By LARRY VAUGHT
Just like every team that Kentucky has played, Georgia’s defense was focused on stopping running back Benny Snell.
The UK junior had 42 yards rushing in the first quarter but finished with only 73 yards on 20 carries. He was also limited in the second half after injuring his ankle late in the first half.
“It was big for me and the whole defense. It was the emphasis for the whole week,” Georgia linebacker Monty Rice said about stopping Snell. “It was big to slow him down and not let him get those big runs that he’s used to. I watched a lot of tape and he ripped off some big teams and falling forward for two extra yards and getting five yards a carry — it was nice to slow him down.”
“It was big running to the ball. Tuesday and Wednesday those are our full pad days. Against a scout team, we had to get 11 guys to the ball every play—just gang tackling the guy with the ball and just play fast.”
Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter said the Bulldogs knew what they had to do against Snell, the SEC’s top rusher.
“We knew we had to wrap him up, take him down and put him on the ground. He’s a powerful running back and gets a lot of carries every game but we wanted to use that to our advantage and knock him around a little bit and take him off of his game,” Ledbetter said. “He played well — he played okay, but he’s a great player, but we executed and played like a defense.”
Q. Anything going on on your side with the running game?
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said the biggest issue with Snell was that Georgia’s defense “is pretty darned good” and played well.
“We’ll continue to look at all options. We had some good drives early in the game, and then we Peterred out and we stalled, and got to look at it and see why. I’d like to see us, you know, punch some of those in to give us some — make it closer there at the half,” Stoops said.
“We need to be more balanced, and this time, it’s Terry (Wilson) throwing for more yards; we need to run it some more. But I thought Terry was, again, taking another step today. I thought he really did a good job of hanging in the pocket and distributing the ball against a very talented defense. We need to build off that and be physical and run the ball more effectively.