Kentucky and Georgia both bring powerful runners to Lexington


Kentucky Wildcats running back Benny Snell Jr. gains control of the ball and prepares to attempt to score during the game against South Carolina at Kroger Field on Saturday September 29, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 24-10. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Pranavdeep Singh

No. 9 ranked Kentucky returns home after sneaking out a last second win against the Missouri Tigers to face the No. 6 ranked Georgia Bulldogs in a bout for the SEC East. Both teams come into the game with identical records (7-1, 5-1 SEC) this season. The Bulldogs have won 7 straight against Kentucky going back to 2010.

Georgia, led by third year coach Kirby Smart, is coming off a season in which they went 13-2 and lost to Alabama in overtime in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Smart, in his three seasons as the Bulldogs coach, has complied a 28-8 record and 2-1 in Bowls.

“Georgia’s a complete football team. They are very, very talented. They’re well coached, and they are good in all phases. They can hurt any given play because of the talent that’s on the field,” said Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops of Georgia and Kirby Smart.

The Bulldogs offense is helmed by true Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm, who is second in the SEC in quarterback rating and completion percentage with 67.4 percent. Fromm is averaging 9.6 yards per pass and has thrown for 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions on the season.

In the backfield, the Bulldogs are anchored by a two-man punch of junior Elijah Holyfield and sophomore D’Andre Swift. Holyfield is the son of one of the greatest pound for pound boxers Evander Holyfield and has 559 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per carry on the season. Swift has 466 yards and five touchdowns.

“Swift is electric and Holyfield is so darn tough and gets tough yards, talented. They’re good. Just like you would expect when you’re playing these guys,” said Stoops during a press conference earlier this week.

In 2017, Georgia beat Alabama 42-13 led by running backs Nick Chubb with 151 yards and two touchdowns and Sony Michel 87 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cats are currently 7-1, which is their best eight-game start to a season since 1977 and brings forth their two greatest weapons in Benny Snell the force of Kentucky’s defense.

Snell, who was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell trophy, leads the SEC and ranks 10th nationally in rushing yards per game (116.9), and is eight in the nation in total rushing yards with 935.

Senior Josh Allen is leading the Kentucky defense, which is one of the best in the country. Allen currently has 24.5 sacks, moving him to second place on UK’s all-time list—he only needs 1.5 more to tie Oliver Barnett for the most in Kentucky football history.

The Kentucky secondary is one of the most experience in the SEC, and UK’s opponents have only completed 53.6 percent of their passes this season. The Cats rank 12th in the nation in pass efficiency defense.

The line on the game is Georgia by 9, and the over/under is set at 44.5. The game will be broadcast on CBS and will start at 3:30 p.m. E.T.