UK looks to secure winning conference record against Georgia


Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. runs the ball in for a touchdown during the game against Georgia on Saturday, November 5, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

Roman West

The Kentucky Wildcats (7-3, 4-3) will head into their final SEC game and final road game of the season this Saturday when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1).

Kentucky will look to keep the ball rolling after picking up a 44-21 win against Vanderbilt last week. Georgia is coming off their first loss of the season, an unexpected 40-17 blowout from Auburn.

However, the Bulldogs have already clinched the SEC East title and will play in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 2.

A win for Kentucky would give them a winning record in SEC play for the first time since going 6-0 in 1977. Last week’s win clinched the Cats’ first back-to-back seasons of at least a .500 record since 1998-99.

Two Wildcats broke into the school record books last week, Benny Snell Jr. and Garrett Johnson. Snell and Johnson surpassed 2,000 rushing and receiving yards in a career, respectively. The 2,000-yard mark is good enough to put Snell at ninth all-time in UK history, and good enough to put Johnson at fourth all-time.

Snell also rushed his way into the record books by scoring his 28th career rushing touchdown, already a school record as just a sophomore. Snell has rushed for 1,013 yards this season, making him the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Snell is looking to rush for 100 yards again this week, which would put him at four games in a row and seven on the season. When Snell rushes for over 100 yards, Kentucky is 9-2.

The Bulldogs offense is led by a duo of future NFL running backs, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Chubb currently leads the team in rushing, averaging 89.4 yards per game, with Michel right behind him at 81.2 yards per game.

In last season’s matchup, Michel led both teams in rushing yards with 127 to go along with one touchdown. Chubb also was able to rush for 85 yards against the Wildcats in 2016.

In 2015, Michel rushed for 165 yards against Kentucky, the second highest game of his career. Chubb’s career high against the Wildcats came his freshman season, racking up 170 yards and a touchdown.

One player looking to stop Georgia’s running back tandem will be safety Mike Edwards. Edwards leads the Wildcats in tackles this season with 80. He also leads the team in five pass break ups and four interceptions.

His four interceptions are good enough for the co-lead in the SEC. In his past six games, Edwards has made double-digit tackles in four of them. Edwards is eighth in the SEC in tackles per game and has been placed on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe award, which is awarded to the top defensive back in the country.

Georgia is a heavy favorite in the game, with ESPN’s Football Power Index giving them a 93.9 percent chance to win the game as of Monday evening. Las Vegas also is heavy on the Bulldogs, favoring them over the Cats by 21.5 points as of late Monday night.

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium and will be broadcast on CBS.