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Georgia 27, Kentucky 3: Does The Long Road Back Begin Here?

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We're now looking in the rearview mirror at one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Georgia Bulldog history. And there's no guarantee that things won't get hairy once again. There are still multiple opportunities for this season to sink back into a vast well of disappointment. But for now the Georgia Bulldogs just won a conference football game. They scored actual offensive touchdowns. For now, things aren't that bad.

Things got off to a slow start, as Georgia began this week's first drive the same way they began last week's: with a crippling penalty that erased a gain on a sweep and ended the drive before it ever really got started. You could be forgiven for thinking "here we go again" at that point. The good news for the Bulldogs was that in football, like so many other walks of life, your best chance to rise to the top is to be just a little less terrible at what you do than your competition. Kentucky was terrible in the first half, and didn't get much better as time went on. Patrick Towles showed the arm that made him a top prospect coming out of high school and the poor decision-making that's kept him from realizing that potential.

Sony Michel however had the kind of game we all hoped he'd have regularly when Nick Chubb went down against Tennessee. Michel finished with 24 carries for 165 yards, leading all rushers on the day. Greyson Lambert was steady if not spectacular, leading each of the five Bulldog scoring drives. Lambert's 6 of 13 passing effort was reminiscent of Joe Cox's effort against Georgia Tech in 2009, a game in which the Bulldog coaches decided the best thing their signal caller could do was to stay out of the way. That doesn't work week in and week out. But sometimes it does, and this was one of those times.

Georgia dominated the time of possession 37:36 to 22:24, a rare occurrence during this season of offensive inconsistency. Georgia's 390 total yards was the most since their 44 in a losing effort to Tennessee.

The Bulldog defense, put in so many bad spots by the offense over the past few weeks, played an all-around solid game, giving up only 188 yards of total offense. Kentucky's only points came on a field goal which followed an Isaiah McKenzie fumble which set the 'Cats up at the Bulldog 20 yard line. Even then the Bulldog D held the visitors to three downs and a kick.

All things considered it was an ugly football game, with 5 turnovers, 13 penalties for 118 yards, and not much in the way of elegant offense. But it gave the Georgia players and coaches a little more distance between themselves and a week they'd probably rather not have had to deal with. A week full of distractions which they couldn't deny infiltrated the team meeting rooms from every angle. A win is a win, and these 'Dawgs got a win that they needed in the worst way.

The show now moves to Auburn, where the Bulldogs will kick off a week from today at noon against one of their oldest and most bitter rivals, a team also fighting to salvage a season which was supposed to be a lot more successful. As we've said before, miraculously, this Georgia team could still finish 9-3. It could still reach double digit wins in a bowl game. I don't know what fan reaction to that would be. I do know that there's a lot to be done for the Red and Black between now and next Saturday. I expect they're glad to just go back to work. Until later  . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!