Can UK fix its offensive struggles in time to pull off an upset over UGA?


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) trying to break a tackle. University of Kentucky football lost to No. 6 Georgia 34-17 at Kroger Field on Saturday, November 3, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Barkley Truax

Coming off a tough loss last Saturday against Missouri, Kentucky football will next take on the no. 4-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Kroger Field. will try to bounce back from a tough loss this Saturday against Missouri last weekend against the Georgia Bulldogs.

The Wildcats struggled on both sides of the ball against Missouri, losing to the Tigers for the first time in five years. Kentucky only managed to gain 145 yards total and allowed 421 from Mizzou.

Georgia is 3 -1 for the season, defeating Auburn, UT and Arkansas before succumbing to no. 2 Alabama on Saturday.

The biggest question headed into the match-up with Georgia is the quarterback situation.

Kentucky’s featured quarterback, Terry Wilson threw 3/9 for 35 yards and a touchdown. Wilson got off to a slow start, leading to changes in the lineup in the second quarter. He would go on to start the second half.

Sophomore Joey Gatewood, a transfer who was only cleared last month, saw action for the second time this season, throwing one completion out of four attempts for 12 yards.

After the game, head coach Mark Stoops said that he will have to look at the tape to decide who will be Kentucky’s starting quarterback against Georgia on Halloween.

Georgia has also had some quarterback issues early this season. But in recent weeks, Stetson Bennett has emerged as their guy. Bennett has thrown for 958 yards and seven touchdowns through four games.

The Bulldogs’ passing game is where they hurt teams the most. Star receivers George Pickens and Kearis Jackson lead the way for the receiving core with a combined 463 yards.

This high-powered offense will be a challenge for this Kentucky defense. Kentucky has excelled defensively through the air at times, and at others, has looked dreadful.

In the two games prior to Missouri, Kentucky’s defense hauled in nine interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Despite no turnovers for the defense last Saturday, Kentucky did not allow a touchdown through the air.

The defense was exhausted last week; Missouri ran 92 plays, compared to Kentucky’s 36. Turnovers are key to stopping this Georgia offense – the ball needs to be in the offense’s hands.

Kentucky’s offensive game relies on running the football efficiently. They couldn’t get it going against Missouri, rushing for only 98 yards.

Three weeks ago, Kentucky rushed for 408 yards against Ole Miss. The running game needs to find their identity this week and get back on track if they want a chance against Georgia’s defense this weekend.

Georgia’s defense prides themselves on being able to stop the run. The most yards they’ve given up this season is 147 against Alabama two weeks ago; the week prior, they held Tennessee to -1 yards total.

Kentucky has by far their biggest challenge yet on Saturday. Georgia is a national championship contending team year-in and year-out and has everything to lose coming into Kroger Field; so, if nothing else, Kentucky has that on their side. The two teams last met in 2019, when UGA held UK to a 21-0 shut out. The previous season they faced off in the SEC East championship, which UK lost 34 – 17.

This Saturday will be the Cats’ chance to break an 11-year losing streak against the Bulldogs. The game will kick off at noon eastern on Oct. 31 in Lexington and will be available on the SEC Network.