Rapid Reaction: It wasn't pretty, but Georgia tops Kentucky in final tune-up for Florida
No. 5 Georgia won a low-scoring affair with Kentucky 14-3 Saturday in Lexington.
It was the Bulldogs’ 11th consecutive victory over the Wildcats, stretching their series record to 60-12-2.
Georgia’s early game plan was clear: run the ball and run it often. The Bulldogs held the ball for 12 plays and 86 yards on their opening drive and ran it all 12 times, capped by a 2-yard scoring scramble by Stetson Bennett IV to make it 7-0.
That’s pretty much all the offense Georgia needed, which was good considering the Bulldogs didn’t provide much more.
The Dawgs’ defense held up its end of the bargain, limiting Kentucky to 230 total yards and a single field goal in Joey Gatewood’s first start.
Georgia looked to have designs on a quick score just before the half, but a tipped Bennett pass at the line ended up in the hands of Phil Hoskins with under a minute and a half to go before the break. Despite the Wildcats being forced to punt, the Bulldogs found themselves in field goal range, but a low snap to Jack Podlesny from 54 yards out meant the scoreline remained where it was at halftime.
But Georgia found the end zone to open the 3rd quarter, converting on a 4th-and-1 at the Kentucky 22 as Zamir White burst through the Wildcats’ defense for his 6th touchdown of the season as the Dawgs opened up a 14-3 advantage.
That capped a big day for White, who ran for a career-high 136 yards.
On the ensuing drive, the Wildcats found themselves at the Bulldogs’ 40 before Gatewood was stripped of the ball on a keeper to turn possession back over to the visitors. But the Dawgs failed to take advantage as Bennett threw his 2nd interception of the game to give it right back to Kentucky, who ultimately punted after the drive stalled at its own 46.
Bennett finished with just 131 yards passing on 9-of-13 attempts.
Despite an off-day from Georgia’s highly-touted rushing defense — struggling to contain both Gatewood and running back Chris Rodriguez — Kentucky couldn’t quite get over the hump and put together the plays it needed to pull off what would be a massive upset. Meanwhile, the Dawgs were helped in part by a big day from White, who broke the 100-yard barrier for the first time in his career.
Several key members of the Bulldogs’ defense left at different parts of the game, including Jordan Davis, Julian Rochester, Lewis Cine and Quay Walker, while linebacker Monty Rice, nursing a foot injury, did play. On offense, George Pickens and Kenny McIntosh were unavailable.
A pivotal matchup awaits Georgia in its next game as it meets Florida in Jacksonville, with the winner potentially putting itself in prime position for the SEC East title. Kentucky falls to 2-4 and will host Vanderbilt on Nov. 14.