How Kentucky and Georgia match up for Saturday's game at Sanford Stadium:
The seesaw that is Patrick Towles' Kentucky career has been down the past two weeks. The junior completed only 52 percent (39-of-75) of his passes in losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee with three interceptions and one touchdown. If Towles struggles again at Georgia, it will be interesting to see whether Kentucky goes to backup Drew Barker. Georgia's quarterback situation is in chaos. Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert started the first seven games, but his "game management" became less valuable after star running back Nick Chubb was lost for the season. Faton Bauta started last week against Florida, but his passing numbers were pedestrian (15-of-33 for 154 yards).
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Kentucky standout Boom Williams suffered an elbow injury after four carries against Tennessee and may not be available against Georgia. After Williams got hurt last week, sophomore Mikel Horton ran for 109 yards on 14 carries. Since Nick Chubb's knee injury, Sony Michel has become Georgia's featured back. He ran for 87 yards against Missouri, but had only 45 against Florida. The 5-foot-11, 212-pound sophomore is probably better suited as a change-of-pace back. Keith Marshall, still working his way back to form after tearing an ACL two seasons ago, is now the No. 2 back for the Dawgs.
Dorian Baker's five catches against Tennessee secured his position as UK's leading receiver (42 receptions to Garrett Johnson's 35). Sophomore Jeff Badet caught three balls against the Vols and is UK's third-leading receiver (22 catches). Georgia senior Malcolm Mitchell is one of the best wideouts (39 catches, 565 yards, 4 TDs) in the SEC. True freshman Terry Godwin, a 5-star recruit, had six catches against Missouri and has 22 on the season.
UK freshman C.J. Conrad has 13 catches this season. Many are wondering why Kentucky doesn't throw to him more. Georgia uses three TEs — Jeb Blazevich (8 catches), Jay Rome (4) and Jackson Harris (3).
Of the eight OL Kentucky is rotating, four — tackle Kyle Meadows; guards Ramsey Meyers and Nick Haynes; and utility man Cole Mosier — are sophomores. In SEC play, the UK line has struggled in pass protection. Georgia's veteran offensive line — LT John Theus (43 career starts); RT Kolton Houston (27); RG Greg Pyke (21); C Brandon Kublanow (21) — has been considered a disappointment since star running back Nick Chubb was lost.
Kentucky DT Cory Johnson had a scoop and score from 77 yards out against Tennessee. Almost half of his 30 tackles this season (14) have been TFL. Georgia nose guard Chris Mayes had 6 tackles with a TFL against Florida; DE Sterling Bailey blocked a Gators PAT and had 6 tackles.
On this week's UK depth chart, senior Khalid Henderson has moved back into contention with Ryan Flannigan to start at WLB. Henderson had 2 TFL against Tennessee. Georgia senior ILB Jake Ganus, who transferred from UAB after it temporarily dropped football, leads the Bulldogs with 55 tackles.
With redshirt freshman safety Mike Edwards (8 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Tennessee) and true freshman corner Derrick Baity joining true frosh CB Chris Westry on the top line of the Kentucky depth chart, the Cats will have three first-year players starting in Athens. Georgia safety Dominick Sanders had four tackles in the second half against Florida after sitting out the first half due to a targeting penalty against Missouri. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC against the pass, allowing 183 yards a game.
Kentucky had a special teams meltdown against Tennessee, allowing both a punt return TD and a kick-off return TD. That is concerning because Georgia's Isaiah McKenzie returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns against the Cats last season. With McKenzie battling injury this season, Reggie Davis has been Georgia's primary return man. He had a 70-yard punt return TD at Tennessee. Dawgs kicker Marshall Morgan is solid (10-14 field goals) but Georgia's punting has been so mediocre that backup quarterback Brice Ramsey has become the No. 1 punter.
Georgia 21, Kentucky 13