UK secondary vs. wide receiver A.J. Green
Georgia’s offense has bounced back from a tough start to the season and Green, who missed the first four games of the season after he was suspended for selling his 2009 Independence Bowl jersey, has seemingly boosted the Bulldogs’ offense.
“He’s their Randall (Cobb),” UK head coach Joker Phillips said.
Since his return from suspension, Green has tallied 16 catches for 279 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ offense has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 84-14 the last two games.
“He’s a great receiver and he’s the one who can put a lot of pressure on us to make big plays during the passing game,” junior cornerback Randall Burden said. He added that Green will probably come out fresher because he hasn’t picked up as many bumps and bruises thanks to his suspension.
Burden and the rest of the UK secondary don’t have much first-hand experience with the Bulldogs’ playmaker, who didn’t play during UK’s 34-27 win over the Bulldogs last year.
Quarterback Mike Hartline vs. Georgia secondary
Phillips and the UK coaching staff really let go of the shackles on Hartline last weekend, allowing him to throw for a career-high 42 attempts, 32 of which he completed, including the game-winning touchdown toss.
Hartline, who was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against South Carolina, has proven to be the model of consistency and efficiency all season long. His nearly 256 passing yards per game rank second in the SEC.
“I think (Hartline’s) played outstanding all year,” Phillips said.
The Georgia defense has been stingy, especially the run defense which surrenders 2.9 yards per carry. However, if there is one weakness, it’s that the Bulldogs give up 15.2 yards per completion, so expect Hartline to stretch the field and spread the ball around to his receivers.
UK vs. Letdown
The Cats should be weary of falling victim to the same fate of South Carolina last Saturday. The Gamecocks came to town with momentum after defeating then-No.1 Alabama only to suffer a letdown. UK is brimming with confidence and indications from practice this week show the Cats have maintained their focus.
However, the last time UK defeated a top-25 team, No.1 LSU in 2007, it didn’t provide an encore, losing four of its last five games, including the following game, 45-37, to Florida.
The argument could be made that Georgia will be looking to avoid a letdown, too. Following a 1-4 start, the Bulldogs have posted back-to-back victories over SEC opponents and are back in the thick of the SEC East division race. Considering that Georgia leads the all-time series record 49-12-2, Bulldog fans will expect their team to take care business.
The Final Edge: Slight edge in favor of UK