LEXINGTON, Ky. — Georgia football took care of business on Saturday afternoon in Kentucky, clinching the SEC East title with a 34-17 win over the Wildcats at Kroger Field.
The win will put the defending SEC champion Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) back in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 1 against the SEC West champion.
The No. 6-ranked Bulldogs were in control throughout the action at No. 9 Kentucky (7-2, 5-2), leading 14-3 at the half despite two unforced fumbles.
It was 28-3 midway through the third quarter after D’Andre Swift ripped off a career-long 83-yard touchdown run, putting the game out of reach against the Wildcats.
Georgia totaled 331 yards rushing against Kentucky’s celebrated front, averaging 6.6 yards per carry in running away with the win.
Tailback D’Andre Swift is clearly healthier than he was before the bye week of two weeks ago, as reflected by his career-high 156 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries. Swift’s cutting ability and acceleration was evident against Kentucky’s celebrated front.
Quarterback Justin Fields proved himself an effective third down option, running for 9 yards on third-and-9 late in the game to effectively seal the Bulldogs’ win. Fields converted on a third-and-1 at the UK 17 earlier in the fourth quarter.
Receiver Jeremiah Holloman was the go-to target most of the game, and he made the most of it with 4 catches for 39 yards.
Inside linebacker Monty Rice led the Bulldogs in tackles for a second consecutive game, making 8 tackles with a sack to help bottle up Wildcats’ All-SEC tailback Benny Snell (20 carries, 73 yards and a touchdown).
Freshman outside linebacker Brenton Cox made his presence felt immediately after coming in for D’Andre Walker on Kentucky’s second drive in the game, sacking Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson for an 8-yard loss on a third-and-5 at the Georgia 43.
Freshman punter Jake Camarda gave the Bulldogs a boost with his 55-yard punt in the first quarter from the Georgia 22. The punt was as high as long, and it was fair caught.
Senior linebacker Juwan Taylor forced a key fumble on Kentucky’s third drive that UGA freshman Tyson Campbell recovered at the Bulldogs’ 33-yard line.
Freshman linebacker Channing Tindall came up with a sack on Kentucky’s third-and-9 at the UGA 11, relegating the Wildcats to a second quarter field goal.
Quarterback Jake Fromm was 14-of-19 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown, but the positives were somewhat mitigated by his fumbled exchange with Swift and a poorly executed quarterback sneak at the Kentucky 1-yard line.
Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was 2-for-2 on field goals with makes of 23 and 38 yards.
Cornerback Tyson Campbell had his share of early-game struggles in coverage and in run support.
Goal-line package: It happened again. With second-and-goal at the 1 (Swift) and then third-and-goal at the 1 (Fromm) ended with no gain on either play. Justin Fields, who had executed in two short-yardage situations earlier in the game, was standing on the sideline. UGA was stopped on six run plays from the Florida 1 in the 36-17 win over the Gators last week.