Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray needs 108 passing yards today against Kentucky to reach the 3,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his career against the Bulldogs. (Reuters)
ATHENS — Georgia returns home after its heartbreaking loss to Auburn — the Bulldogs’ sixth game decided by five or fewer points — to face struggling Kentucky today.
Last week’s loss knocked the Bulldogs out of the SEC East race, but Georgia is still looking to secure a solid bowl berth with a strong finish. The Wildcats have lost 14 straight SEC games and have been outscored 70-23 in their past two defeats.
The game features the SEC’s top tacklers in Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson (110) and Amarlo Herrera (91). Kentucky’s Avery Williamson is third in the SEC with 88 tackles. Georgia leads the series 52-12-2 and has won three straight, five out of six and 14 of the last 16 meetings.
Kentucky QB Jalen Whitlow has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,035 yards, five interceptions and five touchdowns and has rushed for six more scores. The Bulldogs, who average 21.5 points, have been held to seven or few points three times. Freshman running back Jojo Kemp has a touchdown in three of his last four games for the Wildcats.
Georgia QB Aaron Murray, who will be playing his final game in Athens, needs 108 yards to reach the 3,000-yard mark for the fourth time and join Hawaii’s Timmy Chang and Boise State’s Kellen Moore as the only players in NCAA history to have four 3,000-yard seasons.
Murray will be one of 28 seniors honored before the game for the Bulldogs (6-4, 4-3, SEC).
“We want to win regardless,” Georgia sophomore running back Todd Gurley said. “It’s a conference game so we definitely want to finish off strong and get a win for the seniors.”
In the Auburn loss, Georgia fell behind 27-10 at halftime before rallying back to take a 38-37 lead in the fourth quarter. But with 25 seconds left, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall connected with receiver Ricardo Louis for a 73-yard TD pass to win the game.
The inability to close out the game late underscored Georgia’s season-long struggles in the secondary.
“I always tell the staff and the players to think about what we can learn from this and how can we make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I always have to look at what I could have done better, and the coaches have to look at what they could do better and the players are the same way.”
The Kentucky game will give Georgia the chance to honor Murray, who has broken several SEC and school passing marks during his four-year career with the Bulldogs. Murray is the SEC’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,983 yards), passing TDs (117) and total offense (13,334 yards).
Murray has managed to put up big numbers in his college career in part due to his durability. In four years at Georgia, Murray has yet to miss a start due to injury.
“I am definitely proud of the way I’ve been able to play this long,” Murray said. “It’s been a little bit of luck, too, because I’ve definitely taken my share of shots that you see end people’s seasons all the time. But no matter how I’m feeling, if I have even a remote chance of playing I am going to make it happen.”