Georgia’s suffocating defense lived up to the hype. Kentucky fought tooth and nail with the top-ranked team in the country, keeping the game within striking range for three quarters until the Dawgs overpowered Mark Stoops’ Cats with a 30-13 win.
Despite the loss, Will Levis looked sharp. The Kentucky quarterback completed 32-of-42 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He kept the Wildcats in the game while Georgia completely took away UK’s rushing attack, limiting Kentucky to just 51 yards on the ground.
Georgia’s Stetson Bennett was equally impressive. The Mail Man spread the ball around all over the field, throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Georgia looked like the best team in college football, dropping Kentucky to 6-1 as the beat up Wildcats enter the bye week.
Kentucky Penalty Stalls Promising Start
The vaunted Georgia defense started the game in uncharacteristic fashion, on its heels. Kentucky ran right at the Dawgs, picking up a pair of first downs. They were on their way to another first down to move inside scoring territory, until an illegal procedure penalty put the Cats behind the chains. Kentucky ultimately was forced to punt.
Following the drive that was stalled by the ill-timed penalty, Kentucky went three-and-out on three straight possessions.
A Fateful Fumble Recovery
A scoreless tie on the final play of the first quarter, Josh Paschal applied pressure to Stetson Bennett, swatting at the quarterback’s arm as he threw it. The ball sputtered to the turf, an apparent incompletion — except it wasn’t.
The ball sat lifeless on the ground near a Wildcat. Officials did not blow the play dead until Kendall Milton made a heads up play and jumped on the ball. Review confirmed that Paschal knocked the ball free before Bennett passed the ball. Instead of an easy recovery and a red zone turnover for the Cats, Georgia scored a touchdown on the following play.
Big Kentucky Bounce Back Drive
Georgia used three big runs to build a 14-0 lead. The Dawgs were on the verge of completely running away with the game when Liam Coen brought out his bag of tricks. The Cats rolled out tight end screens, hook and ladders and beautiful play-action passes. Thanks to a little luck on a reviewed strip sack, UK was able to move the sticks down to the one yard-line before Levis hit Justin Rigg with a pretty touchdown pass to cap off a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
Georgia Playmakers Make Plays
Too many times the game could simply be summed up as, “Georgia has dudes.”
Freshman tight end Brock Bowers did a Randy Moss impression in the corner of the end zone that nobody could stop, giving Georgia a 21-7 lead. UK got the ball down to the Georgia ten yard-line at the end of the third quarter. A screen pass to Chris Rodriguez would have been an easy touchdown if one of the three offensive line could block Nkobe Dean. Nobody could block Dean. Two plays after blowing up the screen, 6-foot-7 Jordan Davis blocked Matt Ruffolo’s field goal.
Even though Kentucky did not leave Georgia with an historic win, they hung tight thanks to the exceptional play of Will Levis. Kentucky scored more touchdowns than Georgia’s first six opponents combined, an impressive feat. The Wildcats can still dream big by finishing the season with a bang.