ATHENS — The 2023 version of Georgia football took a big step toward being the best version of itself Saturday night, running Ole Miss out of the stadium in the process.

Brock Bowers and Amarius Mims returned from ankle injuries and surgeries, and Kendall Milton appeared near full speed to provide the offense a lift in the 52-17 win over the Rebels.

A new home win streak record (25) was set, and Coach Kirby Smart can now say he has beaten every program in the league through his eight years at the helm.

Locker room chemistry even got a huge lift, with Smart able to sub in the second team with more than 8 minutes left.

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It’s an element that should not be overlooked with an offseason of inevitable transfer portal losses soon approaching.

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In most every way, it was the best win of the season for Georgia football, giving the Bulldogs momentum as they head to Knoxville for their biggest challenge of the year.

Stock soaring

Carson Beck passed and ran with more authority and efficiency than ever before, looking more like an NFL quarterback than a college player making his 10th start.

Kendall Milton ran with power and explosion, having finally put the early-season injuries behind him. Milton now looks to string 100-yard performances together for the first time in his career.

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Javon Bullard needed to bring his “A” game and did not disappoint, recording an interception and making 5 stops including a soaring stop on Quinshon Judkins

Kamari Lassiter continues to look the part of first-round pick, strong in run support with five stops along with a pass break-up.

Offensive line looked as dominant as it has all season with Amarius Mims back in the fold, this could be the unit that propels UGA to another title

Stock up

Kirby Smart knocked down a couple more walls beating Ole Miss and is now just one win away from tying the SEC record for consecutive wins held by Paul “Bear” Bryant (1978-80) and Gene Stallings (1991-93).

C.J. Allen debuted at middle linebacker with a team-high 9 tackles and a sack, not bad for starters.

Smael Mondon stepped up with Jamon Dumas-Johnson out, assignment sound making 4 stops.

Nazir Stackhouse is on a roll, following up his pivotal interception against Missouri with three tackles and a sack.

Stock even

Punt return continues to shoot itself in the foot with penalties, as another strong Mekhi Mews return was wiped out by a flag. Surrendering a successful third-quarter fake punt was another letdown Smart will surely address.