Arts & CultureFlag Football

Georgia Runs Over Kentucky After a Wet, Sloppy First Half

About halfway through the third quarter of Georgia’s game against Kentucky on Saturday, with the score tied 0-0, I took a break from the torrential rain with a trip to the bathroom. When I had gone at halftime, the men’s restroom was smack out of paper towels thanks to copious numbers of wet dudes coming in just to dry their hands off. But when I returned, the paper towel dispensers were once again full and I was able to dry my hands for the first time in two hours.

I walked out of the bathroom just in time to see D’Andre Swift begin his 39-yard touchdown dash to put the first points of the game on the board. I rushed forward to the concrete barrier separating the concourse from the stands to watch him break free and reach the end zone for six. 

As soon as those points went up on the board, the tension inside Sanford Stadium that had been building from close to three full quarters of scoreless football and nonstop rain was cut. Georgia fans who had stood with their hands in their pockets and heads down for two hours were suddenly jumping like mad and cheering. On the way back to my seat, I high-fived a rando who was walking up from his seat, soaking my hand in the process and undoing the entire reason I had gone to the bathroom, to get a paper towel and dry my hands.

What is the point of this story, you may ask? Well, that was the most exciting thing that happened in the game, and, honestly, there isn’t much more to touch on. 

Georgia ultimately beat Kentucky 21-0 and sent the Dawg fans brave and noble enough to weather the storm—like yours truly—home happy, albeit very, very wet. Here is where most writers would insert a “raining cats and dogs” joke, but I’m much too sophisticated for such a thing. Instead, I’ll just tell you that it was one of the dumbest games I’ve ever witnessed in person, and anyone who decided to sit this one out and watch from their living room is much smarter than I.

The rain was so bad, it rendered passing nigh impossible. Combined, Georgia and Kentucky passed for only 52 yards in the game. That’s less than the total penalty yardage in the game (92). Jake Fromm, a week after his disastrous performance against South Carolina threw the ball just 12 times, but he did complete nine of those passes.

As difficult as it was for Georgia to pass, Kentucky had it even tougher. The Wildcats started third-string QB Lynn Bowden Jr.—also one of the team’s top receivers—under center. He attempted 15 passes, but only completed two for a total of 15 yards. While it was mainly the rain inhibiting Kentucky’s passing, with the Georgia defense handing it an assist, the Dawgs were solid against the run. Bowden was able to rack up 99 yards, but as a team, the Cats rushed for only 160 yards. Georgia still hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season. 

The difference in the game actually came down to punting. The two sides traded booming punts for most of the night, but Georgia was only able to reach the end zone after Kentucky punter Max Duffy shanked one 15 yards to set Georgia up at the 39 a play before Swift’s opening touchdown. Much-maligned UGA punter Jake Camarda, however, punted six times and averaged 52.8 yards per punt.

But Swift was the real star of the show. The Dawgs’ talismanic tailback rushed 21 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns. That’s 8.5 yards per game, for those who would rather not do the math. Brian Herrien also had another quietly strong game, rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

If you’re looking for some grand, overarching takeaway that tells you something deep and meaningful about this team, you won’t find that here. It was a crappy, rainy game that we can all forget ever happened. But considering we looked like we might suffer our second upset in as many games as late as the third quarter, I’ll happily take that.