Posted: 12:36 am Saturday, November 5th, 2016
By Jay Black
Georgia’s running game is still a mess, can they fix it?
19 carries. 21 yards. That’s it and that’s all from last week.
If Kirby Smart has said it once this year, he’s said it 100 times. Georgia is a running team. That’s what they want to be and that’s what it should be.
And yet. 19 carries. 21 yards against Florida. It was the worst rushing performance for a Georgia team in 20 years.
It’s gotten to the point now where stories are popping up about Nick Chubb and Sony Michel meeting with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to figure out what the deal is.
“I asked him: Are we going to run the ball more?” Chubb said, according to Dawgnation.com. “What’s your plan?”
“It was a good, healthy meeting,” UGA coach Kirby Smart told the Georgia football radio network. “It wasn’t anything special. I meet with kids every Sunday and Monday. Jim (Chaney) meets with kids. They are doing it the right way. They aren’t blaming the offensive line. They aren’t blaming the offensive coordinator.”
So there you go. Bottom line though is this has to stop if Georgia wants to salvage anything from this season.
Running on Kentucky should be very doable. The Wildcats are allowing nearly 200 yards a game on the ground and are giving up 30 points a game this season. The only team that has averaged less than 4.2 yards a carry against Big Blue was South Carolina and they’re pretty terrible.
Bold prediction: The offensive line pushes Kentucky’s big front line around enough for Nick Chubb to top 100 yards.
Do the Wildcats actually have the best running team on the field?
In the bizzaro world that is this year’s Georgia-Kentucky game, not only are the Wildcats the team in second place in the SEC East, but they are also out rushing UGA 219-173 yards per game.
It’s been a strange season.
Let’s face it, the Wildcats schedule has been very soft outside of Alabama and Florida. They also lost to Southern Miss to open the season. But you can only beat the folks you play and Kentucky is playing very well right now. It ran for 258 against Vanderbilt (which you might have heard, beat Georgia) and 377 against Missouri (which should have beat Georgia).
Stanley “Boom” Williams and freshman Benjamin Snell are both in the top nine in the SEC in rushing. Nick Chubb is 11th and Sony Michel is 19th.
Again bizzaro world.
The Dawgs defense though has been rock solid. They might not be spectacular — and prone to giving up big third down conversions — but Smart’s group is on the right foot here.
Georgia is fourth in the league in total yards and rushing yards allowed, but eighth in points.
The Wildcats will use the “Wildcat” formation a lot on Saturday and they’ll stay on the ground most of the day. But I don’t expect Kentucky to have much success.
Which teams handles the unexpected direction of its season?
For Kentucky to win the SEC East, they need to beat Georgia and win at Tennessee Then the Wildcats need Florida to lose twice, with games at Arkansas and at LSU.
That is extremely doable. Frankly this is one of the biggest games Kentucky has played in November in years. This is the first time Kentucky has won four games in the SEC since 2006. One more victory gives the Wildcats their first winning season in the league since they went 6-0 in 1977.
For Georgia, the pressure is much different. UGA is 2-4 in the SEC, it’s worst start since 1996.
Missing a bowl game is a legit possibility if the Dawgs don’t win this one.
Both teams are in places that frankly they probably didn’t expect to be when the season started.
It will be a cold night in Kentucky. Who can handle the pressure better?