ATHENS — Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland said it was back yard football Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.
And it was just what the Bulldogs needed.
“It’s the kind of game we all grew up playing in the back yard, crappy days you go outside and you play football with your friends outside in the yard, and that’s what (Saturday) was,” Cleveland said. “We went out there, we said before the game we wanted to have fun, play physical, just get after it. That’s exactly what we did.”
It added up to a 21-0 win for the No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) against Kentucky (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on cold, rainy night in Athens.
Georgia outgained the Wildcats 270 yards to 177. Both teams stuck primarily with their run games throughout the action.
UGA quarterback Jake Fromm was 9-of-12 passing for 35 yards. The ball so slick that the Bulldogs attempted just one pass in the second half.
At one point, Georgia had 25 consecutive run plays.
“He just didn’t have the feel of the ball in his hand, with it being wet, he didn’t have he confidence to throw it, and he’d rather take it and run it himself and get what he can rather than make a bad decision and throw it in the hands of the defense,” Cleveland said.
“So he’s really playing smart at quarterback. Even when it does look like he’s a little shaky back there, but he knows what he’s doing.”
Fromm said Georgia knew the weather conditions would limit the pass game, they just didn’t know how much.
“You know going into it, it’s going to be a ground and pound game, and you have to accept that and guys have to take that as a chip on their shoulder and it’s let’s go out and execute,” Fromm said. “Eventually the body blows just keep adding up. Tthe physicality of the game took over.”
Indeed, the game was tied 0-0 at halftime before Georgia broke through on D’Andre Swift’s 39-yard touchdown run.
The Bulldogs gained 140 of their 235 yards rushing in the second half. Brian Herrien added an 8-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Swift scored again from 3 yards out in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland said the backs did what they were supposed to do, following the offensive line blocks and hitting the holes hard.
“Most of our rushing yards came from the last half of football, so we let them piggyback off us,” Cleveland said. “That’s what they come here to do, is sit here and find holes and make yards. We do what we’re supposed to do and they do the rest.”
Swift leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation with 752 yards rushing. Swift’s 6.84 yards per carry ranks also leads the SEC and is 12th in the country.
Georgia ranks second in the SEC and 14th in the nation in rushing with 236.9 yards rushing per game.
Georgia OL Ben Cleveland
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