ATHENS — Dominick Sanders couldn’t wait to get another chance. He wanted to erase the thoughts of fumbling on his first interception.
So Sanders picked off Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles again, this time in the fourth quarter, a turnover that led to Georgia’s final three points in its 27-3 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday.
“I wanted that second interception pretty bad,” he said. “It’s just fun getting interceptions.”
If anyone should know, it’s Sanders.
This is Sanders’ second career two-interception game and he leads the Bulldogs with four picks this season. He also accomplished it in the Bulldogs’ Belk Bowl win over Louisville last December.
“If you watch him in practice, he’s always picking off balls,” coach Mark Richt said. “He’s got great ball skills and instincts to know when and where the quarterback is going to throw it. He’s not afraid to go make a play. He can break on the ball and catch it when he gets there.”
Sanders’ play helped Georgia hold Kentucky to 180 yards (79 rushing, 101 passing) and kept an opponent out of the end zone for the second time in three games. Towles and backup Drew Barker competed only nine of their 23 attempts.
“I think we have been playing pretty well,” linebacker Jake Ganus said. “Overall, our defense is getting better. I think we had a great game plan and we executed and did the things we need to do to be successful.”
Sanders, a sophomore safety, enjoyed a taste of the end zone earlier this year when he returned an interception 88 yards to seal Georgia’s win at Vanderbilt.
He tried to repeat the feat he second quarter when he stepped in front of Towles’ pass and grabbed it front of Kentucky’s C.J. Conrad at the Wildcats’ 30-yard line.
Sanders weaved his way inside the 10 and was still working his way toward the end zone when Kentucky’s Jojo Kemp knocked the ball from his grasp and then fell on it.
That opportunity went for naught, so when Sanders saw another chance to add to his interception total, he took it.
He picked off Towles near the beginning of the fourth quarter and returned it 38 yards to the Kentucky’s 38 to set up Georgia’s final score.
“I just kept my eyes on him and broke on the ball,” Sanders said. “Both of those picks were like that. I was just reading him and reading his eyes. I pretty much broke on them both times.”