Photo by Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Outlasts Cats in Athens, 21-0

October 19, 2019
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A rainy evening in Athens witnessed a defense stalemate for 2.5 quarters of football as the Cats and Bulldogs traded punts well into the third quarter. It was eventually two short fields for Georgia that broke the game open, giving the Bulldogs touchdowns on drives of 39 and 31 yards. Coach Mark Stoops said postgame that he could probably point to 3 or 4 plays that changed the tune of the game and allowed Georgia to open it up. 

Both offenses combined for 52 yards passing on the night, a testament to the part the rain played in both teams’ game plans. D’Andre Swift ran for 179 of Georgia’s 235 rush yards, and Lynn Bowden accounted for 102 of Kentucky’s 160 rush yards. Kentucky took a step back on 3rd down from last week, converting just 3 of 13. The defense, however, held Georgia to similar numbers - the Bulldogs converted 3 of 12 themselves. The Cats also trailed in time of possession, holding the ball for 26:32 versus Georgia’s 33:28. 

 

First Quarter

Kentucky got off to a strong start after Gegorgia received the kickoff. Pinning Georgia on their own 14 yard line to begin the drive, the Cats defense allowed one 1st down run by Swift before holding the Bulldogs to 9 more yards and forcing the punt. The Cats took over at their own 25 yard line.

Aj Rose got the first carry, and took it for 7 yards. Josh Ali followed it up with a 3 yard rush for the 1st down. Penalties came to haunt UK again, as they were called for a false start. Bowden ran for 11 yards on 2nd and 15, but the Cats were unable to recover after that and were forced to punt, giving Georgia possession at their own 9 yard line.

Kentucky’s defense continued to stifle Georgia, allowing completions of just 3 and -1 yards before a third down incompletion forced the Bulldogs to punt from deep in their own territory. Josh Ali continued the momentum, fielding the punt and running it back 19 yards to give the Cats offense the ball on Georgia’s 46 yard line. 

Kentucky moved 8 yards on three downs before back to back false starts on 4th and 2 forced the Cats to punt. The stalemate continued, Georgia going 3-and-out on their next series after gaining 9 yards. Kentucky continued the trend, going 3-and-out after gaining 7 yards on rushes by Kavosiey Smoke and Chris Rodriguez. Smoke was injured on first down, walking off and then being evaluated in the locker room for a shoulder injury.

Georgia got the ball moving on their next drive as they finished out the first quarter, gaining two first downs before eventually stalling out thanks to a loss of 7 yards on 1st down forced by DeAndre Square. The Bulldogs punted from their own 36 early in the second quarter.

 

Second Quarter

After a touchback on Georgia punt, the Cats started on their own 20, but were still unable to get in a rhythm, gaining just 3 yards on 1st and 2nd down. Bowden threw deep to Ahmad Wagner on 3rd down looking for either the big gain or a drive-saving pass interference call, but Wagner was unable to hang onto it with Georgia’s Eric Stokes in tight coverage. 

Georgia came out hot on first down with Fromm’s pass to George Pickens going for 22 yards, but the Kentucky defense bounced right back. Georgia gained 9 yards on the first 3 downs and was initially given the first down, but after a video review it was ruled 4th down, and the Bulldogs went for it. Kentucky’s defense held up on the sneak attempt by Fromm and the Cats offense took over at the 50 yard line.

Lynn Bowden was sacked on first down, putting Kentucky behind the chains from the start, and the Cats couldn’t get anything going, punting after netting 5 yards on the drive. Georgia took possession on their own 11 yard line, and moved 23 yards in two plays thanks to a 20 yard run up the sideline by D’Andre Swift. On the next play Fromm fumbled but recovered his own ball for a loss of 9, but Georgia wasn’t done on this drive. Swift took off again, this time for 23 yards, to get the ball out to the 48 yard line. The Kentucky defense tightened up at that point, and with the help of an offensive holding call against Georgia, the Cats forced yet another punt from the Bulldogs.

The Cats got the ball with 1:03 left in the half and stuck with the ground game, gaining a first down with seconds left. The Cats kneeled out the first half, going to the locker room 0-0 and receiving the ball in the second half. It was Georgia’s first scoreless half since playing at Alabama in 1991.

 

Third Quarter

The Cats opened the second half showing signed of life on offense. Aj Rose took the first carry 4 yards, and Bowden followed it up with runs of 9 yards, 11 yards, and 11 yards to move into Georgia territory. Runs for 1 and 3 yards by Rose gave Kentucky 3rd and 6, but a holding penalty on Lynn Bowden’s 7 yard run negated the first down and the Cats were forced to punt after an incompletion to Wagner on 3rd and 16. 

The Cats defense continued to stifle Jake Fromm and the Georgia offense, forcing yet another 3-and-out. Josh Ali fumbled Georgia’s punt, but Brandin Echols came in to recover the ball and save Kentucky’s possession. 

Kentucky failed to get the ball moving again, losing 5 yards on the drive thanks to another holding penalty. Max Duffy finally faltered on his phenomenal season, shanking the kick. it went 15 yards before landing out of bounds, giving Georgia favorable field position. It only took the Bulldogs one play, as Swift got loose on the right edge and ran 39 yards for the touchdown. 

Rodriguez was deep to receive the fair catch for Kentucky, giving them the ball on the 25 yard line to start the drive. The Cats continued to struggle offensively, going 6 yards on 2 plays before Georgia forced Lynn Bowden to fumble and recovered the ball, giving the Bulldogs possession at Kentucky’s 31 yard line. 

Georgia took advantage of their starting field position, this time riding the legs of Brian Herrion, who carried the ball on 4 of 5 plays, including the 8-yard score to give Georgia a 14-0 lead.

The Cats were not done yet, however, as Zach Johnson fielded Blankenship’s kickoff and ran it back 57 yards to give the offense the ball on Georgia’s 40 yard line. After a one yard gain on 1st down, Bowden took off for a 21 yard gain on 2nd down. Georgia was called for a facemask at the end of the play, moving Kentucky to Georgia’s 9 yard line with a fresh set of downs. Looking to be in good scoring position, Bowden went to Chris Rodriguez, first with a handoff that gained one yard and then with a pass attmept that Rodriguez couldn’t quite haul in. With 3rd down upcoming, the third quarter came to a close.

 

Fourth Quarter

Bowden went to the air on 3rd and 4th downs, but was unable to conenct with first Ahmad Wagner, then Josh Ali in the end zone. The Cats came away scoreless, giving Georgia the ball on their own 9 yard line. 

Georgia continued pounding it on the ground, running the clock down from 14:42 to 6:24 on the ensuing drive. They rode both Brian Herrion and D’Andre Swift as they pushed the ball down the field, impeded once by an illegal substitution penalty that got them behidn the chains on 2nd down. Kentucky forced 4th down, but could not hold, giving up a 7 yard pass from From to George Pickens. Georgia continued their clock-eating drive down the field, eventually sending Swift into the endzone for a 3 yard touchdown that put Georgia up 21-0 and iced the game. 

After a touchback, Kentucky started strong with Aj Rose rushing for 15 yards on 1st down. The Cats continued chipping away down the field with Bowden gaining 3 and 4 yards before throwing on 3rd and 3, connecting with Bryce Oliver for 9 yards to keep the drive alive. The Cats went back to the ground after that, moving to Georgia’s 40 yard line, where Bowden hit Clevan Thomas for 8 yards. The Cats were called for yet another holding on 2nd down. Now behind the chains, they could not recover as Bowden unsuccessfully went to the air 3 straight downs. The Cats turned the ball over on downs with 1:32 left in the game. Georgia took a knee to run out the clock, escaping a defensive standoff with a 21-0 victory over the Cats.

 

Kentucky hosts a Missouri team next week coming off a 21-14 loss today at Vanderbilt. The Cats will look to get their offense back on track against a stingy Tigers team giving up just 16.5 points per game. 

 

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Georgia Outlasts Cats in Athens, 21-0

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