ATHENS — Georgia’s defense came to play in the rain, and Kirby Smart planned accordingly Saturday night.
The No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) recorded their second shutout of the season, blanking Kentucky 21-0 amid heavy rain and gusting winds at Sanford Stadium.
Tailback D’Andre Swift rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns as UGA played mistake-free football on offense, pounding the Wildcats with its giant offensive line and productive run game.
Kentucky managed just 177 yards of total offense, not completing a pass until there was just 4 1/2 minutes left.
Jake Fromm was 9-of-12 passing for 35 yards, deferring to a ground game that picked up steam as quarters passed by.
Georgia rushed for 235 yards on 42 carries, scoring three rushing touchdowns in the second half to pull away.
Georgia has a bye next Saturday before returning to action at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 2 against Florida in Jacksonville.
Here’s how the game broke down:
Georgia 21, Kentucky 0, 6:24: D’Andre Swift 3-yard run (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 13 plays, 92 yards, 8:18. Key Play: Brian Herrien 14-yard run.
• Kentucky stopped on fourth-and-goal at 8-yard line, 14:42.
Georgia 14, Kentucky 0, 1:54: Brian Herrien 8-yard run (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 5 plays, 31 yards, 2:36. Key play: D’Andre Swift 11-yard run.
Georgia 7, Kentucky 0, 6:20: D’Andre Swift 39-yard run (Rodrigo Blankenship kick. Drive: One play, 39 yards, 11 seconds. Key play: 15-yard shanked Kentucky punt.
It’s the first scoreless first half in a Georgia game since 1991, when the Bulldogs played Alabama in Tuscaloosa, losing 10-0.
Georgia held Kentucky without a completed pass.
Georgia held Kentucky to 52 yards of total offense. UAG lead the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense (12.3 ppg).
Freshman WR George Pickens made his first career start.
Georgia explosive plays:
Fromm to Pickens, 22 yards
D’Andre Swift 23-yard run
D’Andre Swift 20-yard run
Jake Fromm 8-of-11, 28 yards; Lynn Bowden 0-of-3 passing
D’Andre Swift 9-81 rushing; Lynn Bowden 7-26
George Pickens 3-28 receiving
• Georgia stopped on fourth-and-1 at 50-yard line, 8:51
53 degrees, feels like 49, winds at 14 mph, rain
Georgia wins toss, will receive
SEC Saturday 10-19-19
Texas A&M at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m. kickoff
Tennessee at Alabama, 9 p.m. kickoff
• Mecole Hardman leads calling of the Dawgs
• CB DJ Daniel announced as a starter; CB Tyson Campbell (foot) appears full-speed in warmups, questionable to play
• First-team offensive line in warmups: LT Andrew Thomas, LG Cade Mays, C Trey Hill, RG Ben Cleveland, RT Isaiah Wilson
George Pickens announced as a starter along with Demetris Robertson and Tyler Simmons in WR corps
SEC Scores: See Below
ATHENS — Georgia football opens the second half of the season looking for improvement, and it starts with players stepping up and emerging.
The No. 10-ranked Bulldogs play host to Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday in a game that should provide plenty of opportunities for players on all levels.
Redshirt freshman Kearis Jackson is back from a broken hand and could break out, and Coach Kirby Smart has continued to praise the improvement of linebackers Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean.
Freshman defensive back Tyrique Stevenson was identified as one of the most promising players in spring drills and at the start of fall camp, and he could be on the verge of taking the next step.
“He’s really improving, he’s coming in, he’s meeting more,” UGA cornerback Eric Stokes said, asked about Stevenson’s progress. “He’s finally learning the ropes, like, ‘I need to come in and start doing a little bit.’
“He was going through a freshman slump like anybody, it’s just a learning experience, but he’s finally starting to pick it up.”
Smart said Stevenson has looked better in practices of late, too.
“Tyrique had a good week of practice last week and he actually played in the game when Mark Webb’s injury occurred,” Smart said, reflecting on Stevenson’s snaps against South Carolina. “He had two opportunities to make tackles – he missed those opportunities – one was on a close sack,
“I think that’s more of an experience of playing not a lack of ability. But those are the growing pains you have to go through when you play guys who are getting their first considerable playing time. But he’s still in a battle at (dime defensive back) to play, he’s in a battle at corner. He’s becoming a better practice player.”