Would being No. 1 change anything for Georgia? Well, if it did, it didn’t change much. The Bulldogs rode a historically strong defense and an opportunistic day from QB Stetson Bennett IV to a dominant 30-13 win over Kentucky to move to 7-0 on the season and all but wrap up the SEC East.

Kentucky, riding its first 6-0 start since 1950, hung tough for a half, trailing just 14-7 at intermission, but Georgia struck for a touchdown to open the half that swung momentum permanently to the red and black.

Bennett was sharp, passing for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns for the No. 1 Bulldogs. Will Levis fought gamely in opposition for 6-1 Kentucky, but Georgia’s defense threatened to hold UK under 200 total yards for most of the game.

The teams traded punts for the first 5 possessions. On the final play of the first quarter, facing 2nd-and-13 from the UK 28-yard line, Kentucky’s Josh Paschal sacked Bennett, who fumbled the ball forward several yards. The play looked to the naked eye like an incomplete pass, and Kentucky linebacker Jacquez Jones, among others, made no effort to retrieve a loose ball, which sat at his feet. But Georgia’s Kendall Milton alertly pounced on the ball, which was indeed a fumble. On the next play, the first play of the second quarter, Bennett connected over the middle with James Cook for a 19-yard scoring pass, which gave UGA a 7-0 edge after a Jack Podlesny extra point.

Georgia followed with a defensive 3-and-out, and the Bulldogs then marched 80 yards on 5 plays. The long play on the drive was a 35-yard run from Milton, and the final play was a 24-yard TD run from Zamir White. The extra point extended Georgia’s advantage to 14-0 with 10:35 to play in the first half.

Kentucky answered with a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 1-yard scoring pass from Levis to tight end Justin Rigg, cutting the Georgia edge to 14-7 with 3:53 to go in the half. Levis completed passes to 5 receivers on the drive. Running back Chris Rodriguez was unable to ever get untracked against the top-ranked rushing defense in the nation, as UK hadn’t reached 50 rushing yards early in the fourth quarter.

Georgia opened the second half with a 6-play, 75-yard dagger to extend its lead to 21-7. Bennett connected for 3 passes to Georgia’s tight ends, 1 to Darnell Washington and the last 2 to Brock Bowers, whose leaping 26-yard grab in the end zone finished the drive. That catch, with 12:13 to play in the third quarter, all but finished the game.

Kentucky followed with a 3-and-out and Georgia then drove the field for a 26-yard Podlesny field goal that extended their lead to 24-7 with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Kentucky had a promising drive late in the third quarter, but Georgia blocked a Matt Ruffolo field goal try seconds before the end of the quarter. UGA then extended their edge on a 20-yard connection from Bennett to Bowers — his 6th TD catch this season. The extra point was missed, but Georgia led 30-7 with 11:27 to play.

Georgia has a bye week before facing Florida on Oct. 30th. The Bulldogs are guaranteed to retain the top spot in the national polls, and a trip to Knoxville on Nov. 13 might be the most significant hurdle left between them and a 12-0 regular season.

Kentucky has its off week next week also before heading to Starkville to play Mississippi State on Oct. 30. The Wildcats still project as the likely 2nd-place squad in the SEC East.