If you had “Georgia will score fewer points against Kentucky than it did in last year’s downpour” in the pool, congrats. If you doubled down on that after the Dawgs opened the game with a 12-play, all-run, scoring drive, congrats again.
Granted, it really shouldn’t have wound up that way. Bennett’s first pick blew up a sure scoring drive, special teams screwed up a long field goal attempt and LeCounte blew a pick-six opportunity that hit him right in the bread basket.
That being said, UK never threatened after Georgia grabbed an early lead. And after the lead went to eleven after the half, it almost seemed like it never intended to try. The ‘Cats ran 31 plays in the second half and gained a total of 80 yards. They only crossed midfield once.
After Stetson’s second pick, it seemed the coaches settled on the strategy that the only way to win was not to let Stetson play. It worked, too.
On to this week’s bullet points…
- If you’re gonna manball, you’d better have a running game. Fortunately, the offensive line saw to that. They turned in their best effort of the season run blocking. They also didn’t allow a sack, although Ericson made me a little nervous there after he came it to play right guard.
- I think at this point it’s pretty obvious that Zamir White is one of those backs who plays better once he gets a lather up. Fortunately, they decided to feed the beast. He ran hard, and, more importantly, he ran smart. The touchdown run was pretty amusing, if only because it almost seemed like he stumbled as he realized how clear he was.
- Another good game for Cook, doubters. I loved how hard he ran on his first carry and his long reception was a real beauty as he cleared out of the backfield and gave Bennett an easy target.
- When you only have nine total receptions on the day, there probably aren’t going to be a lot of things to say about the receivers. The tight ends had a good day… blocking. Washington’s catch was terrific, but he and McKitty should have had a few more, as they were frequently open.
- I’ve written enough about Stetson already, except to state the obvious: manball or no manball, Georgia won’t beat good teams if he remains turnover-prone.
- The d-line took a hit when Davis left the game, but you could see it stabilize during that ridiculous 19-play drive that culminated in Kentucky’s only score of the day. The young ‘uns forced to play more than expected did okay.
- Which leads me to mention I like Kentucky’s offensive line, especially in the run game. They’re feisty, well-coached and know how to hold (that’s a compliment, really).
- One reason I know the replacements for Davis and Rochester did alright was because Nokobe Dean had a lot of tackles on the day, which is how that defense is supposed to work.
- And one reason Kentucky had the success it did in the ground game — and to the extent it kept Georgia’s offense off the field, it was successful — was because I saw a lot of missed tackles out there. Richard LeCounte having a lot of tackles on the day isn’t how that defense is supposed to work.
- One thing I like about Lanning is that he stays aggressive, even when the other offense isn’t so much. Four sacks on a day when I think Gatewood only attempted one relatively deep throw (that was, in fact, blown up by the pass rush).
- Special teams did alright except for the poor snap on the long field goal attempt. Not that there was much for them to do in a game with no returns. Camarda outplayed last year’s Ray Guy award winner, for what that’s worth.
- Between Kirby’s wishes and Bennett’s carelessness, Todd Monken walked a helluva tightrope. And did well. The running game gets better every week. There are still open receivers running all over the place. The game planning is solid; if only personnel could capitalize a little better on it.
- Kirby’s post-game comments seemed almost happy, and I have the feeling he’d take games like this for the rest of his coaching career, even if they don’t suit the fan base. I do give him credit for keeping things on an even keel as players started dropping as the game progressed. On the other hand, calling for a very conservative game plan on offense played right into Stoops’ hand and could have made for a shakier day with another Georgia turnover or two.
- That being said, it was an excellent occasion to avoid getting called for penalties.
- My biggest disappointment of the game? Only hearing Kavosiey Smoke’s name called once.
It wasn’t a game where we learned anything new about this team. Given that Georgia was coming off a bye week, that’s a bit disappointing. But not as disappointing as we’re likely to feel if Bennett can’t get his act together this week, turnover-wise. Stay tuned.