The Kentucky Wildcats dropped to 3-4 on the season with a 21-0 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Here’s a recap of all the action from rainy Athens.
The Wildcats started the day on defense, allowing Jake Fromm and the Georgia offense to take the ball first. Their drive would start at their own 14 after they bobbled the opening kick-off. After a D’Andre Swift 14 yard run, the Georgia drive fizzled out at their own 37 as the Wildcats defense forced a punt. Kentucky’s offense went to work at their own 20 with Lynn Bowden back under center. The Wildcats would get a quick first down after A.J. Rose and Josh Ali ran for a combined 10 yards, but that would be all as Georgia’s defense stuffed Bowden on third and four to force a punt. After the defense forced a three and out Kentucky’s offense would take over at the Georgia 45 thanks to a 19-yard punt return by Ali. Kentucky would not be able to take advantage, however, as they were stopped at the Georgia 36. The Wildcats planned to go for it fourth, and two but two false start penalties forced a change in plans as Kentucky punted. Kentucky’s defense came through again on Georgia’s ensuing possession as they forced another three and out. The quarter would come to a close after another Kentucky three and out and a Georgia third-down conversion to set them up at their own 30-yard line. Needing a spark, Kentucky turned to their special teams unit where Zach Johnson returned the Bulldog kick-off 57 yards to the UGA 41 yard line.
Score After First Quarter: Kentucky 0, Georgia 0
Kentucky’s defense opened the second quarter with another tremendous defensive series as they forced Georgia into a 3rd and 16 and eventual punt after Deandre Square tackled Demetris Robertson for a seven-yard loss on a screen pass. After another Kentucky three and out, Georgia’s offense finally appeared to find a rhythm on their next possession. Fromm hit George Pickens for a 21 yard gain. On fourth and one from midfield, the Wildcats forced a turn over on downs as a Fromm sneak attempt came up short. Set up at the midfield, Kentucky had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard. They would not be able to cash in, however, as they again went three and out. The half would come to an end after another Georgia punt and Kentucky running out the clock to head to the locker room in a scoreless tie.
Halftime: Kentucky 0, Georgia 0
The Wildcats started the half on offense. Needing to find the scoreboard Kentucky’s run game showed some life. Bowden picked up three straight first downs rushing for a combined 31 yards to the Georgia 31 yard line. However, the drive fizzled out after a holding penalty on Logan Stenberg negated what would’ve been a Kentucky first down inside the Georgia 25 yard line. Thus, instead of potential points, Kentucky again was forced to punt. Georgia’s offense would again go three and out, leading to a punt that would set the Wildcats up at their own 29. The drive would result in another three and out, and this time Max Duffy’s punt was shanked setting up Georgia at the UK 39. That would prove very costly for the Wildcats as Swift would break off a 39-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive to put Georgia ahead 7-0. On the next Kentucky possession, things would go from bad to worse as Georgia’s Richard LeCounte forced and recovered a Bowden fumble to set his team up at the UK 31 yard line. The Bulldogs again would take full advantage of the short field as Brian Herrien scored on an eight-yard touchdown run to put Georgia up 14-0. Needing a spark, Kentucky turned to their special teams unit where Zach Johnson returned the Bulldog kick-off 57 yards to the UGA 41 yard line. This time Kentucky seized advantage as Bowden ran for 21 yards and got 15 more tacked on after a face mask penalty to move Kentucky inside the Georgia 10. The quarter would come to a close with Kentucky facing a third and goal after Chris Rodriguez dropped a would-be touchdown pass from Bowden.
Score After Third Quarter: Georgia 14, Kentucky 0
The fourth quarter opened with Kentucky facing a third and goal at the Georgia eight-yard line. On third down, Kentucky came up short as Bowden fired incomplete. Needing a touchdown, the Cats went for it on fourth down but could not find the end zone as Bowden again threw incomplete, forcing a turnover on downs. With momentum, Georgia began to pull away as Swift and Herrien combined for 66 yards to set up a three-yard Swift score to put Georgia on top 21-0 with 6:24 to play. Looking for something positive, the Wildcats offense began to move the ball as Rose ran for 15 yards, and Bowden took two carries for a combined six yards to move near midfield. Then Bowden finally completed his first pass of the game as he hit Bryce Oliver for a 10 yard gain. Bowden quickly would complete another pass this time to Clevan Thomas to move the Wildcats inside the Georgia 25. The drive would be all for nothing; however, as a holding penalty on Naasir Watkins pushed the Wildcats back 10 yards and eventually led to a turnover on downs. Georgia would go onto run out the clock handing Kentucky their first shutout out of the Mark Stoops era.
Final Score: Georgia 21, Kentucky 0
MVP: D’Andre Swift
The Wildcats again struggled to slow down one of the SEC’s top running backs as D’Andre Swift ran all over the Kentucky defense. Swift ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 8.52 yards per carry as he led the Bulldogs to victory.
HONORABLE MENTION: Yusuf Corker
Despite the loss Yusuf Corker was a huge reason Kentucky’s defense held the Bulldogs from scoring in the first half. The Georgia native recorded 11 total tackles with seven of them solo in his return home as he helped keep Kentucky in the game for much of the afternoon.
Here’s a look at the highlights from today’s action, courtesy of Matthew Loves Ball