Statistically speaking, this shouldn’t be a particularly close game. Phil Steele’s Vegas Power Ratings has Georgia as about an 18.5-point favorite on a neutral field. Sagarin has the Dawgs about a 14-point favorite at Lexington.
It’s always a coach’s goal to make the other team one-dimensional on offense and Kentucky makes that pretty easy. The ‘Cats are last in the conference in passing yards per game and twelfth in passer rating. (In their last game, they were 5-14 in the passing department, for 50 yards and one touchdown.) They do like to run the ball, but other than Ole Miss, there isn’t another defense they’ve dominated.
They’re basically a well-coached bunch that tries to rely on their defense (third in the SEC in defensive yards per play) and screwing up less than the other guy. UK is second in penalty yards per game. (Georgia is last.) UK has won the two games in which it has finished in positive territory in turnover margin and lost all three games in which it hasn’t.
Job one for Georgia, then, is pretty obvious: First thing, do no harm.
Assuming mission accomplished there, my big question of the day is whether Monken embraces Kirby’s inner manball or tries to run some semblance of the passing attack we’ve seen through the first four games to give Bennett an opportunity to work out some of the kinks. I can’t say for sure what we’ll see, but I have to believe Smart saw Missouri run 92 plays against UK last weekend.
As an aside, speaking of Bennett…
Oh, yeah. Today features the number two and number eight teams in the country in punting. Be still, my heart.
All in all, it adds up to a low scoring affair in which Georgia covers. Say somewhere in the 24-7 to 28-10 range. Let’s hope the Dawgs get out with a win and no injuries today.
Feel free to opine about the game in the comments.