Yes, the Georgia-Kentucky clash will be played simply for pride and an opportunity for each team to improve on its final finish this season.
[su_spacer size=”40″] While the limping Bulldogs enter the contest at 5-3 and 3-3 in the SEC, Kentucky comes in all even on the season at 4-4 and saddled with a2-4 league record. The Wildcats of third-year coach Mark Stoops have defeated UL-LaFayette (40-33), South Carolina (26-22), Missouri (21-13) and Eastern Kentucky (34-27) while going under to Florida (14¬9), Auburn (30-27), Mississippi State (42-16) and Tennessee, by 52-21 this past Saturday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Kentucky returned seven starters on each side of the ball from last season’s 5-7 team (2-6 in SEC). One of them was senior Patrick Towles (6-5,240), the big quarterback who has thrown for close to 2,000 yards this season with eight touchdowns, although he’s been intercepted nine times. Another returning offensive stalwart is sophomore tailback Stanley “Boom” Williams (5-9, 196). The Cats’ leading rusher, Williams compiled 1,159 all-purpose yards last year as a freshman. Out of George Walton Academy in Monroe, Ga., Williams originally was a UGA commitment. Junior Jojo Kemp (5-10, 200) is Kentucky’s No. 2 rusher.
BIG FIVE[su_spacer size=”40″] Towles’ favorite targets this season have been a pair of sophomores, Dorian Baker (6-3, 208) and Garrett Johnson (5-11, 182) as last year’s top receiver, junior Ryan Timmons (5-10, 200), has been limited this fall.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Defensively, senior linebacker Josh Forrest (6-3, 255) and senior tackle Cory Johnson (6-3, 300), along with junior safety Marcus McWilson (6-0, 208), are the Wildcats’ tackle leaders this season. Other key defenders include senior nose tackle Melvin Lewis (6-4, 342) and senior safety/cornerback A.J. Stamps (6-0, 197), who had four interceptions for UK in 2014.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Here are the Big Five achievements Kentucky must accomplish to walk away with a win over the Bulldogs Saturday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 1. Big day from Patrick Towles
[su_spacer size=”40″] Towles has the passing arm to have the kind of day Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs enjoyed against Georgia’s young secondary, when the Vols’ QB threw for 312 yards. Find holes in the Bulldogs’ defense early on and light up the scoreboard with some long- range strikes.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 2. Get Stanley “Boom” Williams loose in the open field
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams will be pumped playing against his home- state school and the team he originally committed to so Wildcats, get “Boom” out in space, either on runs from scrimmage or with short passes to the edge.
Update: This article is from the BI print edition that went to press last Sunday. Williams is injured and will not play.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 3. Kentucky defense, play with tenacity
[su_spacer size=”40″] You’ve had some rough defensive outings this season, giving up 30 points to Auburn and 42 to Mississippi State, but Wildcats defense, you also held the Florida Gators to just 14 points and that,even with Will Grier still at QB for Florida. Attack the Bulldog’s struggling offense (no touchdowns in last two games) with that same kind of effort.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 4. Remember the beatdown in Lexington
[su_spacer size=”40″] Cats, you were embarrassed by Georgia last season in the bluegrass, by 63-31 when Isaiah McKenzie ran wild with kickoff and punt returns. Atone for that humiliation with a little payback to the Dawgs on Saturday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 5. Above all, don’t help the Bulldogs out
[su_spacer size=”40″] Stay away from the costly turnovers that would fuel the Bulldogs and the partisan Sanford Stadium crowd. Simply play sound, error-free football and keep it a contest for all four quarters.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Make sure to check out Bulldawg Illustrated’s latest print edition: Stand Tall Dawgs, digital issue available for free online. CLICK HERE.