EditorsNote: Edit 1: Corrected spelling of quarterback in Graf 7
Georgia is headed back to the SEC Championship Game for the second straight year following a 34-17 victory over Kentucky Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
The Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) won the East Division in convincing fashion by dominating one of the nation’s top defensive units. Kentucky entered the game at No. 1 in the nation by allowing only 13 points per game and had surrendered no more than 20 points in any game this season. Georgia had 14 at halftime and eclipsed 20 with more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Georgia, which entered the game at No. 6 in the first College Football Playoff committee ranking, used a powerful run game for the win, amassing 331 of its 444 yards of offense via the ground. D’Andre Swift rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns and Elijah Holyfield added 115 yards and a TD. Jake Fromm was 14-of-20 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Kentucky (7-2, 5-2) entered the game at No. 9 in the CFP committee ranking, its first-ever appearance in the poll. It was the fourth straight game the Wildcats had failed to score at least 20 points.
Because they trailed throughout, the Wildcats were forced to go against their run-first formula for success. They wound up with 226 passing yards versus only 84 rushing yards. In both games this season that Kentucky has had fewer rushing yards than passing yards, the Wildcats lost. The other loss was to Texas A&M.
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson completed 23 of 29 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Benny Snell was held to 73 yards on 20 carries but scored a touchdown.
Georgia got off to a fast start on the game’s first big play, a 65-yard punt return by Mecole Hardman that put the Bulldogs on the Kentucky 23-yard-line for its first offensive possession of the day. Four plays later, Georgia went up 7-0 with 10:37 to go in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Fromm to Isaac Nauta.
Georgia added a second touchdown with 2:28 before halftime on a 20-yard run by Swift.
Kentucky’s only points in the first half came via a 34-yard field goal by Chance Poore. The defense kept Kentucky close with two forced fumbles, both recovered by Josh Allen.
The Bulldogs put the game away early in the second half on an 83-yard touchdown run by Swift with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 28-3.
Snell had a 9-yard touchdown run and AJ Rose scored on a 31-yard catch-and-run to keep Kentucky within striking defense, but the Wildcats never got closer than 14 points.
—Field Level Media