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We’ve spent the better part of the last week analyzing and dissecting everything that went wrong in the loss to Auburn. Now that it’s Thursday, it’s high time to move on to this weekend and the Senior Day showdown with the Kentucky Wildcats. The loss to Auburn didn’t derail Georgia’s national title hopes, it only hindered them. But a loss to the Cats would mean the end of any chance Georgia has of making the College Football Playoff and another long week of introspection.
With that in mind, here are four Kentucky players to keep an eye on this weekend.
Stephen Johnson, QB — Kentucky’s senior quarterback is having a fine season and is among the SEC’s better passers. He’s seventh in the league in passing yards with 1,800 with a 10-4 TD-INT ratio. He’s also the SEC’s second most accurate passer with a completion percentage of 62.8. Johnson can gain yardage with his legs, too, and is second on the team in rushing yards (348) and rushing touchdowns (3).
Benny Snell Jr., RB — Snell is the Cats’ primary weapon on offense. He split carries with Boom Williams as a freshman last year, but this year he’s shouldered the load, toting the rock 205 times for 1,013 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s tied for the SEC lead in touchdowns, second in total rushing yards and third in rushing yards per game.
Josh Allen, DE — Auburn was able to dominate Georgia’s offensive the line with a gang of talented rushers. The bad news for Georgia is that Kentucky has a crew of its own disruptive rushers. One of the best among them is Allen, who has 7 sacks and 10 1/2 tackles for loss, fifth-best in the SEC in both categories, as well as 2 forced fumbles this season.
Denzil Ware, DE — When you think you have Allen covered, here comes Ware. Ware has 9 tackles for loss, 6 1/2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles this season. He’s really come on in the last few games, with 5 sacks in his last three outings, including 2 last weekend against Vanderbilt. If Kentucky is able to stifle Georgia’s offense the way Auburn did, it’ll be the result of big games from Ware and Allen.
Lorenzo Carter ready to bounce back
As heartbroken as you might have felt after the loss to Auburn, you didn’t feel as bad as Lorenzo Carter. That much is clear from this post by Seth Emerson of DawgNation. But five days later, Carter is looking at the silver lining in this dark cloud and sees there’s still plenty left to play for.
“Coach made sure we knew we definitely weren’t out of the mix,” Carter said. “Just one loss isn’t going to define our season. We’ve had a great season so far, we plan on keeping the thing going.
“That one loss, it was good for the team just to wake up, just (have) a wake-up call. But I’m just proud everybody’s been working, we haven’t gotten hung up on that.”
Ben Cleveland working at guard
After the way Auburn manhandled Georgia’s offensive line, a bit of a shakeup was expected. Emerson reports that redshirt freshman lineman Ben Cleveland has worked at guard some this week, away from his usual position, right tackle. At 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, Cleveland is one of the biggest linemen on the roster.
[Left tackle Isaiah] Wynn described Cleveland as someone who is “definitely capable of getting movement” and could also mess with defensive linemen mentally because of his size.
“That’s definitely an intimidation factor. You see some teams a guy like him come you’re automatically intimidated,” Wynn said. “But also he can back it up, so it’s great having somebody like him.”
Roquan Smith named a Nagurksi Award finalist
Junior linebacker Roquan Smith finds himself in the running for yet another individual honor. This time it’s the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the best defender in the nation. On Wednesday, Smith was named one of five finalists for the award, along with N.C. State LB Bradley Chubb, cousin of Georgia RB Nick Chubb; Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick; Iowa middle linebacker Josey Jewell; and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
Smith would be the second Georgia Bulldog to win the Nagurski Award, following in the footsteps of Champ Bailey, who won it in 1998. Two other former Bulldogs have been named finalists. Justin Houston was a finalist in 2010 and David Pollack was a finalist twice, in 2002 and 2004.
Georgia’s signature moment of the season
ESPN looked at each top 25 team’s signature moment of the season, and Edward Aschoff’s pick for Georgia may surprise you.
The Bulldogs’ 24-10 win over South Carolina might not have been the prettiest win of the year, but it certainly was the most important. With that win, all Georgia needed to do was hope Ole Miss would upset Kentucky on the road, officially handing the Bulldogs the SEC Eastern Division. Hours later, Ole Miss shocked the Wildcats 37-34 after taking the lead with just 5 seconds remaining.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 16, 2017
Getting it done.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 15, 2017
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 15, 2017
#SECNation will be back on campus this Saturday at Myers Quad!
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) November 15, 2017
Let this video bless your day.
— Animal Life (@MeetAnimals) November 15, 2017
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