Heading to locker room
Which if you’ve been following this game blog all year, means there will be more updates as I’ve deemed this game over. It didn’t really seem like it was in doubt much to begin with, but Georgia put in its second-teamers, so that’s my cue.
Georgia will finish unbeaten in SEC East play for the first time ever. (Division came into effect 25 years ago.) And the Bulldogs finish unbeaten at home for the first time since 2012.
We’ll have postgame quotes and coverage. And it’s Georgia Tech week now.
Georgia’s run offense returns
And in a big way: The Bulldogs are now up to 332 rushing yards, already the second-most this season. (The high is 389 against Missouri. The Bulldogs have 10:59 left in this game.)
Georgia already has 209 rushing yards in the second half alone. Whoever gets the ball seems to bust a long run: Nick Chubb for 55 yards, Sony Michel for 37 yards, D’Andre Swift for 25 yards, and Brian Herrien is called in off the bench and goes for 14 yards.
Nick Chubb and Herschel Walker share history
Chubb has now surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the third time, something only Walker had done in Georgia history. He has 1,045 on the season, with at least three games to go.
Now obviously Chubb did it in his fourth year, but he was well on his way as a sophomore before his injury.
Chubb now has 151 rushing yards in this game, after that 55-yard touchdown run down the left sideline, which gave opens up a 35-13 lead for the Bulldogs.
Aaron Davis wears the golden spikes
Davis, who looked like the intended receiver on a Kentucky deep ball, hauls it in after an initial tip, and has his first interception of the season.
So Davis, whose career began in 2014, began his Sanford Stadium career with an interception, and also picks off a pass in his final game here.
Updated sack totals for Georgia
Lorenzo Carter has four, his total entering the game and which still leads the team.
D’Andre Walker and Roquan Smith now each have 3.5, after recording one apiece so far.
Davin Bellamy has 2.5 for the season, and doesn’t have any right now, but maybe he’s due.
Julian Rochester has two sacks on the season, and nobody else has more than that.
Some would call this spreading it around well. Others would wonder why the edge rushers aren’t racking up more.
When in doubt, turn to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Georgia is back ahead by two possessions on a Michel 8-yard touchdown run, no a drive where Chubb ran for 35 yards. And set up by another nice return by Mecole Hardman.
That successful drive comes with Ben Cleveland back in the game at right guard, by the way.
So at this point Georgia is back to running the football the way it was pre-Auburn. It’s just not back to stopping it the way it was pre-Auburn.
Kentucky’s first touchdown
The previous entry in this here gameday blog stated that Georgia’s defense had bent but not broken. That’s quickly amended on the first drive of the second half.
Benny Snell punches in a 1-yarder on a Wildcat run, set up by a Snell 12-yard run out of the Wildcat. In all, Kentucky goes 75 yards on the second-half opening drive, most of it on the ground.
Georgia’s defense looks really vulnerable to the run these days, and that’s really not a good thing. Kentucky is a good running team, yes. But so are Georgia Tech, Auburn and Alabama.
Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts
1. There are two demarcations in this game related to Georgia’s offense. The first is the roughing the punter by Kentucky that extended the first drive: Georgia had just 21 yards on eight plays at that point. The rest of the half: 211 yards on 23 plays.
2. The second demarcation: When Georgia began passing on first down. And I do mean began. The first nine first-down calls were all runs. After that: Pass for 17 yards, Pass for 27-yard touchdown, and then another key first-down pass on the ensuing scoring drive.
3. Javon Wims continues to emerge as one of the SEC’s better receivers. He has 83 receiving yards already in the first half, and has six of the Bulldogs’ eight catches.
4. Still no receptions by a tailback or tight end, though D’Andre Swift was targeted at least once.
5. The offensive line saw some juggling in the first half, some performance-based, some not, it appears. Ben Cleveland got his first carer start at right guard but Solomon Kindley replaced him in the second quarter – and then Cleveland came back in late. Isaiah Wynn came out with some sort of minor upper-body injury but then returned. He still looked a bit off as he left the field at halftime, but either way it doesn’t appear like a long-term deal. Either way, Georgia’s offensive line hasn’t quite gotten the push it was getting pre-Auburn, but it’s been a bit better than last week.
6. Georgia’s defense is also having a slightly better game. Kentucky is only averaging 3.3 yards per rush attempt, with Georgia seeming to key on Benny Snell especially (9 rushes for 33 yards). The pass defense has been OK: Most of Kentucky’s 87 passing yards are on that 45-yard pass where Malkom Parrish had the coverage but didn’t haul in the pass. But Kentucky QB Stephen Johnson has also missed some open receivers, and he had a wide receiver drop a low pass at the end of the half.
7. Overall thought: Georgia is doing what it had to do on the scoreboard, even if getting there was a bit rough. The Bulldogs have been explosive on offense, though not consistent. The defense has bent but not broken, albeit against a not-great offense. There are no signs of real danger in this game, at least.
Jim Chaney lovefest continues
So passing on first down pays off. And so does running on third downs too.
Sony Michel takes a handoff out of hte shotgun on third-and-7, gets the outside and the to the sideline, and scores from 37 yards out.
Georgia 21-6, with all three touchdowns coming from seniors: Michel, Javon Wims and Nick Chubb.
Georgia is averaging 11.7 yards per play in the second quarter, after averaging 4.8 in the first quarter.
Jim Chaney fooled us all
It was all a set-up. Georgia ran the ball on first down each of the first nine times it had a first down. And the fan base grumbled, as it should have, as the results were poor.
Then … bam: A pass on first down to Terry Godwin goes for 16 yards.
Then, very next play … boom: Javon Wims hauls in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm. Georgia leads, 14-6.
Probably the plan all along. Yup.
Georgia’s defense, meanwhile
The Bulldogs aren’t playing that well, especially against the run. Kentucky tailback Benny Snell has 33 yards on nine carries, which doesn’t sound like much, but his yards-after-contact are a problem for Georgia.
If Kentucky had any consistent passing game then Georgia would be trailing right now. Stephen Johnson is 4-for-9 for 61 yards, but 45 of those yards came on the flukish deep pass play.
Georgia also couldn’t hold on fourth-and-short, when for some reason Roquan Smith wasn’t in the game. I’m getting the reason was regular substitution pattern, but sometimes you have to overrule that. Unless Smith took himself out.
Well, whatever, Georgia’s defense for off the field eventually.
Georgia too predictable again?
Last week Georgia’s offense seemed to run too much on first downs: On 16 first downs, Georgia ran it 12 times.
So is Jim Chaney changing things up against Kentucky, which statistically is the SEC’s worst pass defense? Actually he’s gone the other way so far.
Georgia has run it on first down seven out of seven times. And those haven’t yielded much yardage. The result on the third drive was a three-and-out.
Another Kentucky field goal
That was basically a one-play drive against Georgia’s defense – and a fluke play.
Malkom Parrish was stride-for-stride with Kentucky receiver Blake Boone downfield, and actually got his hands on the ball first. But Parrish couldn’t hold on and the ball went into Boone’s hands as he hit the ground. Actually as he was on the ground, it appeared. So a 45-yard completion down to Georgia’s 35.
Kentucky got another first down but then Georgia’s defense again held in the red zone. On each trip, by the way, Kentucky QB Stephen Johnson has overthrown an open receiver running for the end zone.
Nick Chubb for the lead
Perhaps only appropriate that on senior day Chubb would score the game’s first touchdown. Chubb makes a nice cut on a second-down run and scores from 8 yards out. Chubb and Sony Michel each have 22 yards.
Georgia’s offense looked diametrically different after a very slow start – and Kentucky’s ill-advised roughing-the-punter extended a lifeline.
Georgia’s offense before the punter was roughed: Eight plays for 21 yards.
Georgia’s offense after the penalty: 10 plays for 71 yards.
Cam Nizialek update
He looks to be OK. He’s walking around on the sidelines, no trainers around him, and his helmet on.
Interesting side note: Marshall Long was warming up after Nizialek’s injury, in case his services were needed. Long, who was last year’s starting punter before breaking his kneecap, has yet to play this year.
So Long would be eligible for a redshirt. But it looks like the team was prepared to burn Long’s redshirt here in Game 11.
Cam Nizialek hurt on roughing the punter
Kentucky went for a punt block and got burned. And Cam Nizialek got hurt, but it appears it wasn’t too bad.
Nizialek stayed on the ground for about a minute, with Georgia trainers coming out to see him. It looked bad at first but Nizialek was able to walk off the field on his own power. He’s gone into the medical tent now.
Georgia, meanwhile, gets new life on its second drive, which had stalled on a third-and-16 incompletion. Jake Fromm had been sacked on second down, and his third-down pass was nowhere near a receiver.
So why Kentucky risked all that by rushing, who knows. But Georgia won’t complain.
Georgia holds in the red zone
Kentucky reaches the 20 but stalls there, and for the 12th time this year Georgia holds the opponent without a touchdown on a red zone trip. (There have been just 10 touchdowns, so Georgia remains over 50 percent in red zone defense.)
But the Wildcats do make the field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. This is only the second time this season that Georgia hasn’t scored first. Notre Dame also took a 3-0 lead.
And after not trailing for seven full games, Georgia has now been behind two straight weeks.
Fromm’s interception is the main culprit this time. But I’m not sure I liked what I saw from Georgia’s run defense there, at least the first few Kentucky runs. We’ll see if the Bulldogs firm it up.
Jake Fromm with an early mistake
Fromm throws it right at Kentucky’s Josh Allen, who picks it off and returns it to Georgia’s 32. That’s a very early “oy” for Fromm and Georgia’s offense.
It looked like Fromm stared down the receiver, allowing Allen to step in front of the short pass to the offense’s left side.
It’s only the fifth interception of the season for Fromm. The ones he’s had have been costly, usually leading to points, but haven’t cost the team any games. (He didn’t have any last week at Auburn.)
Georgia football-Kentucky football score: Live updates
Q1, 15:00 Georgia 0, Kentucky 0
What time is the Georgia-Kentucky football game?
Time: The Georgia-Kentucky game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: The Georgia-Kentucky game is set to be played in Sanford Stadium, in Athens, Ga. It will be the Bulldogs final home game of the season.
Odds: Georgia is a -21.5 favorite over Kentucky.
What TV channel is Georgia-Kentucky football on?
The Georgia-Kentucky game will kickoff on CBS at 3:30 pm ET.
Can I watch Georgia-Kentucky football online?
Yes, you can watch the Georgia-Kentucky game on CBS SPORTS APP.
How can I listen to Georgia-Kentucky football on the radio?
Fans can click here for radio options for the Georgia-Kentucky game.
What channel is CBS on for the Georgia-Kentucky game?
To find CBS for the Georgia-Kentucky game, click here.
Georgia football-Kentucky football: Live updates
Georgia football-Kentucky football preview
ATHENS — The best thing about what happened to Georgia last week on The Plains and what might happen Saturday against at Kentucky at Sanford Stadium is that the Bulldogs happen to play football with 18-to-22-year-olds.
“Kids are more resilient than the adults and the fan base, I can promise you,” explained coach Kirby Smart, talking about the 23-point loss to Auburn on 680 The Fan’s Bulldog Roundtable on Thursday. “They live in a generation of ‘onto the next thing.’ They want 60 seconds; they’re two or three lines on Twitter; they go on SnapChat. That’s all they think about. So for them, it’s onto the next one.”
There are some objectives for the Bulldogs beyond just winning the next game. Starting with that ill-fated trip to Auburn, this is the most challenging stretch of the season, and the SEC Championship game awaits, whether Georgia is ready for it or not.
It will be paramount that the Bulldogs shore up some things, mentally as well as physically.
“It’s important to gain some confidence in how they play, especially early in this game, so that they can get back to believing in themselves. At the end of the day, it’s the next opponent, a good opponent and an SEC opponent, so they’ve got to go out and perform and be ready for a four-quarter battle. I fully expect it to be that way with Kentucky.”
Whether it could help or hinder that objective remains to be seen, but the Bulldogs will be honoring a huge group of seniors. They’re led the high-profile foursome of Davin Bellamy, Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but there are numerous others who have distinguished themselves with their service in games or in practices. A whopping 31 players will be honored during Senior Day ceremonies, which will start promptly at 3 p.m.
That group has logged a 37-12 record over the last four years. With a couple more wins, they have a chance to finish among the Top 10 most successful classes of all time in the 125-year history of Georgia football.
“These seniors have been a tremendous asset for our staff,” Smart said. “They’re a lot of high-character kids who care a lot about the University of Georgia. We can give back to them and their families by honoring what they’ve done for the university.
Here’s what has to happen to send them out the right way:
Back to Bulldog Basics
The Bulldogs have to find a way to get back to what had made it successful before Auburn humiliated them 40-17. Primarily, that is establish the run and stop the run.
Georgia was overwhelmed in both of those respects against the Tigers, recording season lows in rushing on offense and defense. When Nick Chubb leads the Bulldogs with 27 yards rushing, you know it’s a bad day.
There is nothing automatic about being able to do that against the Wildcats. They’re actually similar to Auburn statistically when it comes to stopping the run. They’re fourth in the SEC at 121.9 yards, or 3.5 yards more a game than the Tigers’ vaunted defense. So Georgia has to address its newly exposed issues on the offensive line. The Bulldogs were experimenting in practice this week with big Ben Cleveland (6-6, 340) getting some looks at left guard.
On the flip side, Kentucky already has called out Georgia to some degree. Sophomore Benny Snell promised the Bulldogs that he was going to be “bringing it” against them on Saturday. And he has more than a little something to bring. Snell (5-11, 233) is the SEC’s third-leading rusher (101.3 yards per game) and is coming off his third consecutive game in which he has scored three touchdowns. Snell had 114 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia last year when the Bulldogs eked out a 27-24 victory.
Throw the ball downfield
As much as the Bulldogs need to establish the run, they also have to prove they can throw the football. They’ve done that with some success this season, but not consistently and certainly not in the fashion that makes a defense respect it and change what they’re doing.
Georgia’s freshman quarterback Jake Fromm not only has been extremely good at completing third-down throws and occasionally hitting defenses with big plays in the passing game. His yards per attempt continues to be one of the best in the country.
But where the Bulldogs are lacking is in a consistent downfield attack that utilizes the middle of the field and give the safeties something else to think about. To date, most of Fromm’s attempts and completions have come on 50-50 plays against one-on-one coverage in the short to intermediate flat and up and down the sideline. That limits the risk of a turnover within the chaos that is the middle of field.
If there’s a team Georgia might be able to exploit in this regard, it’s Kentucky. The Wildcats struggle in pass coverage. In fact, they’re last in the SEC against the pass, allowing 282.3 yards per game and giving up 18 touchdowns through the air.It may be time for Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to show more trust in the freshman Jake Fromm and let him try to exploit the middle of the defense. This, in turn, could get the Bulldogs’ impressive group of tight ends more involved in the passing game.
Tighten up special teams
It could be argued that Georgia has won the special teams matchup in every game it played this season. Well, up until last week’s game at Auburn.
Actually, the Bulldogs remained dominant when came to the act of kicking and returning kicks. But they were flagged for two devastating personal-foul penalties on special teams plays, committed a turnover and missed a field goal. That undid all the good work displayed by return specialist Mecole Hardman, who had 183 yards in returns but muffed a punt that led to an early second-half touchdown by the Tigers.
Kentucky is decidedly average on special teams, and is especially vulnerable on kickoff returns. This area of Saturday’s matchup is a clear advantage for the Bulldogs, and one of which they need to take full advantage.