1. Georgia’s running game. Dismal earlier this season, the Bulldogs’ rushing offense has been much better the past four games, thanks to a reconfigured offensive line and the emergence of a Caleb King-Washaun Ealey tandem at tailback. The Dogs will need to continue to make strides in the running game to beat Kentucky without injured wide receiver A.J. Green.
2. Randall Cobb’s shoulder. Cobb -- the Kentucky player whom Georgia frets the most -- missed practice time this week with a bruised shoulder sustained against Vanderbilt last Saturday. Kentucky has called his availability “questionable,” although the Dogs expect him to play. He had a dazzling game against Georgia at quarterback last year and, if healthy, figures to be used primarily at wide receiver but also at quarterback, punt returner and kickoff returner this time. He leads the SEC in touchdowns and is third in all-purpose yards. He’s a game-changer.
3. Turnovers. Georgia won the turnover battle for the first time this season in last weekend’s win over Auburn, and in what figures to be another close game, the Dogs can’t afford to revert to their previous pattern.
A Georgia win would ...
• Clinch second place in the SEC East.
• Improve the Bulldogs’ bowl stock, probably putting them high on the Outback Bowl’s list.
• Send the Dogs into the regular-season finale at Georgia Tech on a three-game winning streak.
A Kentucky win would ...
• Be the Wildcats’ first victory in Athens since ... 1977.
• Be the Wildcats’ third consecutive SEC road victory, following wins at Auburn on Oct. 17 and Vanderbilt last Saturday.
• Give Georgia (6-4 entering the game) its fifth loss of the season, the most in any year under Mark Richt.
Keep an eye on ...
For Georgia: Green’s absence means more opportunity -- and responsibility -- for young receivers Tavarres King, Israel Troupe, Rantavious Wooten and possibly Marlon Brown. King and Troupe came through with big catches after Green was injured last Saturday and will need to do so again.
For Kentucky: The Wildcats have stressed a conservative running game of late, led by junior tailback Derrick Locke, who averages 82.3 yards rushing per game. He also is the Wildcats’ third leading receiver and averages an SEC-leading 30.9 yards per kickoff return (a role he shares with Cobb).
The numbers game
• 4-1 -- Record as Kentucky’s starting quarterback by true freshman Morgan Newton, who took over as the starter after junior Mike Hartline injured a knee.
• 16 -- Players on Kentucky’s roster from Georgia, more than from any state except Kentucky
• 9th -- Kentucky’s ranking among 120 Division I-A teams in pass defense (165.6 yards allowed per game).
• Series record: Georgia leads 49-11-2, including 25-3-2 in games played in Athens.
• Last meeting: Georgia won 42-38 in Lexington last year in a shootout that featured six lead changes in the second half.
The bottom line
• Kentucky has lost its past 15 games in Sanford Stadium, and Georgia is favored by 8-1/2 points in this one.