ATHENS —Rain poured down and a harsh wind blew through Sanford Stadium, gusts over 20 mph at times.
Georgia and Kentucky offensive play callers responded accordingly. A slugfest ensued, the Bulldogs finally overpowering the Wildcats in the second half en route to the 21-0 victory.
UGA held Kentucky to 177 total yards of offense and just 9 first downs.
Meanwhile, tailback D’Andre Swift rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns to lead Georgia, which didn’t have the ball in Kentucky territory until the 6:31 mark of the second half.
Swift scored on a 39-yard run one play later to give the Bulldogs all the points they would need.
It was a scoreless tie at the end of the first half; it was first time that had happened in a Georgia game since a 10-0 loss to Alabama in 1991.
Georgia out-gained Kentucky 123-52 through the first 30 minutes, but the closest the Bulldogs could get to crossing midfield was a fourth-and-1 attempt. Quarterback Jake Fromm was stopped on the play, coming up short.
The Bulldogs’ average starting position on their six first-half drives was their own 15-yard line, and Smart was not in the mindset to take many chances with a wet ball and a wind.
Fromm was 8-of-11 for 29 yards passing in the first half, and UGA ran the ball 16 straight times in the second half before he would attempt another pass.
Fromm finished 9-of-12 passing for 35 yards, with the Bulldogs gaining 235 yards on the ground.
D’Andre Swift was the MVP, no doubt, charging into a stacked Kentucky defensive front throughout the night, but still managing to average 8.5 yards per carry in leading the offense.
Punter Jake Camarda averaged 52 yards on six punts, handling the pressure and the elements.
Freshman WR George Pickens made the most of this first career start, making four catches for 35 yards to lead all receivers.
Georgia pass coverage: UK’s Lynn Bowden didn’t complete a pass until there was 4 1/2 minutes left, throwing incomplete on his first nine attempts. He finished 2-of-15 for 17 yards.
J.R. Reed stepped up with physical play, forcing a fumble in the third quarter with big hit on QB Lynn Bowden.
Richard LeCounte was strong in run support throughout the night, and he came up with a fumble recovery on the Kentucky 31 in the third quarter.
Brian Herrien had four straight carries to extend UGA’s lead to 14-0; runs of 3, 5 and 4 to pick up a first down at the 8, and he scored from there.
Rodrigo Blankenship came up with a TD-saving tackle on Zach Johnson kick return at Georgia 40.
Jeremaine Johnson with the QB pressure on Lynn Bowden on Kentucky’s failed fourth-down attempt at the UGA 9 in the fourth quarter.
Georgia short yardage offense: The Bulldogs couldn’t convert a fourth-and-1 at the 50 with Fromm, even with Cade Mays and Charlie Woerner in the backfield as pushers.
Prather Hudson is known as a special teams ace, but his holding call wiped out a 10-yard Dominick Blaylock punt return and pinned UGA back to the 9.
Charlie Woerner holding penalty wipes out 8-yard Brian Herrien run. Woerner got blown up on a James Cook swing pass in the first quarter, too.
Safety Divaad Wilson missed an open-field tackle on 9-yard RB run for first down.