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Georgia Football

Final Feelings: Must-Read Before Georgia-Kentucky

October 29, 2020
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Matt’s Final Feelings

Alright ya’ll, it’s Kentucky week. After two weeks to prepare, I’m expecting the Dawgs to come out and put a beating on Kentucky. 

The Alabama game is over. They lost, and it’s time to move on. Kirby still needs to figure out the quarterback position, but it looks like he’s going to roll with Stetson Bennett for the rest of the year. That should work for the rest of the regular season, but Stetson Bennett isn’t leading this team to a win over Alabama if they meet again. Kirby Smart has to know that. He can THINK that his team has a chance to beat the Tide with Bennett, but I don’t see it happening. 

We can talk about Kirby’s mishandling of the QB position for days. That’s not what Final Feelings are going to be about this week. This week it’s about Kentucky. A team that lost to Missouri by ten points. I don’t care how good their defense is and how big they are in the trenches. If Georgia doesn’t cover the spread they’re not a very good football team. 

I’m expecting more batted balls from Bennett this week. Sources say he hasn’t gotten any taller since the Alabama game, and I believe Kentucky is a well-coached team. I don’t see them getting a ton of pressure on Bennett, but I do see them trying to get their hands up and bat down as many balls as they can. 

The ONLY way Georgia loses to Kentucky is with bad QB play and some blunders in Georgia’s secondary. I think Georgia’s defense will come ready to play after the Tide rolled up over 40 points on them two weeks ago. Those guys have high expectations and they’ll want to prove they are still be the best defense in the country with a dominant performance this weekend. 

I’m expecting another low-scoring game, and I think Georgia will bring home a 28-6 victory. That’s not a lot of points for Georgia’s offense, but it’s four touchdowns. I can see one Georgia touchdown each quarter. They’re going to have a three-and-out at least once or twice. They’ll happily play a field-position game early on because of what Jake Camarda brings to the table. If Camarda can pin the Cats inside the 15 multiple times, the Cats are going to be in deep trouble all game. That’s why I don’t think Georgia will take many risks in this game. 

Anyway, give me the Dawgs to win by 22. That won’t be good enough for most Georgia fans, and they would have a point. But that’s how it see it playing out.

Alright, ya’ll ready for the Coach DeBray upset special?

Give me Missouri over Florida this weekend. I said it. I think the Tigers are starting to play a little better and they certainly have the ability to get down the field and put up points against Florida’s defense. I think missing so much practice is really going to hurt the Gators in this game.

First off, their defense has been trash to begin with. If there’s one group in the country that doesn’t need to be missing practice, it’s Florida’s defense. They’ve had trouble communicating and tackling all year, and now they’ve had Covid running through the program. Too many missed practices for that defense in my eyes. They are a SOFT group, and I think they’re going to have more trouble this weekend.

Florida SHOULD win the game. They’re going to get their points. They’re more talented, and they should be the better coached team. I’m throwing all of that out the window. The Tigers are going to beat the Gators this weekend.

I hate to even bring it up, but Justin Fields is going to have another big game this weekend against Penn State. So look out for the “Can’t believe Kirby let Fields walk” takes across the country. It’s low-hanging fruit for the average college football fan to get on Georgia about. It is what it is, and Justin Fields is going to look like a superstar on Saturday night. So if you’re not ready for all that, just enjoy your Halloween party without the game on. 

So, I’m usually a big Publix guy. I worked at Publix in high school, I like Publix brand foods, and the deli/bakery is top notch. But I now live in walking distance to a Kroger, and I’ve been loving
it. They’ve got the gas, cheap groceries, cheap beer, and everything always seems like it’s on
sale. Anyway, they’ve got candy DIRT CHEAP right now for Halloween and I’ve found myself
snacking hard. Those little “bite size” candies are the worst. I love some Snickers/Milky Way/Kit Kat/Twix. You throw me a big bag of those bad boys and I’m running through them. I do my best to run it off, but I’m just hoping someone else has fallen off the candy wagon, too.

Also, there’s going to be a brand new Popeyes right down the road from the DeBary crib. That’s BAD news. I mean this thing is about a mile or two away. That’s a great sandwich they’ve got over there, but it’s about 1,000 calories. I know I’m going to be eating that bad boy more than I should over the next few years, so it’s very bittersweet.

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Dylan’s Final Feelings

Dean has said a few times that this will be a scrappy game for Georgia against Kentucky. I understand his point, and I do agree with him, but only to a certain extent. 

The Cats are a well-coached team with a consistent chip on their shoulder. If you overlook them, they can become a serious issue for a lot of teams. That ‘lot’ of teams though does not include Georgia. It includes teams like Tennessee and Florida.

To put it simply, Georgia is more talented than Kentucky, and by a wide margin. Florida and Tennessee are too, but neither have the same kind of gap UGA does. 

UK will try to run the ball. They will fail. They will then be forced to throw the ball. They will fail at that, too. Sure, they may be able to get a few stops on D, especially in the first half, but not at the rate Georgia’s defense will. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Kentucky didn’t get a touchdown in this game. I think they can certainly get a few field goals, I’m just not sure they’ll be able to get in the end zone. 

Even if they do, I don’t think it’ll be more than once. Georgia, on the other hand, will be scoring at least three touchdowns - I think more. I know there is a lot of fear regarding the offense right now, and it makes sense, but Stetson is going to be fine in this game. He played poorly against Alabama, there is no denying that. Look at his success against Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee, though. I feel like that is a better indicator of how he’ll perform on Saturday. Give me Georgia to win, and cover, 31-10.

In Austin, the situation is rough. There are two issues on hand: 1.) Texas is bad. 2.) Texas fans think they’re still competing for a Big 12 Championship.

The sad thing is, they kind of are, at least technically. Now I think there is no way in hell they will win it, but that conference is so bad that their logic isn’t so far off. The Horns are still technically in the hunt. If they win this weekend over Oklahoma State (they won’t), then they’ll only be a game off from the lead. 

Even if that is the case though, the future is grim for Texas football. While we were recording the other night, Texas lost five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers. As it would with any program, this sent fans into a downward spiral.

“This is it. We’re done. Herman is gone, and we’re going to have to start from scratch.”

With a dash of optimism.

“Let’s not give up yet. He could still end up signing with us.”

No, Texas fans, he won’t.

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Dean’s Final Feelings

This isn’t a game I see Kentucky winning, which might seem like an obvious statement. With that said, the Cats can be plenty of trouble in Lexington. I’ve been to each of these games since 1998 with the exception of the 2000 and 2002 games up there. All three of those games were rock-em-sock-em affairs. Two of them had heart-stopping finishes. 

I do want to tell a quick story about the 1998 game. I went to that game with teammates of mine from college. One of the group was from Kentucky, and was a big Cat fan (still is). We go up there, wind up at some party. Of course, there is a lot of excitement that weekend because Kentucky was pretty good, and looking to take Georgia out. 

Tim Couch, remember, was the QB there are the time. Champ Bailey was on Georgia’s team, and was running like 100 plays a game at the time (Kirby was on that team as well). So we go to the game, and Georgia escapes - as the Cats fumbled away a 49-yard FG attempt as the clock ran out. Again, the ending was nuts. 

"I'd say you saw the two best quarterbacks in the country today," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said. 

I mean… OK?

So the game was at noon, and we get back to another party later that night. One of my teammates’ buddies went all in:

“I really wasn’t that impressed with Champ Bailey,” he told me.

“Then you are dumb,” I responded (or something like that). 

Needless to say we left that party. 

Two things. 

Later that night (it was one of them long nights) we saw Couch, who would wind up being the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft a few months later, in a very, very expensive car downtown in Lexington. Champ Bailey went for 103 total plays with four tackles, 20 total yards on offense with a TD and 90 total yards in returns including a 41-yarder in the game. That he also played four positions. Must have escaped the moron at the party earlier that night. 

Dawg Post
LEXINGTON - Matthew Stafford talks with reporters with bruising on his face after Kentucky's 24-20 win over Georgia at Commonwealth Stadium on November 4, 2006. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

There are two other Lexington games that stick out. The 2006 Wildcats were not a bad team. The 2006 Bulldogs were. But that game was the final moment when before we saw Matthew Stafford grow up. 

That game was a rough one for the Dawgs. From 1996 until today, Kentucky has only managed to beat Georgia once in Lexington, and Stafford’s performance that day helped the Cats pull out that win. The Dawgs punted only once that day as Stafford threw three picks, Andy Bailey missed two FGs and Mario Raley fumbled. Four turnovers is no way to win a game. 

Stafford had his helmet knocked off in the game, and had bruises on his face after the game. I remember, and this was before cell phones had cameras, thinking I needed to get that image of him. So I ran to my camera bag (which was much smaller back then, and “a bag” not “bags”) and took a shot of him. He looked like he had lost a fist fight. 

Kentucky brought the goalposts down on Georgia that day. It was an amazing sight. Honestly, it was very dangerous. Fans do not belong on a playing surface for a lot of different reasons that don’t need to be discussed right now. 

But the 2016 game in Lexington was the night Kirby’s team grew up. The three-point win over the Cats was a sea change in the program. I will never forget the program’s reaction after they drove the ball down the field to beat Kentucky that night. 

I’m telling you folks undervalue how critical that game was to the development of the program under Kirby Smart. 

On to this week’s game… again, it is hard to see the Cats winning this game. Frankly, if that happens there are real issues in the program. I don’t see that happening, and I feel like people like me make those sorts of statements after UGA loses. 

This Georgia defense is so good, and Kentucky is so lost on offense. I don’t know who will play QB for the Cats, but that’s going to be a struggle for Kentucky. Again, the passing game simply is not there. 

The Cats are rolling on the ground to the tune of 184 yards a game, but that’s going to be slog against Georgia. Let’s be real about it. That’s going to be tough. Mainly because Terry Wilson will probably be out this week. Chris Rodriquez, who is going for about 60 yards a game, is going to have to pick up the slack along with Asim Rose. Kavosiey Smoke has missed a few games this season. It looked like he was going to play at Missouri, but he didn’t. 

Still, with the exception of Alabama’s Najee Harris, it has been tough going against the Silver Britches on the ground. 

Just watch Kentucky - they pushed Auburn around in game one. They did whatever they wanted to Tennessee a week ago. But they are quite limited at the skill spots. Throwing the ball has been an uphill fight for the Cats for some time now. This season is no different. 

But this game, after a difficult second half against Alabama and a week off, is about Georgia. Is Stetson Bennett going to look more like he did in the first three games of the season? Will he have two hands on the ball in the pocket? Is he going to hit the easy, open man? Because I can assure you there are easy, open men out there a lot. 

Is Georgia’s offensive line going to be able to do what it wants to do against a UK defensive front that is always - seemingly always under Mark Stoops - a major physical struggle? I get it - this is a game UGA should win going away. But it is one thing to know that, and quite another to go out there and routine a team on their home field.

Commonwealth has been a tough place for UGA to play over the years. And now I will recap:

1996 - Loss
1998 - Win on the final play of the game
2000 - Win on the final drive of the game
2002 - Win - Blowout in the second half
2004 - Win - Blowout
2006 - Loss
2008 - Win on the final drive of the game
2010 - Win - Blowout
2012 - Win - Aaron Murray had to save UGA
2014 - Win - Blowout
2016 - Win on the final play of the game
2018 - Win - Routined the Cats

The 2018 is the only game I can remember where Georgia came in and won a game in a non-blowout way or on the final drive or play of the game. 

Maybe that’s playing on the road in this league. Maybe UK has elevated itself so far over time that they are not the joke folks think they are. Remember, that 2018 was one of the best in Kentucky history. They ended the year No. 12 in the AP poll with wins over the Gators, State and Penn State. Three ranked wins in one year? That’s not what they are used to in Lexington. 

Trust me when I tell you that Stoops has done a heck of a job at Kentucky. He has pretty well drained everything out of that program he could. They’ve held their own in the SEC from 2016 on - with only one losing season in league play in that time. Four consecutive bowl games ain’t nothing in Lexington, either. 

If Kentucky goes to a bowl this winter Stoops will pass Rich Brooks (also a good UK coach) and some guy named Bear Bryant for the most trips to a bowl game in the history of the program.

Let’s see what Georgia does this weekend. I fully expect this to be at Georgia win. What I want to see, and this matters a lot, is how the offense performs. Will there be a steady run game? Will there be explosive plays? Will there be cheap, easy points? Will the easy, open man be hit with the ball?

Will there be more than one quarterback who plays when it matters?

We shall see. 

One last thing - Kentucky doesn’t get penalized a lot. They also punt the ball pretty well. So a lot of what Georgia gets on Saturday it is going to have to be earned. 

Full Moon Saturdays

According to the Dawg Post Database, Georgia is 2-0 in games where full moons occur that day since 2013. This is the first full moon on Halloween since the 1940s. No one else has that stat about UGA playing on days will full moons. So if you see it elsewhere they STOLE it from here (often imitated; never duplicated). 

That it is Halloween gives me a chance to get a few things right about the celebration (is Halloween technically a holiday? It is damn sure celebrated in our house - and that’s not by my choosing). 

First, another trip down memory lane. Back in the day I grew up in suburban Atlanta. And we lived in a pretty modest area of east DeKalb County. So candy was pretty mixed - solid, but usually nothing unreal. 

I have to tell you that we really went hard in the trick or treat game. I mean we had pillowcases, and we didn’t just go up and down my tiny street - we went all up and down the roads that were near us. We wore it out. 

But we had a dentist or tooth freak who lived around where we trick or treated, and that was a real buzz kill. 

Here’s this guy with his “tips” about taking care of our teeth. Bitch, I just need you to put the candy in the pillowcase. I'm not here to be lectured about the future well being of my teeth. They have a giant gap in them right now anyway, and yes, I am a football player for halloween because my mother is too disinterested in all of this to go hard in the world of ghouls and goblins. 

QUIT BRINGING ALL OF US DOWN. BRO, DID YOU JUST PUT DENTAL FLOSS IN THIS PILLOW CASE? 

SMH. 

(Side note: when I was younger we often brushed our teeth with baking soda. That’s right - full on Arm & Hammer. And all of this was before the Googles.) 

One year our parents were warned that there “could be people putting razors in candy” of children trick or treating. Now, my mother and company grew up in Hiawassee, so perhaps they were just checking all of the freakout boxes, but somewhere in that time we damn sure opened each and every piece of candy and inspected it.

Think about how ridiculous that was. Could you even imagine if we had Facebook back in the day for everyone to get riled up about something that seems impossible in the first place?

UGH. 

Now then, that could have just been a plot by the adults to separate the valued treats from the riff raff - as there was much riff raff. There were also the neighbors who got way too far into making Halloween things to shove down your throat. One of the neighbors went with candy apples. You know how much trouble that is to make? Way too committed - I mean that’s hardcore treatin’. 

Nonetheless, I have prepared a basic list of dos and don’ts for this year’s treatin’ game. After the Dawgs dismiss the Cats you can refer back to this to guide you through the night. 

High end: 

Anything with chocolate as the base. That includes: 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Twix
Kit Kat
M&M’s
Snickers
Hershey’s
Nestlé Crunch
Krackel
Mr. Goodbar
Baby Ruth

Anyone giving those out is either into the treatin’ spirit, a relative or bad with money. These are of major value on Halloween. These expensive purchases are the reason to get the pillow case out. We are looking for these all we can. Don’t be so dumb as to put the treat basket out with a sign that says: “Please only take two.”

High end Non-chocolate: 

Reese's Pieces

ET is about it, and I am, too. 

Solid treats: 

Butterfinger
Whoppers
Tootsie Pop

Anything where you need to get things out of your teeth after you are “done” eating the treat falls into this category. Now, whoppers are surprisingly filling. They seem very airy, but at the end of the day they can get you full quick. Make sure to not overindulge on that front. They are solid, but not spectacular. Tootsie Pop is something we are going to eat on the go, BUT NOT ON YOUR BIKE. We need to be walking speed or lower. 

Then we have Butterfinger, which is damn good. In fact, it is above solid in terms of taste. But the post-chew is an unnecessary burden of treatin’. You are making the case for the dentist and his floss. We are trying to keep things moving. This is highly unideal with braces. 

Candy Corn:

Candy corn is its own deal. If you like sugar and corn syrup (and if you are eating the above items you like those two things) then candy corn is the thing for you. I’m not going to get on here and stump for candy corn. I’m also not going to hate. 

Its the undecided voter of tick or treat. I don’t understand it, but I’m not trying to help you figure this out. 

Immediate no:

Mounds
Circus Peanuts

Sweetened coconut coated in dark chocolate. You lost me a sweetened coconut. No. That is an immediate no, and we are leaving right now. “Why didn’t you warn me about this house,” is what you should be saying to your treatin’ friend who lead you on this debacle. Mounds are never acceptable candy outside of nursing homes. 

Circus Peanuts are a 100% sign that you are at a house where you could get touched in a way that’s not OK until college. Who in Tucker is giving out Circus Peanuts? Did we wind up in Gwinnett County somehow? It’s time to get the hell out of here. These are full stop, inappropriate, drug store-trash candy. I think the term “candy” is probably inappropriate for this “food”.

 
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