In the Mark Stoops era, the Kentucky Wildcats have ended a lot of long-losing streaks that haunted the program for decades.
They finally beat the Florida Gators after 31 straight losses in 2018 and this season beat Florida in Lexington for the first time since 1986.
Last year, UK defeated the rival Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville for the first time since 1984, making a place that had been a house of horrors less daunting moving forward.
One streak they haven’t been able to put to bed is an 11-year skid of losing to the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are the only SEC East opponent Stoops has yet to beat in his nine years as UK head coach as he’s 0-8 against Georgia with four losses in Athens and four in Lexington.
Kentucky has come close to ending that streak as in 2016, Georgia escaped Lexington with a narrow 30-27 win. In 2019 UK’s defense held their own in a game in Athens that was scoreless at halftime before UGA pulled away in the second half and last season, Kentucky’s defense held the Dawgs to just 14 points, but their offense only scoring three in a 14-3 loss.
Now, Kentucky will face Georgia with the stakes higher than ever. Sure, their 2018 meeting in Lexington was an SEC East championship game with the winner securing a division title, but UK had already lost a game to Texas A&M earlier that season and barely got past Vanderbilt and Missouri in the two weeks prior to playing UGA, making it doubtful they’d be able to pull off the upset even with home field.
This season, Georgia enters play as the No. 1 team in the nation, but Kentucky will be an opponent that is the only other unbeaten in the SEC.
In many ways, the Cats and Bulldogs are similar.
Both have top defenses and offenses that have shown flashes of greatness but have had their woes, the difference: Georgia’s defense is the nation’s best and so far, their offense has made more plays.
The Bulldogs have allowed just two touchdowns the entire season; Kentucky allowed three in their 42-21 beatdown of LSU alone. Georgia’s offense ranks eighth in total yards in the SEC, Kentucky’s ranks ninth.
The two teams have plenty of similarities, but Georgia has the elite talent that has made them more dominant and throughout the last 11 years, Kentucky hasn’t been able to get past them.
This Saturday won’t be easy, but if Kentucky can finally get past Georgia and beat the Bulldogs, snapping the losing streak will open doors many felt would be impossible for this UK football program: Doors leading to an SEC East title and perhaps college football playoff conversation.