UK Smoke LSU

Kovosiey Smoke rushes for a yard during the Wildcats' win over LSU last Saturday. The Wildcats take on No. 1 Georgia on Saturday in Athens.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Mark Stoops is aware of the task his 11th-ranked Wildcats will be facing at top-ranked Georgia on Saturday.

“We have to do the very best we can with who we've got and what is going on and our guys (have to be) playing at a high level,” Stoops said. “… certain teams we played we could run simulated pressures, do different things, but with them you just have to man up and play. We got to play to a high level.”

Both teams are undefeated at 6-0 and tied for the lead in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division with unblemished records at 4-0 and the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the league.

Atop the rankings for the first time since 2008, the Bulldogs boast of the top defensive unit in the nation. Georgia leads the nation in scoring, surrendering just an average of 5.5 points per game, and has given up just two touchdowns through the first six games. In the red zone, Kentucky has given up just one touchdown, four field goals, one missed field goal attempt and teams have turned the ball over on downs twice.

Stoops said it would be “hard to argue” the fact that Georgia may have the best defense the Wildcats have faced in his nine-tenure as coach.

“I haven't put much thought into other great defenses,” he said. “We certainly have played a lot of great defenses through my time here. You watch these guys on film, and it is another level of good. It's impressive what they're doing defensively.”

The Bulldogs have dominated the series between the two teams in the past decade and carry an 11-game winning streak in the SEC East showdown. The Wildcats have been outscored 35-3 in the past two meetings between the two teams. Kentucky’s last victory over Georgia came in 2009 when the Wildcats escaped with a thrilling 34-27 victory in Athens.

“If you have any success, your margin for error is very small in this game,” Stoops said. “They are so good and talented and can hurt you in so many ways. You have to take advantage of any and all opportunities that you have.”

In what could be extra motivation for his squad playing the No. 1 team in the nation on the big stage, Stoops hasn’t been caught up in the hype.

“You can look at it how you want, but for us it's another week,” Stoops said. “It's the next game and so for us we just have to have a great week of preparation and continue to get better, continue to cultivate the good things we're doing.”

Kentucky is enjoying its best start since opening with six consecutive victories under the late legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in 1950 and Stoops wants his squad to stay humble,

“Football is a hard game playing at this level, playing in the SEC, it is hard,” Stoops said. “Anytime they have success, it is fun for them. But why are you having success is what you want to dig into. Yes, everybody is happy and everybody wants to win, but what are those steps you are taking to put yourself in a position to win is more of what we concentrate on.”

Gametracker: Kentucky at Georgia, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is the sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or via Twitter at keithtaylor21

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