After starting the season 1-4, the Georgia Bulldogs find themselves with something to play for after their win Saturday night against the Kentucky Wildcats. RB Washaun Ealey set a school record with 5 rushing TDs on 28 carries and finished with 157 yards. Ealey has had an up and down season so far. He was suspended for the first game of the season when he was arrested for an hit and run incident – he hit a park car. After returning from his suspension, Ealey had a problem holding on the ball as he had key fumbles against South Carolina and Mississippi State in which resulted in losses. Georgia benched him in favor of RB Caleb King, but was thwarted back into the starter role when King was suspended for two games for missing a court date and getting arrested. Ealey apparently has gotten the wake-up call and with the combination of the offensive line improving, the Dawgs finally have a running game.
Even though Ealey was the player of the game, the defense had it’s own star with Justin Houston. Houston had 2.5 sacks and caused Kentucky’s QB Mike Hartline to fumble on the third play of the game. Georgia’s defense forced four turnovers and held WR/PR/KH Randal Cobb in check most of the night as he was a non-factor throughout the game. Hartline did put up impressive numbers as he threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns but Kentucky’s mistakes often set the Bulldogs up with a short field.
Georgia is back in the SEC East hunt, but has an uphill battle to play in the SEC Championship game. South Carolina must lose two SEC games and the Dawgs must win out including in Jacksonville against Florida and at Auburn – no small feat. For the first time in a long time, neither team is ranked. But as usual, it decides who will play in the SEC Championship game. The loser has absolutely no shot of playing in Atlanta. South Carolina and Florida control their own destiny. But Florida is trying to find it’s own identity. The transition period between Tim Tebow and starting QB John Brantley have not been a smooth one. Florida is coming off a three game losing streak and looking for answers similar as when the Bulldogs lost to Colorado last month.
With all the issues the Bulldogs have face this year, the most encouraging item has been the QB play of Aaron Murray. Murray did not post impressive numbers against Kentucky, but he did not need to as the Bulldogs jumped to an early lead behind Ealey rushing. Murray has not thrown an interception for a third game in a row. In addition, Georgia’s offense has scored at least 40 or more points in three straight games. It’s a good time for Georgia’s offense to be rolling into Jacksonville ready to take on the Gators.
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Written by Bob Ballard