ATHENS — A quarter-by-quarter look at Georgia’s 27-3 victory over Kentucky on Saturday at Sanford Stadium:
Big play: Georgia scored its first touchdown since Oct. 10 when Terry Godwin took the snap in the “Wild Dog” formation, fumbled the ball, picked it up, then ran 28 yards up the middle to the end zone. It’s not the way you draw it up, but Georgia’s beleaguered offense will take points any way it can get them.
Turning point: Georgia was forced to punt from its own 22-yard line late in the quarter, but got a big break when Kentucky’s Ryan Timmons fumbled the punt. Georgia’s Nathan Theus recovered the ball at the Kentucky 25-yard line. Five plays later, Georgia stretched its lead to 10-0 on a Marshall Morgan field goal.
The takeaway: The 10 points were more than the Bulldogs had scored in either of their past two games (a 9-6 win over Missouri and a 27-3 loss to Florida).
Score: Georgia 10, Kentucky 0
Big play: Well, it seemed momentarily as if it would be a big play anyway. Georgia safety Dominick Sanders intercepted a pass at the Kentucky 30-yard line and made a return that appeared destined to set up Georgia’s offense near the goal line. But the play ended badly for Georgia, with Sanders having the ball stripped away at the Kentucky 6-yard line and the Wildcats’ Jojo Kemp recovering the fumble there.
Turning point: Georgia receiver Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a catch with about three minutes left in the quarter, and Kentucky recovered at the UGA 20-yard line. Four plays later, the Wildcats cut Georgia’s lead to 10-3 with a 32-yard Austin MacGinnis field goal. Georgia failed to match the field goal when Morgan missed a 38-yard attempt as the half ended.
The takeaway: Not an impressive first half by either team’s offense.
Score: Georgia 10, Kentucky 3
Big play: Georgia’s defense stopped Kentucky on fourth-and-two from the UGA 48-yard line on the Wildcats’ first possession of the quarter, with nose guard Chris Mayes tackling Kemp for no gain. That key stop gave Georgia excellent field position, leading to a 10-play, 52-yard drive culminated by Sony Michel’s 1-yard touchdown run for a 17-3 lead with 6:28 left in the quarter.
Turning point: Georgia took firm control of the game when Michel broke loose for a 45-yard run to the Kentucky 12-yard line late in the quarter, sending him past 100 yards rushing for the day. Two plays later, Keith Marshall caught a screen pass from Greyson Lambert and made an impressive run to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown and a 24-3 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
The takeaway: Through three quarters, Georgia had outgained Kentucky 304 yards to 131.
Score: Georgia 24, Kentucky 3
Big play: Georgia safety Sanders intercepted his second Patrick Towles pass of the game, returning a tipped ball from the UGA 24-yard line to the Kentucky 38. (Towles, the Kentucky quarterback, finished the day 8-for-21 for 96 passing yards.) Six plays later, a 27-yard field goal by Morgan upped the Bulldogs’ lead to 27-3.
Turning point: See third quarter. But once the Bulldogs took control of the game, they didn’t relinquish it. They finished with a season-high 300 yards rushing, including a career-high 165 by Michel.
The takeaway: The game provided an impressive second half by Georgia’s offense, an impressive four quarters by Georgia’s defense and, for the Bulldogs, a welcomed respite from a week of turmoil.
Score: Georgia 27, Kentucky 3