Wildcats battle against No. 1 Georgia, come up short 16-6


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) runs the ball during the Kentucky vs. No. 1 Georgia football game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgia won 16-6. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Samantha Money, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky football (6-5) came up short against the undefeated No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 16-6 on Saturday at Kroger Field.

The Cats brought their best fight to the Bulldogs in Lexington but were unable to defeat the defending national champions and ultimately finished 3-5 in Southeastern Conference play.

UGA achieved a total of 363 yards of offense while the Cats finished the game with 295 total yards.

They’re the number one team in the country for a reason,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “They worked extremely hard in all areas and are a very complete football team in all areas. They played very well.”

Despite the loss, Kentucky looked strong on the field, looking much different than when it played Vanderbilt just one week prior.

Ultimately, Kentucky left the field with a loss on the night but took away several wins in the process.

Freshman wide receiver Barrion Brown found himself totaling 145 receiving yards from 10 passes and scoring the only touchdown of the game for Kentucky.

His performance earned him the accolade of having the second most receiving yards in a single game by a Kentucky freshman.

The Wildcats’ defense was also a center of attention, with Kentucky keeping Georgia out of the endzone for three straight possessions during the first half.

With the shocking loss Kentucky suffered the week prior against Vanderbilt, many fans will see it as a win for the team to battle Georgia so closely.

“There’s going to be some highs and there’s going to be some lows and it’s extremely challenging,” Stoops said. “After a tough loss a week ago, getting them motivated to compete and play at a high level and reinvest to the commitment that it takes to go compete with a team like this took a lot of digging and soul searching.”

On the offensive side, the Cats did not find as much success in the first half and were unable to even attempt a field goal against the No. 1 defensive team in college football.

As a result, Georgia led the Cats 9-0 entering the second half. 

The Wildcats continued to fight to begin the second half, recording an interception just outside the endzone against Georgia.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, the Bulldogs were unfazed and ultimately scored the first touchdown of the night on their next drive.

Kentucky refused to lay down despite finding themselves down by 16 points, with a 42-yard pass to Brown in the fourth quarter giving the Cats the momentum they needed to cut into Georgia’s lead.

UK quarterback Will Levis would eventually find Brown again for another pass, this time in the endzone. 

The touchdown by Kentucky marked the longest scoring drive of the season for the Cats, who recorded 99 yards in nine plays, beating out a 98-yard drive against Northern Illinois earlier in the year.

The Cats had another opportunity to put points on the board and make it a one-score game with a 38-yard field goal kick attempt, but kicker Matt Ruffolo was unable to make it through the uprights after yet another botched snap.

Stoops commented on the kicking, which has plagued the Cats all season long, after the game.

“I don’t have a good answer,” Stoops said. “Anyone can see it’s not good. We do it (have a bad snap or kick) all the time, and we have multiple people doing it. It’s not good.”

By the time the dust settled Kentucky had held Georgia to 16 points off of only one touchdown, the lowest scoring performance UGA had seen all season.

Obviously that’s the effort that we’re looking for, and not the result that we want,” Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White said. “There’s a lot of guys that are hurting, but that’s good. It’s good because it means you have put a lot into the game and I’m extremely proud of the effort that they gave. They did not flinch.”

Kentucky will take on its final opponent of the regular season, the Louisville Cardinals, on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 3 p.m. EST at Kroger Field. The game is currently scheduled to be aired live on the SEC Network.