What to watch: Kentucky at Georgia

mstory@herald-leader.com,Jen SmithNovember 19, 2011 

Kentucky Wildcats punter Ryan Tydlacka (9) was tackled inside the 5 yard line on fourth down by Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Udom Umoh (4)after Tydlacka mishandled the snap in the first quarter of the University of Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt University football game on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The mishap led to Vandy's first score. Vandy won 38-8. Photo by David Perry | Staff

DAVID PERRY | STAFF

Kentucky (4-6, 1-5 SEC)at No. 13 Georgia (8-2, 6-1 SEC)

When: 12:21 p.m. TV: WKYT-27

Radio: WLAP-AM 630; XM Channel 200; Sirius Premier Package Channel 219

Series: Georgia leads 50-12-2 Line: Georgia by 301/2

Last meeting: Georgia won 44-31 on Oct. 23, 2010 at UK

The keys

The growth of Maxwell Smith

Kentucky's true freshman quarterback showed his inexperience last week against Vanderbilt's package of zone defenses and blitzes. Georgia, which uses a 3-4 front, promises more of the same but with even better athletes. Can the young UK quarterback benefit from last week's experience and show improvement?

Play clean

In the 38-8 debacle at Vanderbilt, UK fumbled a punt attempt that turned the ball over on its own 3-yard-line, lost another fumble on a kickoff return and committed a whopping 10 penalties for 105 yards. To have any chance at derailing Georgia's bid to claim an outright SEC East crown, the Cats cannot have such a messy effort in Athens.

Show some fight

At Vandy, UK did not match the Commodores' energy or urgency levels. Now, Kentucky must score a huge road upset of Georgia to even keep alive hope for a sixth straight bowl. Beating the Bulldogs is almost certainly too much to ask; putting up a fight like the bowl streak actually matters is not.

The mood

Is nearing a full-scale nuclear meltdown. Last week's Music City mauling has the ever-growing club of Joker Phillips critics howling for the second-year head coach's job. This week, an upset for the ages against Georgia is unlikely. But playing well enough in Athens to build some momentum toward ending the now 26-game losing streak to Tennessee in the season finale would be a boost to UK.

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