Much like the Vanderbilt games of the last few seasons, the Kentucky game has proven to be quite a struggle for Georgia. It always seems Georgia is looking forward to playing Florida the next week. Or for some other reason that the game always end up in a war with lowly Kentucky. We don't have any reason to expect that to change in the future, no matter the situations of both teams. We know that while Georgia has won most of their games against Kentucky in the last 10 years, almost all of the games have been a real struggle for the Dawgs to win.
2001 was no different.
Getting down 22-7 is not the way to start a game, no matter the opponent. It looked like Georgia was being led by Jim Donnan rather than Mark Richt. Georgia was flat, unprepared, and not ready to play.
However, the Dawgs did come back. David Greene threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Gibson. Georgia's defense was strong against the run, allowing only 116 yards and forcing Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen to be the leading rusher for the Cats (61 yards). But once again, the Dawgs gave up a ton of yardage in the passing game (377) and allowed the Cats to score 22 points in the first half.
Still the defense allowed only one Kentucky score in the second half. Georgia's defense continued to show that they were a real force in stopping the run game, but were still questionable in terms on stopping the pass. There is little doubt that this is because of the run stopping abilities of the linebackers.
What we learned:
Fred Gibson really emerged against Kentucky in 2001. His performance was similar to the one that Quincy Carter put on against the Cats in Lexington. Carter dazzled the crowd in 1998 and without his performance, the very flat Georgia Bulldogs would have most certainly lost to Tim Couch and the Cats.
But Gibson was more impressive than Carter was in 1998. Everything that was thrown to him he made a play on it. It seemed at times as if Gibson was having to battle the officials on top of the Kentucky defense. The 2001 Kentucky game made Fred Gibson a household name.
What was said:
"We wouldn't have won the game without Fred Gibson. He made great plays and changed the momentum of the game for us. I think (Kentucky's defense) got tired (in the fourth quarter). I was afraid it would be like Florida State and Miami last year where the defenses got tired and everyone would score whenever they touched it. We got great turnovers. If not for that, this game would be in overtime." - Georgia coach Mark Richt
Next: a look back at the Florida game
Dean Legge can be reached here: email@example.com