Game day: No. 1 Georgia 30, No. 11 Kentucky 13
Click below to learn more about Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky-Georgia football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.
Five things you need to know about # 11 Kentucky football’s 30-13 loss to the # 1 Georgia Bulldogs:
1. Kentucky got Georgia thrown – and paid off. Since Kirby Smart became Georgia coach in 2016, the Bulldogs have punished Kentucky in the race game. In the Bulldogs’ five games against the UK before 2021, the Dawgs averaged 275.4 rushing yards and had at least one 100+ yard back run in each game.
So it made sense for the British defensive mastermind to enter Saturday’s game with a plan to force Georgia to fly.
Kirby Smart’s No.1 Bulldogs’ balance sign, Stetson Bennett and Georgia’s tight ends made the Cats pay.
Bennett, once a walk-on and ostensibly the Dawgs’ backup quarterback, put on a balanced and polished performance. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Georgia’s tight ends were responsible for eight of Georgia’s catches for 158 yards. Freshman Brock Bowers, the star of Georgia’s 2021 offense, caught five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Darnell Washington caught two passes for 37 yards, while John FitzPatrick had a reception for 20 yards.
The UK held Georgia below 200 yards (166) for the first time in the era of smart coaches.
It didn’t matter.
2. The Big Blue Wall has found its place. As stellar as Georgia’s defensive metrics came into play, I thought the UK veterans offensive line could open holes to run – at least a little – on anyone.
This turned out not to be the case.
Georgia dominated Kentucky on the line of scrimmage, holding the Cats to 51 net yards with 27 carries.
British star running back Christopher Rodriguez – one of two full-backs to run over 100 yards (108 yards on 20 carries) against Georgia in 2020 – was limited to 7 yards on seven carries.
Kentucky’s first rusher, Kavosiey Smoke, had 14 yards on five carries.
Everything the UK does offensively hinges on the Cats’ ability to lead the ball.
Considering how well Georgia fought off the Wildcats’ hasty attack, Kentucky had no chance of winning the game.
3. Did Lévis play well. Considering the level of defense the Kentucky quarterback was facing, Levis did a good job.
The Penn State transfer completed 32 of 42 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Kentucky also had at least four abandoned assists in the game.
Levis was unable to injure Georgia with the deep ball, but for the second game in a row he did not return the ball and was precise in where he placed his shots.
Considering how he’s played the past two weeks against LSU and Georgia, Levis could be sitting on a big second half of the season after next week’s open date.
4. No breakthrough for Mark Stoops this week. With the defeat, Stoops failed to join Bear Bryant, Charlie Bradshaw and Rich Brooks as Britain’s chiefs with wins over No.1-ranked opponents.
Stoops is now 1-14 against top 10 opponents as Britain’s head coach (victory came earlier this season against Florida, then No.10).
Stoops are now 55-51 as Kentucky’s head coach and still need six more wins to overtake Bear Bryant (60-23-5) as the most successful boss in UK history.
The current Wildcats coach is now two losses behind Bill Curry (26-52) for the most losses suffered by a Kentucky boss.
5. Cats denied a new SEC East award. With the loss, Kentucky has now lost 12 straight games to Georgia.
Had the Wildcats been victorious, the UK would have won their most recent contest with every rival in the SEC East for the first time since the conference was split into divisions in 1992.
Kentucky also failed in their attempt to become only the fifth team in school history to start a season with seven straight wins.
For their battle with No. 1 Georgia for the head of the SEC East, Kentucky wore silver chrome helmets, white jerseys with blue numbers and letters, and white pants.
Since the start of the 2015 season, the UK are now 2-2 in silver chrome helmets with all-white uniforms.
This story was originally published October 16, 2021 7:13 pm.