ATHENS, Ga. — Kentucky couldn't.
For all the talk about the talks, and the team meetings, and of getting back on track, the Cats couldn't. They lost a fourth straight game.
"Tough to swallow," Coach Mark Stoops said after UK's 27-3 loss to Georgia at Sanford Stadium on Saturday. "Took a pretty good beating by Georgia, a very good football team that had their backs against the wall and responded much better than we did."
The Cats' offense finds itself further against the wall after managing a season-low 180 yards of offense. Just three of the Cats' 14 drives had more than five plays and no drive went for longer than 40 yards.
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"When you're not moving the football, it makes it extremely difficult. And then you add in some turnovers, and not good," Stoops continued.
UK only made it into Georgia territory three times.
"We were a no-show today," said quarterback Patrick Towles, who threw for just 96 yards, completing just 38.1 percent of his passes, with two interceptions.
This week will include a lot of "self reflection," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson assured.
"The one thing I'm not going to do is quit," said Dawson, who, like Stoops, hinted that there might be depth chart shakeups this week. "I think you guys know that. We'll figure it out and we'll try to do better. No doubt."
Georgia (6-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) had the ball nearly 15 minutes more than Kentucky in the win, in which the Bulldogs racked up a season-best 300 yards on the ground. That rushing number also happened to be the most UK's defense had given up all season.
"I was very pleased with what happened up front," Georgia Coach Mark Richt said. "It was a line-of-scrimmage game and we won in the trenches today on both sides of the ball."
The Bulldogs, who won their seventh straight over Kentucky, managed 390 yards of total offense. They were led by running back Sony Michel's 24 carries for 165 yards and a touchdown.
"We haven't been in the end zone for awhile now, so it was great to get a touchdown and put some points on the board," said Michel, who had the most individual rushing yards against UK this season. "It was exciting."
The Cats (4-5, 2-5) have three more games — at Vanderbilt and then home games against Charlotte and Louisville — to get the two wins needed to get to a bowl game.
Without starting running back Boom Williams, who injured his elbow against Tennessee last week, the Cats' rushing attack produced an anemic 79 yards.
It only seemed appropriate that Georgia would get its first touchdown in nine quarters on a bizarre fumble recovery for a 28-yard score. The Bulldogs fumbled the handoff before Terry Godwin carried it through the center of the Cats defense to make it 7-0 Georgia six minutes into the game.
After forcing a three-and-out on the opening drive, UK didn't help itself on the second drive with a short 35-yard punt and then a penalty for catch interference on UK special teams.
A few minutes later, special teams issue struck again when Ryan Timmons muffed a punt and Georgia recovered at the Cats' 25-yard line. The UK defense held again and the Bulldogs had to settle for a 22-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
"We need to play good on offense, defense and special teams," Stoops said. "Really didn't play good enough on any side to win."
Kentucky was able to get its only points in the final 1:12 of the first half when Austin MacGinnis hit a 32-yard field goal. The Cats' offense couldn't get a touchdown off of a huge defensive play with a forced fumble at the Georgia 20-yard line.
"We got beat, we got shut out — which, technically we got shut out tonight because defense gave us that three points," Dawson said.
It appeared that the Cats attempted some trickery on the next play, with an onside kick that was recovered by UK but negated by an offsides call.
Turns out even that wasn't what it appeared, with Stoops saying it was just a bad kick by MacGinnis, who is still not 100 percent after a groin injury a few weeks ago.
Georgia had a shot to add three more points in the final minute, but Marshall Morgan's 38-yard field goal missed and the Bulldogs walked into the locker room clutching a 10-3 lead.
Kentucky had a chance to even it up to open the second half but managed to move the ball just 27 yards, and a Wildcat play using Jojo Kemp on fourth-and-2 yielded no gain at midfield.
So the Bulldogs again had short field, and this time capitalized, scoring on a 1-yard run by Michel.
Things only got worse from there for the Cats, who had just 20 plays for 81 yards in the second half as Georgia kept eating away at the clock.
As demoralizing as the loss was, Stoops said there's still more to play for and a lot more work to do.
"Believe me, we're going to go back to work," he said. "The kids will be excited to try to get a victory. Things aren't easy all the time. You've got to put your head down and go to work and grind away."