Saturday, October 20, 2012
Instant analysis: Georgia 29, Kentucky 24
By David Ching
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Georgia got what it wanted when Florida hammered South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, ostensibly setting up next week’s Georgia-Florida game to be for the lead in the SEC East race.
The Bulldogs nearly failed to hold up their end of the bargain that night, however, struggling throughout against four-touchdown underdog Kentucky before finally winning 29-24.
It was not the easy night most Bulldogs fans expected, but the win still gives Georgia a chance to control its destiny, which was the goal when the night began.
It was over when: Ken Malcome’s 5-yard run to the Kentucky 20 gave Georgia a first down and forced the Wildcats to use their last timeout, essentially allowing the Bulldogs to run out the remaining time on the clock.
Game ball goes to: Aaron Murray. Georgia’s quarterback bounced back from possibly the worst performance of his career -- a 109-yard effort in a 35-7 loss to South Carolina -- with one of the best games in his three seasons as Georgia’s starter. Murray set new career highs with 30 completions for 427 yards, finishing 30-for-38 passing with four touchdowns.
Stat of the game: 188/103. Georgia’s offense was inconsistent for most of the night, but the Bulldogs got the job done through the air -- particularly wideouts Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell. King threatened his school single-game record (205 yards against Michigan State last season) by finishing with nine catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell also caught nine balls for 103 yards. They became the first Georgia duo with 100 receiving yards apiece in a game since King and Orson Charles did it against Florida in 2010.
Unsung hero: Connor Norman. Kentucky had Georgia on the ropes again after scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter that made it 29-24 Georgia. The Wildcats attempted an onside kick and kicker Joseph Mansour nearly recovered it, but Norman sped in and dove on the ball just before Mansour was able to help Kentucky maintain possession.
What it means: The win gives Georgia a chance to claim first place in the division next week, but it was far from a confidence-inspiring victory. Kentucky is arguably the worst team in the SEC and the Wildcats gave the Bulldogs all they could handle. This was certainly not the crisp performance following a bye week that the Bulldogs desired.