Georgia football coach Kirby Smart speaks to CBS reporter Jenny Dell at halftime. UGA led Kentucky on Nov. 19, 2022 at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky. (Photo by Jeff Sentell)
Jeff Sentell, DawgNation

Georgia’s Kirby Smart joins Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban with back-to-back SEC perfection, ‘means something to this program’

Kirby Smart’s Georgia football program became just the third in the SEC to go undefeated in the SEC in back-to-back seasons in the past 40 years on Saturday.

The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs beat Kentucky in a 16-6 slugfest at a chilly Coors Field on Saturday, running Georgia’s record to 11-0 overall and 8-0 in league play.

Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama when the Tide put together back-to-back perfect SEC seasons in 2008 and 2009, and he was a player at Georgia when Steve Spurrier’s Florida program accomplished the feat in 1995 and 1996.

“It means something to this program,” Smart told the CBS TV cameras after the game. “I have tremendous respect for this league; you play in these road games to go undefeated two years in a row, it shows what kind of character your team has.”

Georgia built a 16-0 lead before the Wildcats grabbed the momentum with a goal-line stand and drove 99 yards to cut the lead to 16-6.

Smart was asked about his emotions after the game and shrugged.

“My heart rate is fine, we’ve got a good team,” Smart said. “We’ve got a bunch of good players that play hard.

“We knew it would be this kind of game.”

Georgia rode its run game, putting the load on Kenny McIntosh’s shoulders, and the senior responded with a career-high 143 yards and a TD on 19 carries.

McIntosh, a senior, said going unbeaten in the league was big, but more is ahead.

“It definitely feels good, with all the work we put in the summer and spring, and now the opportunity is here,” McIntosh said. “We’re not done yet.”

McIntosh passed the credit for his success running the football to his offensive linemen.

“I want to give the praise to my offensive linemen being physical, moving guys out of the way,” McIntosh said in his life national television interview on CBS.

“We’d been talking about it all week, and they came out here and executed,” he said. “I thank God for giving me the ability to choose the holes the O-Linemen were opening for me.”

Georgia can set a new mark for most wins by a senior class when it plays host to Georgia Tech at noon next Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs have clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game, where they’ll face LSU at 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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