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Kentucky (2-8) at Georgia (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sanford Stadium (92,746) -- Athens, Georgia. Television: ESPN 2 or ESPN U. Home Record: UK 2-4, UGA 4-1. Away Record: UK 0-3, UGA 1-3. Neutral Record: UK 0-1, UGA 1-0. Conference Record: UK 0-6, UGA 4-3. Series Record: Georgia leads, 52-12-2.
GAME NOTES: After losing in heartbreaking fashion last week, the Georgia Bulldogs will attempt to get back on track on Saturday night when they host the Kentucky Wildcats in an SEC showdown at Sanford Stadium.
Kentucky has had a disappointing campaign in Mark Stoops' first year as head coach, going 2-8 overall with an 0-6 mark in the SEC. The Wildcats dropped a 22-6 decision at Vanderbilt last Saturday for their 14th consecutive conference loss.
Georgia won back-to-back games at the start of November to be reintroduced to the AP poll at No. 25, but it promptly fell from the ranks following a 43-38 loss at Auburn, in which the Tigers converted a Hail Mary on a 4th-and-long with less than a minute to play, resulting in an improbable game-winning 73- yard touchdown. The Bulldogs, a national championship hopeful at the beginning of the season, have not lived up to those lofty expectations, as they sit with a 6-4 record and a 4-3 ledger in the SEC, although all four setbacks have come against nationally-ranked teams (Clemson, South Carolina, Missouri, Auburn).
The Bulldogs have dominated Kentucky over the years, 52-12-2. Georgia won year season in Lexington, 29-24, for its third straight win in the series.
The Wildcats' standing in the SEC comes as no surprise considering their lackluster offense, which ranks 13th in the league in yardage (349.2 ypg) and 12th in scoring (21.5 ppg).
Jalen Whitlow has taken over as the full-time starter at quarterback, and he is completing 62 percent of his passes for 1,035 yards with five touchdowns while adding strong rushing totals as well (464 yards, six TDs). He has five interceptions in 158 attempts this season, although four of those came in last week's loss to Vanderbilt.
Whitlow's primary target is Javess Blue, as he has caught 35 passes for 451 yards and two touchdowns. Blue also acts as the primary kick returner with 356 yards on 16 attempts.
In addition to Whitlow's rushing total, the Wildcats have also received positive contributions from Raymond Sanders (464 yards, three TDs) and Jojo Kemp (455 yards, three TDs) on the ground.
Kentucky's defense has not been aided by the poor play of the offense, but it has nonetheless underperformed as well, allowing 28.8 points per game while intercepting just one pass this season.
Avery Williamson has logged a team-high 88 tackles and has recovered a pair of fumbles. Alvin Dupree (9.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks) and Za'Darius Smith (6.0 sacks) provide a strong pass rush.
Despite suffering countless injuries this season, the Georgia offense has still performed well, averaging 35.8 points and 483.9 yards per game, thanks mostly to its world-class quarterback.
Aaron Murray has been outstanding in his senior season, as he has completed nearly 64 percent of his passes for 2,892 yards with 29 touchdowns (seven rushing) and only eight interceptions. Murray has established himself as the most prolific passer in SEC history during his farewell campaign, as he holds the conference record for career passing yards, total offense, passing touchdowns, completions and pass attempts.
Todd Gurley was held out of three games earlier in the season with an ankle injury, but when healthy he is as productive as almost any back in the country, racking up 704 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games.
Murray's receiving corps has been decimated by injuries as well. Of the team's top six pass-catchers, only Rantavious Wooten (24 receptions, 383 yards, five TDs) has appeared in all 10 games. Chris Conley leads the unit in both catches (42) and yards (442), while scoring four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have not lived up to the hype, as they rank in the bottom half of the SEC in both scoring defense (30.2 ppg) and total defense (386.9 ypg), while creating only nine takeaways.
Ramik Wilson is one of the SEC's top tacklers with 110, nine of which have come behind the line of scrimmage. The strength of the defense is in the front seven, where Jordan Jenkins (10.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks), Ray Drew (8.0 TFL, 6.0 sacks), Garrison Smith (6.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks) and Leonard Floyd (6.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks) are all having solid seasons.
Georgia's heartbreaking loss to Auburn was a microcosm of its difficult season, and a letdown in this matchup is certainly possible if it starts looking forward to the season being over, but the Bulldogs are far too talented to drop a home contest against arguably the SEC's worst team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 41, Kentucky 20
11/20 10:42:59 ET
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