Strong ground game powers Dogs past Kentucky


Shane Shackleford

By Shane Shackleford, Sports Columnist

The Georgia Bulldogs showed once again why they are a national power by riding a powerful rushing attack to defeat the Kentucky Wildcats 14-3 on Saturday afternoon in Lexington.


Georgia (4-1) got powerful yards from star running back Zamir Davis and just enough big plays from quarterback Stetson Bennett IV to keep the UK defense off-balance to come away with the victory.


UGA was missing their top two receivers due to injuries, so they needed the ground game to come up big.  The offense provided, allowing Davis to have a career day with 26 carries for 136 yards as the Dawgs rushed for 215 yards.


The much-maligned Cat offense did the one thing that they could do to stay in the game; run the ball, complete short passes, and shorten the number of Georgia’s offensive possessions, which they were effective in doing for the most part.


For Kentucky (2-4), sophomore quarterback Joey Gatewood made his first collegiate start.  While his numbers weren’t eye-popping, Gatewood was fairly solid against one of the best defensive units in the country, going 15/25 for 91 yards and adding 23 yards rushing. Most importantly, Gatewood had only one turnover, a fumble on a rushing attempt.


The only scoring for the Cats was a 34-yard field goal from Matt Ruffalo.  However, the UK offense was better on third and fourth down, converting 9-18 for first downs and in time of possession (35:00).


UK running back Chris Rodriguez had a big day on the ground, rushing for 108 yards on 20 attempts with a 5.4 average per carrying and cementing his status as the best rushing option for the Cats.


Save a gutting 12-play 86-yard drive to start the game for Georgia, the Cats defense looked much better than they did last Saturday at Missouri, forcing two Bennett interceptions by Phil Hoskins and Kelvin Joseph.


Linebacker Jamin Davis led the UK defense with 13 tackles.


UK will be off next week before returning to play on November 14 at home against Vanderbilt.  Kickoff from Kroger Field will be determined next week.  Georgia will hook up next week against SEC frontrunner Florida in a game that will likely decide the SEC East championship.


Following is a game summary, courtesy of UK Athletics:


Kentucky Postgame Notes vs. Georgia

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Kroger Field – Lexington


Team Records and Series Information

  • Kentucky is 2-4 and Georgia is 4-1.
  • Georgia leads the series 60-12-2 and has won 11 in a row.
  • Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats have an open date before playing host to Vanderbilt on Nov. 14.  Game time and television assignment will be announced on Monday.


Team Notes

  •         Kentucky limited Georgia to 14 points, fewest that UK has allowed vs. the Bulldogs since 1996, when UGA scored 12.
  •         Kentucky had two interceptions today, giving the Wildcats 11 on the season.  Despite playing just six games so far, that’s already more than the 2018 and 2019 seasons and equals the 2017 total of 11.
  •         In the second quarter, Kentucky had a 19-play, 77-yard drive, taking 10:28 off the clock, that ended in a 34-yard field goal by Matt Ruffolo.  It is Kentucky’s longest drive of the year in terms of plays and time of possession.


Player Notes

  •         UK’s game captain was center Drake Jackson.  Jackson wore uniform No. 65 today in honor of offensive line coach John Schlarman, who is dealing with cancer.
  •         Making his first collegiate start, sophomore quarterback Joey Gatewood completed 15 of 25 passes for 91 yards and no interceptions. He added 23 net rushing yards.
  •         Sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 20 times for 108 yards.
    • It is his second 100-yard game of the season and fourth of his career.
    • Now has 989 career rushing yards, needs 11 more to become the 39th player in school history to reach 1,000 career yards.
    • Rodriguez’ 23-yard run in the third quarter is the longest Georgia has allowed all season.
  •         Senior running back A.J. Rose had three carries for seven yards.
    • Rose now has 1,547 career rushing yards, moving past Raymond Sanders (1,542) for 19th place in school history.
  •         Senior wide receiver Josh Ali led the Wildcat pass catchers with five receptions for 35 yards.
  •         Junior linebacker Jamin Davis had a career-high 13 tackles, his fourth consecutive game with double-figure stops.  He also blocked a field goal, caused a fumble and had a pass breakup.
    • He blocked a field goal on the final play of the first half. It is the first blocked kick of his career and UK’s first blocked kick of the season. It is UK’s first blocked field goal since Josh Allen in the VRBO Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019.
  •         Junior linebacker Jordan Wright had a career-high seven tackles.
  •         In the second quarter, senior defensive tackle Phil Hoskins batted a pass, then caught it for his first interception of his career.
  •         In the third quarter, sophomore cornerback Kelvin Joseph picked off his third interception of the season, all coming in the last four games.
  •         Junior defensive end Josh Paschal wore uniform number 22 today in honor of teammate Chris Oats, who is dealing with a serious medical condition but was able to attend the game today.  Paschal had four tackles today, including one for loss.
  •         Senior punter Max Duffy had an excellent day. Punting mostly from the middle of the field, he averaged 42.5 yards, with no return yardage, and landed punts on the 14-, 8-, and 9-yard lines.
  •         Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo made his only kick of the day, a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter.