Breakdown: No. 1 Georgia 16, Kentucky 6

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It wasn’t pretty, but the No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs did what they had to do to dispatch Kentucky 16-6 and finished undefeated in SEC play for the second consecutive season. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Wildcats covered the spread against the Bulldogs, who entered as 22.5-point favorites.

Here’s how Saturday’s game broke down:

Key play

Kentucky, which ranked last in the SEC in total offense, already had managed an extended drive against Georgia’s vaunted defense on its opening possession. But the Wildcats ended up turning the ball over on downs when linebackers Smael Mondon and Jamon Dumas-Johnson stuffed Chris Rodriguez on fourth-and-1 at the Bulldogs’ 31-yard line. But the real killer for Kentucky came when cornerback Kelee Ringo intercepted Will Levis’ pass for Barlon Brown in the end zone their next time down the field early in the second quarter.

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Game ball

Senior Kenny McIntosh finished with 19 carries for 143 yards – both career highs – and also scored the Bulldogs’ only touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run. McIntosh also had two catches for 19 yards out of the backfield. McIntosh keyed a Georgia rushing attack that recorded 247 yards, its second-highest team total of the season.

Key stat

While Georgia nearly let the game turn around when it was stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs actually won most of the “money downs” in the game, and that’s why they were able to come away with the victory. Georgia was 6-for-12 on third downs in the game, compared with Kentucky’s 3-for-11. And the Bulldogs’ were 4-of-5 on their trips in the red zone. The difference Saturday was three of those scores were field goals. They likely would have been a perfect 5-for-5 had they settled for one more chip-shot kick.

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What we learned

Georgia’s pursuit of the perfect season continues. The Bulldogs have had only three perfect seasons in the program’s 130-year history, and one of those came in the four-game season of 1896. But the other two – 1946 and 1980 – resulted in national championships.

Georgia 16, Kentucky 6

They said it

“It’s a play that’s a statement play, it’s an identity play. You got to be more physical than them, and they were more physical than us. Kentucky does a good job. They know how to stop the run, and they’ve got good players, too.” – Georgia coach Kirby Smart on his decision to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the 1 leading 16-0 to start the fourth quarter.

What’s next?

Georgia: The Bulldogs head home to Athens to prepare for Saturday’s regular-season finale against Georgia Tech (noon, ESPN). It will be Senior Day for the Bulldogs. The Yellow Jackets (5-6) knocked off No. 13 North Carolina 21-17 in Chapel Hill late Saturday evening.

Kentucky: The Wildcats (6-5, 3-5) close the season at home Saturday against Louisville (7-4).