By LARRY VAUGHT
This was Kentucky’s chance to position itself for a potential Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title. Instead, Kentucky wasted too many opportunities and lost 27-24 to Georgia Saturday night on a field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship at time expired.
Kentucky had tied the game with an Austin MacGinnis field goal after having a first down inside the Georgia 10-yard line thanks to the WildSnell featuring freshman running back Benny Snell. He ran for 114 yards and two scores but after two runs did not get the ball in the end zone, Kentucky went for a third down pass by Stephen Johnson that was incomplete. Snell had 114 yards rushing and two scores.
In the third quarter, Kentucky receiver Garrett Johnson fumbled in UK territory to set up a Georgia field goal. On UK’s first play after that score, Jeff Badet dropped what certainly would have been a 75-yard scoring catch that turned into an interception.
Kentucky also gave away three points early in the third quarter when a MacGinnis 44-yard field goal was negated by a holding call on UK tight end C.J. Conrad.
Kentucky’s defense wore down as the Bulldogs executed a perfect game-winning drive. Quarterback Jacob Eason twice found receiver Javon Wims for 12-yard gains and then he hit Terry Godwin for a 16-yard gain. Sony Michel, who had 127 yards and one score, was able to get the ball inside the 10 for the final field goal try.
“I just didn’t like a certain look in our eye … I’ve just got to do a better job of getting them to play with that mentality,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after the game.”There’s a lot of disappointed people in that locker room.”
That’s because after Florida lost to Arkansas earlier Saturday, a win over Georgia would have put UK in first place in the SEC East going into the next game at Tennessee.
“There’s always things that you can do better and that we’re always going to do that. We’re going to look at ourselves and look at every situation and try to execute better in critical situations. And there’s certainly things we can do better and start, like I said, it starts with me and there’s a few calls in particular that I wish I could have over, and didn’t happen,” Stoops said.
“But I thought our guys made some critical stops and were battling and grinding it out and when they were at 16, I think, that’s when we needed to make a stop there.”