November 20, 2009

Preview: Kentucky at Georgia

WHERE: Sanford Stadium

WHEN: Saturday, 7:45 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 6-4, 4-3; Kentucky 6-4, 2-4

COACHES: Georgia - Mark Richt (88-26, 9th season); Kentucky - Rich Brooks (38-45, 7th season; 129-154-4 overall)

TV/RADIO: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Bob Davie)/Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

REPLAY: CSS - Saturday,11 a.m.

Saturday's Game

Winners of two straight, Georgia looks to improve its pecking order in the bowl picture by beating Kentucky. It's Senior Day in Athens, and 23 Bulldogs will be honored before playing their final game in Sanford Stadium. It's also going an emotional evening for Bulldog fans following the passing Thursday of mascot Uga VII. There will be no replacement mascot for Saturday's game, but a black wreath will be placed on the doghouse stationed in front of the student section.

Injury Update

The Bulldogs will be without the services of wide receiver A.J. Green who suffered an AC sprain in his left shoulder last week against Auburn, along with backup safety Bacarri Rambo who suffered a concussion in the final minutes of the Bulldogs' 31-24 win. For Kentucky, quarterback Mike Hartline is out after undergoing surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee. True freshman Morgan Newton will start in his place. Receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb is listed as questionable and a Gametime decision after bruising his shoulder.

Curran still a tackling machine

Junior Will Linebacker Rennie Curran is second in the SEC with 9.4 tackles per game (94 tackles this year). Curran is looking to become the first Georgia player since LB Greg Bright to have back-to-back years with more than 100 tackles (1996, 1997). He has led the Bulldogs in nine of 10 games, including a 12-tackle performance versus No. 25 Auburn. He is the top returning tackler in the SEC after recording 115 stops in 2008. Curran set a new career high with 16 tackles versus No. 4 LSU in 2009. Earlier in the season, he matched his career high with 15 tackles against USC and had the game-winning pass break-up in the game's final seconds. Junior Akeem Dent returned to the starting lineup following an injury to tally six tackles versus #25 Auburn. Also against the Tigers, sophomore Nick Williams had a career-high four tackles off the bench. Redshirt freshman Christian Robinson had a career-high five tackles versus Tennessee Tech the week before.

Scouting the Wildcats

Kentucky visits SEC rival Georgia after winning its last two conference road games for the first time since 2002. The Cats also have won four of its last five games overall. UK is coming off a 24-13 win over Vanderbilt last week to claim its sixth win of the season and make the Wildcats bowl-eligible for the fourth straight year. The victory marked the first time since 1953-56 that UK has won at least six games in four consecutive seasons. UGA also became bowl-eligible last week with a 31-24 victory over Auburn in Athens. In Nashville, UK gained a season-high 308 yards rushing in the game, the most against an SEC opponent since rushing for 310 at South Carolina in 1995. Derrick Locke recorded his third career 100- yard game by gaining 144 yards on 25 carries, both career highs. Randall Cobb scored two rushing touchdowns, carrying the ball 14 times for 99 yards. UK's defense shut down the VU offense in the second half. The Commodores were limited to one first down, 31 total offensive yards, 0-of-5 on third downs and held the ball only 6:56 time of possession after the half. Kentucky held Vanderbilt to 209 yards total offense for the game, the best showing against an SEC opponent since 1996. Sam Maxwell led the defense with nine tackles, including one for a loss, and forced a VU fumble. Corey Peters was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week with five tackles, including 1.5 for loss.

Prediction

Talk about a turnaround. Last week, the Bulldogs looked to be headed toward an embarrassing loss to Auburn, falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter before outscoring the Tigers 31-10 the rest of the way. Part of the reason for Georgia's mini-resurgence has been the running game that has helped the Bulldogs control the clock and keeps opposing offenses off the field. With Green out, a good ball-control offense would seem to be the ticket against the Wildcats, who may or not be without Cobb, still nursing a bruised knee. Either way … Prediction: Georgia 28, Kentucky 17.

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