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UGA kicker Jack Podlesny (96) kicks the ball into the end zone. The University of Georgia football team lead South Carolina 26-6 at the half on Sept. 18, 2021, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia will host the only other undefeated SEC East opponent when it hosts Kentucky, who is coming off a 42-21 win against LSU. The Wildcats have defeated one ranked opponent when they defeated Florida in Lexington, Kentucky for the first time in 35 years.

Experienced kicking

When Georgia and Kentucky play in Week 7, two of the nation’s top kickers will meet in one of the biggest SEC games of the season. Kentucky’s kicker, Matt Ruffolo, and Georgia kicker, Jack Podlesny, were named to the 2021 Lou Graza Award Watch List, given to the nation’s top place kicker.

Against Auburn, Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny missed his first field goal since Week 2 when he missed an attempt against UAB. Podlesny missed a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter against the Tigers.

However, he made two of his three attempts by making a 21-yard and a 23-yard field goal to add onto Georgia’s four touchdowns. In the previous three games, Podlesny made every field goal attempt and is 9-for-12 on the season.

Ruffolo, is a fifth-year senior who started kicking for the Wildcats his junior season in 2019. In his first year, Ruffolo made 4-of-5 field goals including a career-high 50-yard field goal against Arkansas.

Ruffolo has missed one field goal in 2021, an attempt against Missouri in Week 2 when the field goal was blocked. His longest field goal of the season came against ULM when he made a 45-yard field goal.

Punting

Just as Ruffolo returned to Kentucky for one final season, the Wildcats’ punter, Colin Goodfellow, came back for Mark Stoops' team. This is his second season punting after he was a member of the practice squad his first three seasons.

In his first season punting for Kentucky, Goodfellow punted 10 times in two games played. He hit three punts over 50 yards and one inside the 20-yard line. He forced two touchbacks with his longest punt being 55 yards.

Across the four games he has played this season, Ruffolo has punted 16 times and downed the ball inside the 20-yard line eight times to give the Wildcats’ defense room to shut down opposing offenses.

For Georgia, Jake Camarda has punted 18 times in the season, with his best performance coming in Week 1 against Clemson, punting five times and putting four of them inside the 20-yard line. In his most recent performance against Auburn, Camarda punted three times and put one inside the 20-yard line and hit one punt over 50 yards.

In a battle of the only two undefeated teams in the SEC, special teams could provide an extra element for Georgia to continue its undefeated season, or Kentucky pull an upset at Sanford Stadium.

Drew Hubbard is the sports editor of The Red & Black. He is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in journalism, minoring in sport management and pursuing the university's Sports Media Certificate.

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