Taking a closer look at Georgia’s win over Kentucky

Georgia defenders smother Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez to bring up third-and-16 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
Caption
Georgia defenders smother Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez to bring up third-and-16 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

ATHENS -- No. 1-ranked Georgia welcomed another sellout crowd of 92,746 to Sanford Stadium and gave the homecoming crowd a good show with a 30-13 win over No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday.

Here’s how it happened:

Key play

Georgia mostly dominated Kentucky in the first half, but led only 14-7 at intermission. On its first possession of the second half, the Bulldogs appeared to have scored on 59-yard catch and run by Brock Bowers on a tight end screen. But the touchdown was nullified by downfield holding against guard Justin Shaffer. So, it was first down at the Kentucky 44 instead. No problem. Three plays later, quarterback Stetson Bennett hit Bowers again, this time on a deep fade to the right, rear corner of the west end zone. That gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead just 2:37 into the second half, and momentum was fully in the Bulldogs’ favor.

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Key stat

Georgia gave up two touchdowns in a game for the first time this season. Still, the Bulldogs have allowed only 46 points through seven games, which is their lowest total through that many games since 1971, when that team also allowed only 46 points. Kentucky scored its second touchdown after calling a timeout with seven seconds to play trailing 30-7. The 1-yard touchdown pass capped a 22-play, 75-yard to end the game. Fittingly, though, Jalen Carter blocked the PAT. It was the second blocked kick of the game for the Bulldogs. Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt combined to block a field-goal attempt earlier.

Game ball

Give it to tight end Brock Bowers. The freshman led the Bulldogs in receiving for the fifth time in seven games this season. This time he finished with five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. His scores came in the second half on receptions of 27 and 20 yards from Bennett. Bowers now has a team-best six touchdown catches. That’s already the most scores by a tight end in school history, tying Leonard Pope, who had six in 2004.

What we learned

Georgia is not infallible on defense, particularly when it comes to defending the pass. The Bulldogs gave up 192 yards and two touchdowns to Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. Levis also played a big role in the Wildcats converting nine of 19 times on third down. As a result, Kentucky’s two scoring drives totaled 35 plays for 150 yards and consumed 18 minutes and five seconds. As a result, the Wildcats dominated time of possession 37:47 to 21:51.

Georgia 30, Kentucky 13

They said it

“Godzilla-like. I mean, he’s impactful. He’s the immovable object.”

-- Georgia coach Kirby Smart on nose guard Jordan Davis

“We can be explosive when we want to, and we can run it when we want to. It’s just about execution.”

-- Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett

What’s next

Georgia: The Bulldogs head into their bye week battered and bruised team and in need of a weekend off. They will practice at three days in the coming week, then take next weekend off before turning their focus to Florida. Georgia plays the No. 20 Gators (4-3, 2-3) on Oct. 30 in Jacksonville.

Kentucky: The 11th-ranked Wildcats (6-1, 4-1) also get a week off before resuming play with a road game against Mississippi State.

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