Georgia football report card: Bulldogs pass physical Kentucky test
Kirby Smart talked about wanting to get “from Point A to Point B” leading up to Kentucky, and that’s about where it sits after the 14-3 win on Saturday.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (4-1) played power football against the Wildcats (2-4), grinding out yet another SEC win with a trip to Jacksonville to play Florida on deck.
“We came in with the mind set that we wanted to score every single possession we got the ball and do it by any means necessary,” Smart said, “Whether that was run the ball, throw the ball, you take what they give you. You know? And that’s what we were doing.”
The pass game was efficient, but there were two interceptions and what appeared to be limitations.
The Georgia defense, meanwhile, limited Kentucky to just 3 points. It’s the second time in five games it denied its opponent a touchdown.
Still, there were also costly injuries. This game was a win, but the day could amount to simply too many losses.
Here’s a look at how Georgia graded out, by position, in one writer’s opinion:
Stetson Bennett was 9-of-13 passing for 131 yards with two interceptions and had 3 carries for 9 yards and a touchdown. Bennett also had a fumble that a teammate fell on. It was only Bennett’s fourth start, and Kentucky is an above average defense, but there’s work to be done here for the position to get up to par.
Running backs (B)
The backs often didn’t get hit until they were past the line of scrimmage, and Zamir White was the big benefactor with a career-high 136 yards on 26 carries including a season-long 22-yard run. James Cook had 6 carries for 39 yards, and freshman Kendall Milton had 8 carries for 31 yards. A good, but not great, day.
A very quiet day with Kearis Jackson leading the way with 3 catches for 25 yards (on 3 targets) and Jermaine Burton making 1 catch for 11 yards (on 2 targets). Tight end Darnell Washington had one catch for 33 yards. Hard to say how good the downfield blocking was, but the longest run was 22 yards.
Offensive line (A-)
This unit continues to impress, and it got a very good push against the Kentucky front seven throughout the game. The Georgia backs rarely got hit behind the line, and Stetson Bennett had all sorts of time to throw and was not sacked.
Defensive line (B)
It’s two games in a row where it has appeared the Georgia defensive line has gotten beat in the trenches, as the Kentucky offensive line lived up to the hype. Key injuries to Jordan Davis and Julian Rochester had much to do with this, and now freshman Jalen Carter will be challenged to live up to his hype and learn better technique. Sacks for Travon Walker, and outside backers Jermaine Johnson and Adam Anderson.
Nakobe Dean had a team-high 14 tackles and a QB hurry, a strong effort considering what happened in the trenches and the early injury to Quay Walker. Senior Monty Rice came off the bench to record three tackles and a forced fumble.
Kentucky’s longest pass when for 11 yards, and first-time starter Joey Gatewood was 15-of-25 passing for 91 yards. Richard LeCounte was the MVP with 13 tackles and a clutch fumble recovery. Christopher Smith came on in relief of injured Lewis Cine and had four tackles. Tyson Campbell had three tackles in run support.
Special Teams (A-)
Jack Podlesny had a 53-yard field goal blocked. It was clearly a miss-kick, as Podlesny most always gets good height. Jake Camarda punted twice, booming a 54 harder and 41 yarder to average 47.5 yards per punt. There were no returns for either team.
One of Georgia’s team sayings is “It takes what it takes,” and for the Bulldogs it’s one game at a time. Getting the run game on track was key, as was ensuing that playmakers George Pickens and Kenny McIntosh were able to be rested and healthy for Florida. The injuries on defense could prove costly next Saturday in Florida.
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