Georgia turns to Kentucky

ATHENS -- Georgia is second in the country in scoring defense and total defense and coming off another formidable defensive effort. Kentucky is coming off a loss to Vanderbilt.

So, from the outside looking in, the No. 6 Bulldogs' Saturday game against the Wildcats looks like an enormous mismatch. Not from where Georgia (8-2, 5-2 SEC) is standing, though.

"Since we've been here, Kentucky has done the best job of moving the ball and scoring points on us," said third-year Georgia coach Mark Richt.

In Richt's first two seasons, the Wildcats (4-6, 1-5) have averaged 432.5 yards and led both games at halftime, 24-21 in 2002 and 21-14 in 2001.

"I don't know what we could do any differently," Richt said. "They have a good scheme, and they have a quarterback (Jared Lorenzen) who is very difficult to defense."

Georgia must beat the Wildcats to assure themselves a tie for first place in the SEC East. If the Bulldogs win and Tennessee beats Vanderbilt on Saturday and Kentucky on Nov. 22, then the Bulldogs probably would emerge from a three-way tie in the division due to their BCS ranking. If Georgia wins and Tennessee loses either game, the Bulldogs would lose the tiebreaker against Florida, and the Gators would advance to the SEC title game.

"We're in game 11, and we've still got everything to play for," Richt said. "That's great as a coach. At this point, the motivation ought to be pretty easy because there is so much on the line."

Georgia is still in this position in large part because of its defense, which Richt said Sunday compares to some of the great Florida State defenses he's seen in the past.

The Bulldogs are giving up just 11.5 points and 253 yards per game. In addition, Georgia leads the SEC in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score just 45 percent of the time they move the ball inside the Bulldogs' 20-yard line. Overall, opponents are 9 of 20, with just four touchdowns, in the red zone against Georgia.

"It's been unbelievable to do what we've done down there," Richt said. "For whatever reason, when they get down close, we've found a way to rise to the occasion."

Auburn was 1 of 3 in the red zone Saturday. Its lone score, a 6-yard touchdown run, came with 3:13 left in the game. Georgia also got a touchdown out of the Tigers' red zone trips, scoring on a 99-yard interception return by linebacker Odell Thurman.

"There's no question, a lot of it is based on preparation," Richt said. "A little of it is being fortunate, but overall they have just gotten a little bit tougher and a little bit meaner in that area of the field and people have had a hard time putting it in."

Overall, Georgia held the Tigers to 259 yards, including 81 on the ground. Carnell "Cadillac" Williams fell from No. 2 in the SEC in rushing to No. 3 after gaining just 45 yards against the Bulldogs.

"That was our main goal," Thurman said. "Cadillac is a great back, and the key was to stop him. I believe we accomplished that very well tonight."

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