No. 1 Georgia hosts No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
For Kentucky, this is the biggest game of the year. Georgia, with its No. 1 ranking, will receive Kentucky’s absolute best shot when the SEC East rivals meet in Sanford Stadium.
Georgia is a heavy favorite to win this game. The Bulldogs are favored by 23.5 points.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Georgia wins this game. But can Kentucky keep it close? If you’re placing bets, you may want to consider these points before betting on Georgia to cover.
1. Kentucky's defense is no joke
Oct. 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky; LSU Tigers quarterback Max Johnson (14) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky has the nation’s 18th-ranked defense, giving up just 305 yards per game. Obviously it does not compare to Georgia’s No. 1 defense, which gives up only 203 YPG!!, but these Wildcats are for real.
They’re allowing an average of 17.5 points per game (again, UGA is allowing 5.5!!).
This is a real test for the Georgia offense that has tons of injuries. But remember, Auburn’s defense actually ranked higher in some categories prior to playing UGA. Look how that turned out.
Expect Georgia to run early and often, but this is going to be an absolute fight.
2. Georgia's injury list just keeps growing
Sept. 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback J.T. Daniels (18) during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia’s injury report is getting longer each week. And these are just the guys who are considered questionable.
J.T. Daniels (lat injury) is still healing, but is getting closer to playing
Starting offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer went down with an injury in the first half vs. Auburn. It does not sound too bad, and he may be back vs Kentucky
Starting defensive back Christopher Smith left the Auburn game with a shoulder injury. His injury also does not sound too bad, and he may also be back
Starting cornerback Ameer Speed did not make the trip to Auburn. Smart said the starter was injured in practice.
Linebacker Trezmen Marshall missed the Auburn game. He’s nursing a knee injury
WR Jermaine Burton did not play vs. Auburn due to a groin injury
WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint has a bad ankle
WR Dominick Blaylock (hamstring)
WR Arian Smith (shin)
RB Kenny McIntosh missed the Auburn game. He was nursing a hamstring injury
3. Georgia is ranked No. 1. That means something to its opponents
Sept. 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (95) and Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) celebrate after a play against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia is ranked No. 1 in both the AP Top 25 and the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.
Being No. 1 is cool, but remember, everybody wants to beat the No. 1 team in America.
Texas A&M just did it, and, well, it was awesome. The whole country will be cheering for Kentucky on Saturday, and the UK players and coaches know it. Expect Georgia to get everybody’s absolute best shot from here.
4. Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez is legit
Oct. 2, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky; Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field. Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez leads the SEC in rushing yards with 768, which is fifth in the nation.
Georgia’s rushing defense ranks fourth in the nation, giving up 66.5 yards per game on the ground.
Auburn’s Tank Bigsby failed to get anything going against Georgia last week, so it will be interesting to see how Rodriguez does.
5. This is a disciplined, focused and tough Kentucky team
Oct. 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops looks at a replay on the scoreboard during the first quarter against the LSU Tigers at Kroger Field. Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
This is a laser focused Kentucky team. The Wildcats have been one of the most disciplined teams in America when it comes to penalties, committing an average of 4 penalties and 40 penalty yards per game. That’s 17th best in America.
They’re simply dialed in and playing tough football. Look what they did to Florida. They beat the Gators at home for the first time since 1986.
Kirby Smart on Kentucky’s physicality:
“They have always been one of the most physical games, if not the most physical game we’ve played in. I don’t think the rest of the world understands the physicality that their offensive line has played with. Their run game. Their defensive line has been enormous in terms of size. Just a different type than maybe when you play against Arkansas or even Auburn. They strike blockers.”