Mark Story

Struggling Kentucky offense drowns on a rainy night in Georgia

Instant analysis (gleaned from the ESPN game telecast) of Kentucky’s 21-0 loss to Georgia:

How the game was won

A shanked Kentucky punt and a lost UK fumble gave No. 10 Georgia two short-field touchdowns in the third quarter and allowed the Bulldogs to break away from a scoreless halftime tie.

Game balls

1. D’Andre Swift. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound Georgia tailback proved once again to be a Cat killer, running for 179 yards and two touchdowns. In his career, Swift has run for 401 yards and averaged 9.1 yards a carry vs. UK.

2. Georgia defense. A high-level SEC defense showed the limitations of what is possible with a wide receiver playing quarterback.

3. Lynn Bowden. The Kentucky wide receiver who is playing quarterback (17 carries, 99 yards rushing; 2-of-15 passing for 17 yards) fought with everything he had.

4. Yusuf Corker. The UK safety (11 tackles) continues to be a physical presence in the middle of the field.

Reasons for worry

1. Kentucky miscues. A bad punt, a lost fumble and way too many penalties (seven for 60 yards) in crucial situations did in any hope of a Wildcats upset.

2. UK passing attack. There wasn’t one. That is not surprising for a team using a wideout at QB. Counting an open week, Kentucky has bought Sawyer Smith three straight weeks to get healthy. With UK needing at least three wins from its final five games to achieve bowl eligibility, will the graduate transfer quarterback be healthy enough to give the Wildcats a passing game?

3. Dropped touchdown passes. Kentucky redshirt freshman Chris Rodriguez dropped what would have been a TD pass from Lynn Bowden. By my count, UK has now dropped four potential touchdown receptions this season.

Key number(s)

Ten and 25. Georgia has now beaten Kentucky 10 times in a row. With UK having recently ended long losing streaks vs. Tennessee (26 games, snapped in 2011) and Florida (31 games, snapped in 2018), this year was the first since 1994 — 25 years ago — that UK did not enter the season with a double-digit loss streak vs. an SEC opponent.

Fashion police

For the first time this season, Kentucky wore blue helmets, white jerseys with blue letters and numbers and blue pants. UK is now 3-6 since the start of the 2015 season when wearing that specific color/apparel combination.

Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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