UK Football

Mark Story: Three key questions about Saturday's Kentucky-Georgia game

Kentucky running back Mikel Horton was chased by Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers on Nov. 1.
Kentucky running back Mikel Horton was chased by Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers on Nov. 1. Herald-Leader

Three key questions

1. Which team best channels anger into performance? Kentucky laid a dinosaur egg last week at Missouri, its offense struggling mightily (258 total yards) in a 20-10 loss. Georgia may have seen the SEC East championship and its hopes to appear in the College Football Playoff doused by Florida, the Gators gashing the Bulldogs defense for 418 rushing yards and winning 38-20. The single biggest factor in Saturday's matchup may be which team takes the disappointment of last week and turns it into motivational fuel for this week.

2, Which Patrick Towles will show up? Two weeks ago, against No. 1 Mississippi State, the Kentucky quarterback played the best game of his college career, throwing for 390 yards and two TDs and running for 76 yards and two scores. Last week, at Missouri, Towles played his worst game of the season, completing only 19 of 37 passes for 158 yards and having a net zero yards rushing on 11 attempts. Obviously, to have a chance to claim bowl eligibility in the final home game of the season, Kentucky needs its sophomore quarterback to play far better than he did at Mizzou.

3. Can Kentucky slow down Georgia's running game? The absence of Todd Gurley since Oct. 4 because of NCAA-mandated suspension may be catching up with Georgia. The Bulldogs' rushing yardage has declined (from 367 yards against Troy to 141 yards vs. Florida) for six straight games. Yet if form holds, Kentucky should be a prime chance for Georgia to get its ground game revved back up. The Cats, even after holding Missouri to 156 yards on the ground, are 13th in the SEC against the run (allowing 188.6 yards a game). To have a chance, Kentucky has to play stout against the Georgia run game.

The mo od

Is becoming a bit downcast now that a 5-1 Kentucky start has morphed into a 5-4 UK record. Of the last four Kentucky-Georgia games in Commonwealth Stadium, three of them (two Bulldogs wins, one UK victory) have been decided by five points or less. Even allowing for how talented Georgia is, the final UK home game of 2014 may represent Kentucky's best remaining chance to get the sixth win that would make the Cats eligible for postseason play.

MARK STORY

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