Fresh off of a win in the world’s largest cocktail party, the Georgia Bulldogs head into a game against another top-25 opponent in the SEC East in the Kentucky Wildcats. Both teams have a ton on the line in this game, with a win giving either side control of their own destiny as they attempt to represent their division in the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia comes into this battle for SEC East showdown as a 8.5-point favorite over at BetOnline. Can they get themselves back into a position to contend for a playoff spot, or will it be the Wildcats with a chance to advance in this de-facto elimination game?
Georgia is 17th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 39.1 points per game. They absolutely have the advantage in terms of explosiveness on offense in this game, and will need every bit of it against a Kentucky team that has one of the best defenses in the country.
The Bulldogs are 27th in rushing yardage heading into this game at 221.6 yards per contest. Both Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift are averaging over 5.5 yards per carry as the only rushers on the team to get more than 35 carries on the season. Both will need to be effective in this game to set Jake Fromm up with opportunities to succeed in the passing game.
Speaking of the passing game, Georgia is 66th in passing yardage, putting up 236.1 yards per contest. Quarterback Jake Fromm has completed over 67% of his passes in 2018 and has 16 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. That level of mistake-free football will be required here.
In scoring defense, the Bulldogs are ranked 12th with 16.4 points per game allowed. They’ll face a lot of running against the Kentucky offense, and will have to be stout in the front seven to keep their scoring average from creeping up after this game.
Kirby Smart’s team controls its own destiny in the SEC East with a win here after beating Florida last week, who is in a three-way tie with Georgia and Kentucky atop the division. After this game, the Bulldogs have games against a disappointing Auburn team, followed by UMass and Georgia Tech. If they can get through this game, they should be able to breeze into Atlanta and into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta (where the players play).
Kentucky Wildcats Week 10 Analysis
Kentucky is tied for first in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 13 points per game. That’s not bad for a basketball school, and is a mark that the Wildcats will need to improve on in this game if they are going to give themselves a chance to be in this game late.
The Wildcats are tied for 96th in college football in scoring offense, putting up just 25.6 points per game. As good as their defense has been, their offense has struggled to put points on the board, as they haven’t put up more than 28 points in a single conference game this year. Against a Georgia team that can put up 28 points in a half with ease, the Wildcats have their work cut out for them on offense.
At 31st in the nation in rushing with 214 yards per game, Kentucky definitely prioritizes running the football when they’ve got possession. Kentucky is averaging over five yards per carry as a team, led by Benny Snell, Jr., who enters this game just 65 yards away from 1,000 for the season.
Kentucky is only 119th in passing offense, averaging a measly 148.1 yards per game. Terry Wilson has completed 65% of his passes on the year, but is averaging less than 6.5 yards per attempt, which shows a lack of willingness by Kentucky to push the ball downfield with their passing offense. Wilson has five touchdown passes on the season to six interceptions.
Kentucky clearly favors a style of play where they rely on their defense and running game. That is normally fine, but can be a problem against a team like Georgia in the event that Kentucky needs to stage a comeback and needs to lean on its passing game to move the ball quickly. Without a real vertical passing game to rely on, Kentucky will have to keep within arms reach in this game both to have a chance to win and cover the spread.
Kentucky would control its own destiny with a win here as well. They, like Georgia, already beat Florida this season and would hold the tiebreaker over both Florida and Georgia. The remaining schedule for the Wildcats is also easy to navigate, as the Wildcats have Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and a struggling Louisville team remaining for the rest of this season.
Georgia vs. Kentucky Trends
Both the Bulldogs and Wildcats enter this game at 7-1 straight up on the season and 4-4 against the spread. Georgia is 9-4 against the spread in its last 13 games, and is 11-3 in their last 14 games away from home. Kentucky, on the other hand is 8-21 in its last 29 home games, with Georgia having a decided advantage as far as trends are concerned in this game.
Georgia is by far the better offensive team heading into this game, as they appear capable of moving the ball on offense in multiple ways, while Kentucky is far too reliant on running the football.
Kentucky’s defense has the chance to be the great equalizer in this game, but with Kentucky’s inability to move the ball in the passing game, Georgia should be able to keep their offense on the field for long enough to wear down the Kentucky defense and really start to open things up in the fourth quarter.