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November 16, 2005

Bulldogs look to bounce back, clinch division

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As disappointing as last week's home loss was, Georgia can take solace knowing it still controls its own destiny.

The 14th-ranked Bulldogs look to bounce back after two straight losses when they host Kentucky on Saturday.

Georgia (7-2, 5-2 SEC) leads the series, 46-10-2.

In the 109th meeting between Georgia and Auburn last week, the lead changed eight times before the Bulldogs were finally edged 31-30.

Despite Bulldogs quarterback D.J. Shockley returning from a knee injury to throw for 304 yards and two touchdowns, Georgia gave up a late 62-yard fourth-down pass, which set up a 20-yard field goal with seconds remaining for Auburn's win.

We still control our own destiny," Shockley said. "As bad as this feels we still have a lot to play for. The SEC is one of our biggest goals and that's still in our hands and we have to play for that."

The Bulldogs started the season 7-0 before losses to Florida and Auburn, but can wrap up the SEC East division title and clinch an appearance in the conference championship game by defeating Kentucky this weekend.

South Carolina's upset of Florida last week gave the Bulldogs breathing room to possibly clinch the division this Saturday.

The Bulldogs matchup against Kentucky is not only important for Georgia's players, but for its coaches too.

Last week against Auburn, Georgia went ahead 26-21 in the fourth quarter and wanted to attempt a two-point conversion, but its sideline wasn't organized. Georgia's offense was hit with a delay of game penalty and had to settle for an extra point.

Georgia coach Mark Richt takes the blame.

"We just did a poor job as coaches," Richt said. "We had let the offense know if we scored, we were going for go for two. But what happened was a couple of guys on the extra-point team didn't know and were on the field."

Richt knows the keys to the game are limiting last week's mistakes and stopping Kentucky running back Rafael Little. The sophomore rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to lead Kentucky to a 48-43 victory at last week against Vanderbilt.

Little needs just 27 rushing yards this Saturday to become the seventh Kentucky back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

"He's the most dangerous open-field back I've seen," Richt said of Little. "He will make people miss and miss badly ... and then he's got the speed to finish it."

Kentucky (2-4, 3-6) has lost all three of its games to nationally ranked contenders this season.

While ending this season with a winning record is already out of the question, the Wildcats coach Rich Brooks hopes Little gets the respect he's due despite the struggles of the team.

"I don't know why he wouldn't be (first-team All-SEC)," said Brooks, before reconsidering. "Well, I do know why he wouldn't be. He maybe wouldn't have a chance because he's playing at Kentucky right now, but if he's playing any place else, he'd be clearly first-team and maybe All-American. The guy is having a phenomenal year."

For more coverage of the Georgia Bulldogs, check out UGASports.com.



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