NCAAF: No. 1 Georgia meets No. 11 Kentucky in battle of unbeatens
No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 Kentucky each will look to take a major step toward a Southeastern Conference East Division title in a game with College Football Playoff implications between undefeated teams on Saturday in Athens, Ga.
The Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0) are coming off a season in which they failed to win the SEC East for the first time in four years. The Wildcats (6-0, 4-0) are off to their best start since 1950 and have never won a division title.
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“This game speaks for itself in what it means and what’s at stake,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters.
Georgia’s average of 39.8 points per game are 22.3 more than the 17.5 points on average the Wildcats have allowed. The Bulldogs’ average of 432.5 yards per game also is 127.5 more than Kentucky has given up on average this season.
Conversely, Kentucky is averaging 410 yards per game, which is 206.5 more than the Bulldogs have yielded on average this season. Georgia’s defense has allowed only three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 239-33 after a 34-10 win at then-No. 18 Auburn last week. The Tigers took a 3-0 lead on their first possession before Georgia scored the game’s next 24 points en route to the victory.
Georgia rolled up 432 yards of offense and held Auburn to 46 rushing yards on 29 carries.
“You see why they’re ranked No. 1 in the country,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops told reporters. “They have an incredible defense, are doing good things on offense and are a complete football team.”
Kentucky has its highest ranking since the 2018 season after it cruised to a 42-21 win over visiting LSU on Saturday. The Wildcats put up 475 yards of offense behind quarterback Will Levis’ three touchdown passes and Chris Rodriguez Jr., who rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Georgia has won its past 11 games against Kentucky, including outscoring the Wildcats 35-3 the past two games combined. Kentucky’s most recent win over Georgia at Sanford Stadium came in 2009.
Kentucky will lean heavily on Levis, who has thrown for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns — with six interceptions — to get the ball to receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (37 catches, 527 yards, four TDs). Rodriguez has been terrific through six games, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, having run for 759 yards and five touchdowns on 120 carries.
Georgia leads the nation in total defense (201.2 ypg), passing defense (137 ypg) and scoring defense, as its 5.5 per-game average is nearly seven points fewer than Cincinnati and Clemson, who are tied for second at 12.2. Georgia also is fourth in rushing defense (64.2 ypg).
The Bulldogs’ biggest question, as it has been for the past month, is at quarterback. Stetson Bennett has started the past two games in place of JT Daniels, who has been sidelined with a strained oblique muscle.
Bennett went 14-of-21 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns against Auburn. He has completed 69.4 percent of his passes (43 for 62) this season while throwing for 746 yards and eight touchdowns, with two interceptions.
“I don’t think the team has ever lacked confidence in Stetson,” Smart said. “Within this team there’s a belief that Stetson is a winner.”
Zamir White, who has rushed for 354 yards and six touchdowns on 71 carries, and James Cook, who has 245 yards and two scores on 41 carries, power a Georgia ground game that averages 197.2 yards per game.
–Field Level Media
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