Kentucky at Georgia
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
TV: SEC Network (play-by-play Dave Neal; analysis Matt Stinchcomb; sideline Kayce Smith)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 191, Sirius Channel 145
Records: UK 4-4 (2-4 SEC); Georgia 5-3 (3-3)
Series: Georgia leads 54-12-2, and has won five straight.
Last meeting: Georgia won 63-31 on Nov. 8, 2014, in Commonwealth Stadium
Favorite: Georgia by 14 points
THREE KEY QUESTIONS
1. Who is more fragile — UK or Georgia?
After a promising 4-1 start, Kentucky has lost three in a row and has been uncompetitive in losses to Mississippi State (42-16) and Tennessee (52-21). Georgia, the preseason pick to win the SEC East, has lost three of its last four and has not scored a touchdown in its past two games. The wolves are howling for Mark Richt's job. Amidst all the swirling negativity, the game's outcome could ride on which team can play with some belief and emotional fire.
2. Can the Cats get off to a fast start?
Given the rampant unhappiness around the Georgia program, a quick UK break from the starting gate could unleash the Sanford Stadium boo birds on the Bulldogs. It's an open question whether UK, perhaps playing without star running back Boom Williams (day-to-day with an elbow injury), has the offensive firepower to singe Georgia early.
3. Can the Kentucky defense make Georgia go to the air?
Coming into the season, Georgia's offense was built around the idea of a punishing running game featuring Nick Chubb that would take pressure off an unheralded quarterback by setting up play-action passing. Since star running back Chubb's season ended with a knee injury at Tennessee, Missouri has held Georgia to 120 yards rushing and no touchdowns. Florida held the Dawgs to 69 yards rushing and no TDs. If Kentucky can similarly stymie Georgia's ground game, it puts a ton of pressure on the Bulldogs quarterback — whether it's Greyson Lambert, Faton Bauta or Brice Ramsey — to make plays.
Is concerned. Kentucky's poor play against Mississippi State and Tennessee has taken most of the good feeling out of what had begun as a hopeful season. The good news for UK is that there are still eminently winnable games left on its schedule. On paper, Georgia should not be one of those. But, with the Bulldogs reeling, you just don't know if they will "show up" Saturday. Even if UK does not win in Athens, it needs to play well enough to emerge with some of its swagger restored for the final three games — at Vanderbilt, Charlotte and Louisville. How Kentucky fares in those will determine how we perceive the Wildcats' season.