The Kentucky Wildcats face one of their biggest tests of the season Saturday when they travel to Athens to take on No. 10 Georgia. The Bulldogs are always a tough out, and coming off a home loss last week, they will be looking to prove they still belong in the College Football Playoff conversation.
The Cats seemed to have a quiet confidence about it during Wednesday’s media availability, but knows what Saturday will entail if they are to emerge victorious.
“We are going to have to be very prepared mentally and physically for a 60 minute battle,” Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White told reporters.
Here’s what you need to know about the Bulldogs:
Kirby Smart is in his fourth season leading the pack in Athens, racking up a 37-11 record to this point in his tenure. He served seven seasons as the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama before taking the Georgia job.
The Bulldogs have won the SEC East each of the last two seasons under his leadership, and also made a CFP National Championship Game appearance in 2018.
Quarterback Jake Fromm is one of the best in the SEC, and has made 34 straight starts, an FBS-best for quarterbacks. He had not thrown an interception this year before tossing three in last week’s loss to South Carolina. For the season, he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes for nearly 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns.
While Fromm is top-notch, the stable of running backs the Bulldogs have are the engine of the offense. Behind a dominant offensive line, they’ve ran the ball almost 100 more times than they’ve passed and racked up 6.2 yards per carry, third most in the FBS. D’Andre Swift is the main cog, pacing the group with 573 yards and five touchdowns. He is someone you have to game plan for.
“He’s a really special back… he’s really that complete package,” White said. “It’s a big priority for us to know where he is all over the field.”
When Swift needs a breather, the guys behind him have shown they also can produce. Brian Herrien and Zamir White have combined for 498 yards and six touchdowns in their action.
Seven players have recorded 10 or more receptions for Georgia, including freshman receiver George Pickens, who leads the team with 283 receiving yards. Lawrence Cager, who is tied for the team lead in receptions and touchdowns, is doubtful for the game with shoulder and rib injuries that held him out of the second half and both overtimes versus the Gamecocks. That means more time on the field for Demetris Robertson and Dominick Blaylock.
The Bulldog defense has a reputation for being stout and is living up to that standard again this season. It ranks first in the SEC in both rushing yards per game allowed and points per game allowed.
Linebacker Monty Rice has the most tackles with 38. He’s followed by defensive back J.R. Reed (31) and linebacker Tae Crowder (30). Freshman linebacker Azeez Ojulari is the only player with more than two sacks, with 3.5.
If there is one area where the Georgia defense hasn’t been what it typically is, it’s turnovers. The team has just five interceptions and has forced only two fumbles – they’ve recovered three – through six games.
Kentucky takes on Georgia in Sanford Stadium on Saturday evening. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m and can be viewed on ESPN and the ESPN app.