and game plan.
Here are five reasons that Kentucky will beat Georgia:
Snell is the one true offensive superstar on the Kentucky side of the ball. He has nine touchdowns in the 2018 and is about to go over 1,000 yards on the season, numbers that would be greatly improved if Kentucky had a consistent passing game to back him up and remove players from the box.
Snell is a workhorse back with enough pop to break big runs. He is a team player who doesn’t care if he is crashed into a defensive line 30 or 35 times a game. He also always falls forward, and his ability to coax first downs out of nothing will be important here.
The Kentucky D
The Kentucky defense is playing at a level that is almost unreal. They held Mizzou to zero first downs in the second half in a game they had to win, holding all the slack for an offense that wasn’t producing.
The run defense has been at another level, allowing less than 100 yards three times out of the last five games. The only team to run successfully on Kentucky this season was Texas A&M, and every team is allowed one outlier game.
The interesting part of this is that the Kentucky setup is basically the same as LSU, a team that beat Georgia 36-16 earlier this fall.
The team is clutch
Sometimes a team just has a weird mojo that you can’t put into words using stats and explanations. This Kentucky team has that aura, a kind of destiny feel that allows some unexplained things to happen that help propel Kentucky to a victory.
Last week against Mizzou was a perfect example of this.
The defense was amazing as previously stated, but in desperation time the Kentucky passing attack came alive and actually moved the ball successfully. There was no way that Kentucky should have won the game, yet they succeeded with a touchdown on an untimed down with time already expired.
You can’t score on Kentucky
Some defenses rank highly in all the statistical metrics but their play doesn’t translate into red zone domination. Kentucky is not like that. This is a team that is almost impossible to score on.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the country (along with Clemson) in scoring defense as they give up just 13 points per game. The Georgia offense is good – and it can be very good if Fromm is on his game – but the Kentucky defense will have no fear of an offense that hasn’t been scoring points as freely as it did last season.
Inside linebackers Kash Daniel and Jordan Jones will win the battle against a Georgia backfield that is led by Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. This will force passing situations for Georgia that Kentucky can capitalize on with its pass rush.
Kentucky is actually that good
Eventually it will become obvious that Kentucky is a really good (albeit limited) football team.
Florida, Mississippi State, and Missouri were all supposed to be the teams that exposed Kentucky as frauds, moving the ball at will and sending the Wildcats back to the bottom of the pile in the SEC East. Instead, those teams scored 16, seven, and 14 points respectively, humbled by a Kentucky team that does everything right to win games.
Georgia is a good football team. They might even be a very good football team. That, though, doesn’t suddenly mean they will beat a Kentucky team that has been shutting down good to very good football teams all year long.