For the second week in row, No. 1 Georgia turned a tight first half into another victory, but this time it wasn’t nearly as easy.
Last Saturday in Starkville, Georgia led Mississippi State 17-12 at halftime, but pulled away in the second half for a 45-19 win.
This week, the Bulldogs led 9-0 at halftime, and then held off a valiant Kentucky effort in the second half for a 16-6 win.
With the victory, Georgia improves to 11-0 overall and 8-0 in the SEC. The Bulldogs have now gone 8-0 in the league the past two seasons. The only teams to previously accomplish the feat were Florida in 1995-96 and Alabama in 2008-09.
“Hard to do, the last 40 years there’s only been two teams and it is hard to win on the road in the SEC,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “You look across the country today, you see the environments people were playing in. You see, it’s different. You find out really quick, who really wants to play football, and who’s just a football fan, and you have to be able to win in games like that, especially in November.”
Senior running back Kenny McIntosh led a potent ground game with a career high 143 yards on 19 carries. McIntosh also scored Georgia’s only touchdown on a nine-yard run midway thru the third quarter.
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was efficient, if not spectacular, completing 13 of 19 passes for 116 yards.
Overall, the Bulldogs outgained Kentucky by only 68 yards but had a decided advantage in the ground game outrushing the Wildcats 247 to 89.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis finished the game 20 of 31 for 206 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Barion Brown.
“I think we had a great game plan,” Levis said. “This is obviously a really tough defense to go up against and we made a handful of plays. Probably more downfield plays like that then we have seen all year. Obviously, we would have liked to have come out with more points. I’m proud of how we played against such a good team.”
The Wildcats fall to 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the conference. Kentucky closes out the regular season next Saturday at home against arch-rival Louisville.
In the first half, the Bulldogs were able to move the football, but had to settle for three Jack Podlesny field goals of 27, 24, and 37 yards. Podlesny improved to 20-for-22 in field goals this year and 55-for-65 in his career. This year, he has a team-high 110 points.
For the game, Georgia scored just one touchdown in five trips to the red zone.
“I’d say they did a good job of plugging the holes and shooting the gaps.” McIntosh said. “They have fast linemen who closed the holes. They played physical too and they have a good team over there. We knew that it was going to be hard and physical, just like every SEC team we’ve played.”
The Bulldogs get back in action next Saturday as they finish up the regular season at home against Georgia Tech. Kickoff is set for noon. Georgia then heads to the SEC Championship game the following Saturday in Atlanta to take on LSU.
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