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Georgia maintains strong grip on No. 1 in AP Top 25 thanks to reloaded defense

The Georgia Bulldogs have been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 26 of the past 28 AP Top 25 polls. The two weeks they were not, they were ranked No. 3.
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Georgia defended its No. 1 rank in the Associated Press Top 25 poll thanks to how Kirby Smart’s reloaded defensive unit stymied Kentucky on Saturday.

The Bulldogs received 62 of the 63 first-place votes (Ohio State got the other), elevating them above the No. 2 Buckeyes, Michigan, TCU and USC, which rounded out the Top Five.

RELATED: CFP Field clears up after “Survival Saturday” action

The SEC has five teams in the Top 25 with one week remaining in the regular season before conference championship games take place on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

Georgia features the top-scoring defense in the nation (11.09 points per game) and is No. 3 in run defense, No. 5 in total defense and No. 7 in pass efficiency defense despite losing eight NFL draft picks of last year’s unit, including five first-rounders.

Saturday, the Bulldogs stopped the Wildcats twice on fourth downs and Kelee Ringo intercepted a pass at the UGA 2-yard line in Lexington.

UGA safety Christopher Smith is a finalist for the Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player, while defensive tackle Jalen Carter is a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett, who has inked over $1 million in NIL deals, improved to 25-3 as a starter despite throwing for a season-low 116 yards and getting picked off for the fifth time in the last four games.

RELATED: Bennett sells nickname, will now go by “The Milkman” after new NIL deal

Bennett’s mobility was on display as he had a 17-yard run, finishing with 25 yards on his five scrambles.

The AP Top 25 rankings for Week 12

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan

4. TCU

5. USC

6. LSU

7. Clemson

8. Alabama

9. Tennessee

10. Oregon

11. Penn State

12. Washington

13. Notre Dame

14. Utah

15. Kansas State

16. Florida State

17. UCLA

18. North Carolina

19. Tulane

20. Ole Miss

21. Cincinnati

22. Oregon State

23. Coastal Carolina

24. Texas

25. UCF

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