Kevin Butler, former Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2019 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. And this season Butler has added a new category to his superlative awards, “The Kicker” (Unsung Contributor to the Game). Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 21-0 win over Kentucky Oct. 19.
Compiled by Murray Poole
Junior tailback D’Andre Swift, who turned in one of the best performances of his UGA career by rushing for 179 yards on 21 carries, an 8.5 average per carry, with touchdown runs of 39 and 3 yards to lead the Bulldogs to 21 second-half points.
“The junior running back continues to lead the way, accounting for 63 percent of the total production for the Bulldogs on a wet, nasty night in Athens,” said Butler. “Swift is one of the best all-around running backs in America and Saturday night he showed why he is playing his last year in Athens. Georgia is a running football team and if they can’t run …we’re done! By the end of the game, D’Andre made sure the Dawgs were going to run the ball on Kentucky with a second-half commitment to beat the Wildcats down upfront. Getting back on track is sometimes the hardest thing to do for a team after a loss but with the halftime adjustments made this week, the O-line responded and so did Swift, running for 44 yards on the 13-play, 92-yard fourth-quarter drive that sealed the victory. D’Andre is another great running back in the long line of great UGA RBs and I want to ride him into the World’s Largest Cocktail Party and let him lead the way to victory over the Gators.”
Sophomore linebacker Quay Walker, who was one of four Bulldog defenders to record six tackles to pace a Georgia defense that pitched the shutout of Kentucky and limited the Wildcat offense to just 177 total yards. Walker was also credited with a half-sack for a loss.
“The sophomore linebacker from Cordele is making his opponent respect his ability on the field,” said Butler. “Quay has all the talent to become a force on the field and with his work ethic, he is contributing in several different ways, playing both inside on the line and providing pressure off the end in certain situations. His 6 tackles Saturday were split with 3 solo tackles and a 1/2 sack against a tough Kentucky team. The rain limited the offenses to do what they could do in those conditions and Quay became a force when Kentucky turned one-dimensional. His play will be needed against the Gators in Jacksonville and hopefully, his teammates will provide the support the Dawgs will need to win the next SEC battle. Great job Quay!”
Sophomore punter Jake Camarda, who turned in his second consecutive outstanding performance, averaging 52.8 yards on six kicks including a 64-yard punt.
“For the second week in a row Jake has played a vital role in the field position game,” said Butler. “As the rain pounded the hedges for all 60 minutes, Jake’s consistent punts helped the defense contain field position in a first half that was highlighted by a combined 10 punts. When a game is limited because of weather, the punting game takes on even more value with each punt. Each punter played a role in this game and Jake won that battle as the Kentucky punter had a 15-yard punt, and UGA capitalized on that mistake as Swift raced 39 yards for the first score, due to the poor punt. Jake is producing now for the Bulldogs and each week will be more important than the week before … as long as UGA wins! Keep kicking, Jake!”
The game-long heavy rains, which not only played a factor in the Georgia-Kentucky contest itself but also in the attendance Saturday night at wet, cold and soggy Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.
“The rain … the rain,” said Butler. “It rained all day, every play, every which way. The fans were grand but they ran when it rained and it rained all day. The balls were slick but we did not give it up one bit. Kentucky wore BLUE and they were covered in DEW or “rain,” as we call it in Georgia. There is only so much a team can do in this type of weather so the Bulldogs simplified their game plan and ran it at the Wildcats until they broke. Break, they did in the fourth quarter and the loyal WET fans cheered the Bulldogs to a much-needed victory between the hedges.”