No. 11 Kentucky (7-1) will have a chance on Saturday to earn a program defining victory when they host No. 6 Georgia (7-1).
Kentucky and Georgia enter the showdown tied for first in the SEC East standings with 5-1 records in conference play. The winner will have the inside track at claiming a berth in the SEC title game.
Most recently, Kentucky edged Missouri 15-14 and Georgia defeated Florida 36-17.
Kentucky is led by junior running back Benny Snell, a Heisman Trophy candidate that’s amassed 935 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Snell leads the SEC in rushing yards per game (116.9) and is Kentucky’s second all-time leading rusher.
Kentucky’s @benny_snell leads the SEC in rushing at 116.9 yards per game. Last week’s win over Missouri saw Snell become @UKFootball‘s second all-time leading rusher 🔥#GetUp pic.twitter.com/bMuT5fbE7O
— ESPN Player (@espnplayer) October 30, 2018
While Georgia is a perennial SEC contender, Kentucky is seeking to make program history during this Cinderella run.
In 2013, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops inherited a team that didn’t have a winning season since 2009.
With a win on Saturday, Kentucky will have the most winningest campaign since going 8-5 in 2007.
In the last two seasons, Stoops has guided the Wildcats to back-to-back seven win seasons.
In the last three seasons, Kentucky has 13 wins in SEC play, which ties a school record for most conference wins in a 36-month period, according to Kentucky Today.
The victory against Missouri was further proof that Kentucky is coming of age as a team to be reckoned with.
Taking off from Columbia like… 😼 pic.twitter.com/WZd1OERRnM
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 28, 2018
“If you were in that locker room, (it’s) 100 percent changed,” Stoops said to Kentucky Today. “I can’t speak for before, just since I’ve been here. But that group up there, what we did and the way we did, they’re special.”
The belief that this could be a special season continues to build inside the Kentucky locker room after each victory.
You know this team is special, #BBN. We want to make sure everyone else knows it too.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 30, 2018
“I felt us evolve tonight and just really come together and find a way to get that victory for each other,” Stoops said to Kentucky Today. “And it was really nice that all three sides had to do it. That makes it really gratifying.”
Stoops has transformed the culture to the point where fans have legitimate hope of knocking off a traditional SEC power such as Georgia.
“It’s a really big deal for our fan base and for our team,” Stoops said to Kentucky Today. “These guys have worked hard and you have to find a way if you’re going to be a championship team. You have to find a way to win games like this. I’m just very proud of our team for doing that.”