Joey Gatewood’s first career start as a collegiate quarterback was not a shoot-out by any means this afternoon at Kroger Field.
Despite possessing the ball longer (35:00-25:00) and running more plays (64-57) than Georgia, the Cats were unable to consistently finish any drives. With the exception of one 19 play, 77-yard drive in the second quarter that lasted a season-long 10:28 and resulted in a field goal, the Cats only once just barely crept into Georgia territory.
We knew going into the game, of course, that UGA’s defense was going to be a tough one to score on. They came in leading the SEC in PPG allowed (19), yards per rush given up and were second in sack rate. Kentucky actually had a big outing from sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez, who rushed for 108 yards on 20 carries, but that just was not enough to spark the offense into a rhythm it needed to win.
On the other side of the ball, the Kentucky defense was not as elite as in games past. The Dawgs came in just rushing for 165 yards per game, and 4.0 yards per carry, but gashed UK at times as they finished the game with 215 rushing yards and 6.1 yards per attempt. Running back Zamir White was particularly electric in the backfield, rushing for a career-high 136 yards and one touchdown on 26 attempts.
With that said, the unit gave themselves plenty of chances to come out victorious. They intercepted UGA QB Stetson Bennett IV twice (now leading the SEC with 11 INTs on the season) and came up with big stops to give the Cats some momentum, but Gatewood and UK’s offense could not convert.
The good news? Kentucky’s defense is clearly what we expected it to be at the beginning of the season. Also, UK found a little bit of a rhythm with Rodriguez running the ball.
With that said, that rhythm was not enough to win today, and the Dawgs clamp down on their 11th straight victory of the series.