Senior RBs help No. 7 Georgia triumph in home finale
ATHENS, Ga. — Nick Chubb had several reasons for deciding to come back to Georgia for his senior year.
One was to help give this year’s crop of seniors a sendoff they wouldn’t forget. Saturday’s 42-13 rout of Kentucky certainly qualified.
“It’s a great feeling,” Chubb said. “Just to finish, get the win ... it’s something to look back and cherish. It’s a great feeling.”
The good times may not be over yet.
Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) still has plenty to play for, including a likely trip to the College Football Playoffs if it can win at Georgia Tech on Saturday and beat either Auburn or Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
Chubb and fellow senior running back Sony Michel both deserve a tip of the cap for Saturday’s win.
The seniors made their final home game a memorable one, with Chubb rushing for 151 yards and two scores, while Michel added 87 yards and three touchdowns.
“Georgia is known for running the ball and it was amazing the success we had today,” said Michel, who like Chubb, decided to play his senior season in Athens instead of leaving early for the NFL.
“We planned on winning every game. That didn’t happen, but sitting here now, this is just the kind of season we were hoping for.”
Chubb and Michel were simply too much for Kentucky (7-4, 4-4) to handle.
Leading 28-13 after an 8-yard scamper by Michel, Chubb ripped off a 55-yard touchdown before Michel’s 4-yard run — his third score of the night — accounted for the final score.
“You have to tackle,” Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen said. “You have to hit them hard. Arm tackles aren’t going to work against them and we did a lot of arm tackling today. We have to work on that a little bit more and get more physical next week.”
Quarterback Jake Fromm accounted for Georgia’s other touchdown with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Javon Wims in the second quarter.
Wims finished with a team-high six catches for 83 yards. Fromm completed 9 of 14 passes for 123 yards with the touchdown and one interception before being replaced by Jacob Eason late in the fourth quarter.
“What a great way for these seniors to go out — winning the SEC East by going undefeated against the East,” Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart said. “Our seniors have given us tremendous leadership, and I’m happy and proud of them. Our seniors have set the standard and our young players have bought in. It helps to have such great leadership.”
Running back Benny Snell accounted for most of Kentucky’s offense, rushing for 94 yards and scoring the team’s only touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third.
“They put pressure on us all night, in all phases,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “It’s a very physical team, it’s very well-coached, and they played like a No. 1 team in the country tonight.”
The Bulldogs outgained Kentucky 504-261, sacking quarterback Stephen Johnson three times and intercepting him once, courtesy of Aaron Davis in the third quarter.
“They did a lot of things we knew they were going to do,” Johnson said. “We saw the same thing against Mississippi State, Florida’s defense as well. You have to give credit to those guys because they came to play.
Georgia led 21-6 at the half, helped by Chubb and Michel scoring on runs of 8 and 37 yards.
Kentucky’s six points came on field goals of 37 and 35 yards by Austin MacGinnis before closing to 21-13 early in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Snell. The Wildcats would get no closer.
“We kind of held them pretty good in the run game because those ones they kept bouncing,” linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “Once we started fitting those right, everything was cool.”
NOTES: Georgia QB Jake Fromm set a school freshman record with his 17th touchdown pass. ... Chubb’s 151 yards pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the third time in his career. ... Kentucky RB Benny Snell’s third-quarter touchdown was the 29th of his career, extending his school record for rushing scores.