LEXINGTON - Hey, remember how Georgia vs. Florida next week was a foregone conclusion to be for the SEC East title? Well, that was assuming Georgia would waltz over Kentucky.
No waltz here, at least not yet: Georgia leads 16-14, and it needed a Marshall Morgan field goal off the uprights as the half ended.
Here are seven thoughts after 30 minutes of action:
1. Is it Jarvis Jones? Could it even be Abry Jones? Is Georgia's defense struggling once again, against a very inferior opponent, because the Jones boys are that good, particularly the All-American. No, much like when the Bulldogs struggled against the likes of Florida Atlantic and the Buffalo in the first half, it's an indication that the defense just isn't at its best. Theories abound, but there's no arguing anymore that this is not a top-five defense anymore. At this point, it may not be top 50.
2. Todd Grantham keeps pointing to explosive plays as the problem, as in miscommunication. But that hasn't been it tonight - other than Kentucky's 33-yard trick play to set up the second touchdown. Tonight, the Wildcats have been able to move the ball, especially on that first drive. Maybe Grantham makes his halftime adjustments once again, but once again those adjustments were necessary because the Bulldogs weren't in position to make stops when the game began.
3. On offense, Georgia is carving up the Kentucky pass defense, which is overmatched. But that makes it more surprising that Georgia isn't in better shape. The deep pass is there - as evidenced not only by Tavarres King's two long catches, but the one Marlon Brown should have turned into a 52-yard touchdown in the final minute of the half. Instead Brown let it slip through his fingers. The underneath passes are there too, with Malcolm Mitchell seemingly open every time the play is tried.
4. That said, Georgia also hasn't been able to run the ball very well. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have actually looked ordinary against a Kentucky run defense that came in allowing 183.3 rushing yards a game, 12th in the SEC. I chalk that up to more troubles on the line, which until the past couple games had actually done a good job in the run blocking.
5. Which, finally, brings me to my point: Mike Bobo was adamant this week that they needed to stay balanced, and be committed to the run. But Bobo said that in relation to the South Carolina game, when Georgia fell behind 21-0 and tried to pass its way back. In the case of this game, the Bulldogs should probably pass as much as they need to in order to get control of this game.
6. Morgan's extra-point foibles are just flabbergasting. Let's review: The freshman, who has managed to make two field goals of 50-yards plus this year, has now missed three extra points. Another was blocked. And three more dinged off the uprights. It might be time for Richt to let Jamie Lindley kick the point-afters, before it ends up costing the team a game. Morgan can remain the long man.
7. Special teams in general are an adventure again - and kind of chippy, in Georgia's case. When Rhett McGowan let a punt go by, getting downed at the 3-yard line, he was chewed out by teammate Alec Ogletree. Later, Malcolm Mitchell very demonstrably tried to shoo away Kosta Vavlas as he ordered Mitchell to keep a kickoff in the end zone.
8. Okay, make it eight thoughts tonight: You still get the idea Georgia will take control of this game ... or at least win this game, but not as easily as expected. It's not a huge crowd tonight, but enough are here that the longer Kentucky stays in the game, the harder it will be for Georgia to put this away.
The Bulldogs need to put this away early in the second half. They get the ball to start the second half. A few more Murray passes could do the trick.