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Nick Chubb was all smiles after his 151-yard, two-touchdown performance against Kentucky on senior night.

Georgia football’s 5 best players against Kentucky

Cy Brown

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Top Dawgs

Georgia defeated Kentucky 42-13 on Saturday to finish the year with a perfect home record and a perfect record against the SEC East. It was also senior night at Sanford Stadium, and the seniors showed out in their final game in Athens. Here are Georgia’s top five players from the win against Kentucky.

5. Javon Wims — Wims has excelled as the primary target for Jake Fromm, and the Kentucky game was no exception. In the win, Wims had 6 catches for 83 yards and his fifth touchdown catch of the season.

4. Isaiah Wynn — Georgia had a big day on the ground thanks in large part to Wynn’s blocking. His block sprung Nick Chubb’s 55-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Wynn also was excellent in pass protection and didn’t allow Kentucky’s dangerous pass rushers to touch Fromm.

3. Roquan Smith — Smith is the lone underclassman on his list, but there’s a good chance it was his last game in Sanford Stadium, as well. A jump to the NFL seems like the obvious choice for a player as good as Smith. If it was his final game in Athens, it was be a fitting end. He once again led all defenders with 9 total tackles, 5 solo and a sack.

2. Sony Michel — Michel ran for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns, tying his career-high for touchdowns in a game that dates back to his freshman season against Troy. His 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put the Bulldogs up 21-6 to give them their first comfortable lead of the game.

1. Nick Chubb — What a way for Chubb to end his career in Athens. He ran for 151 and 2 touchdowns, including a 55-yard touchdown dash that will go down as his last touch in Sanford Stadium. That run put him over 1,000 yards for the season, making him the second Bulldogs player, along with Herschel Walker, to have three 1,00o-yard seasons in his career. It was a fitting finale for one of the best Bulldogs of all-time.

Seniority rule

You probably noticed four of the five Top Dawgs are seniors, while the lone junior could jump to the NFL after this season. It was a big night for all the seniors but especially for the foursome of players who chose to come back to school following a disappointing junior season instead of declaring for the NFL draft — Chubb, Michel, Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. Their decision to return to Athens was rewarded with a perfect home record, a perfect SEC East record and an SEC East title in their senior season. From Tori McElhaney of DawgNation:

“They’ve got something now that they would have never had if they would have left back then,” [Kirby] Smart said. “Think about the taste in their mouths if they were out there, sitting there watching this team do this. Now we would have struggled without some of those guys, but with those guys deciding to return, they are a part of history that there never would have been.” …

“I think the character of our group is clear,” Smart said. “Led by the seniors, they accepted a new staff. They were willing not just to buy in to our new way but they have been selling it to our younger players, which is a big part of it. That is what it takes to be a good football team.”

Appreciating greatness

I don’t think there’s a Georgia Bulldogs fan in the world who doesn’t appreciate what Chubb has done in his career. But does the rest of the country appreciate just how good Chubb has been, especially considering he split carries with another elite back for four seasons? Smart was asked about that after the game, and went on a bit of a rant. From Chip Towers of DawgNation:

“Yeah, I certainly feel like he’s underappreciated,” he said. “I don’t know how you guys feel but I appreciate what he’s done in an era where rushing the ball is really, really hard. It’s gotten harder and harder and harder. I’ve got no statistics to prove it, but I’d venture to say Herschel ran for his [yards] in an era where people were rushing the ball for a lot of yards. I’m not diminishing what Herschel did. I’m just enlightening people to Nick Chubb has rushed for three thousand-yard seasons in the SEC, the toughest conference in the country to run the ball. That’s pretty remarkable.

“And he did it alongside another back that is maybe just as talented as he is. What would he have done with 30 or 40 carries? Who knows. But I’m sure his body appreciates it.”

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