No. 1 Georgia defeated Kentucky 16-6 to improve to 11-0 on the season. Following the game, football beat reporter Meadow Barrow graded each position group’s performance.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett didn’t have his best game against the Kentucky Wildcats. He completed 13 out of 19 of his passes for 116 yards and one interception as opposed to quarterback Will Levis’ 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He struggled in the red zone, a common occurrence this season for the Georgia offense, which didn’t score a touchdown until the third quarter.
The Bulldogs amassed 247 total rushing yards against the Wildcats. Kenny McIntosh led the offense on the ground with 19 carries for 143 yards and one touchdown. He showed explosion once he hit holes and had the longest run in the game for 26 yards in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, though, the Wildcats defense made a huge fourth down stop on Kendall Milton, preventing a touchdown and turning the ball over on downs. Milton finished with six carries for 31 yards.
Georgia’s run game was more impactful than the receiving game against the Wildcats. Brock Bowers and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint both only had two catches for 10 yards while Ladd McConkey had three catches for 28 yards. A could-have-been interception was wiped away in the third quarter after Bennett threw a pass to Dominick Blacklock for 35 yards, Georgia’s largest pass in the game. He led the receiving room with two receptions for 38 yards.
The Bulldogs offensive line performed well against Kentucky’s defensive front. The Bulldogs rushing attack averaged 5.4 yards per carry and didn’t allow any sacks on Bennett, though they did produce some holes which allowed two quarterback hurries. Xavier Truss suffered turf toe in the week leading up to the Bulldogs’ victory against Tennessee a few weeks ago. He started on the offensive line against the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs’ defensive line has surged the last three games with the return of standout defensive lineman Jalen Carter. He finished with five tackles as his run of strong play continued.. Mykel Williams’ sack was called back in the second quarter after a hands-to-the-face call on Robert Beal Jr.
Smael Mondon Jr. led the defense with 11 tackles and one quarterback hurry with Jamon Dumas-Johnson behind him with eight tackles. Dumas-Johnson was the first defender to make the stop in the Wildcats’ first fourth down attempt in the first quarter. Robert Beal Jr. had two tackles and half of a sack. He cost the team an earned sack after he was penalized for a hands-to-the-face call in the second quarter.
Though the Wildcats only had one touchdown, quarterback Will Levis was able to connect with his receivers, amassing 206 passing yards and 6.7 yards per pass. Defensive back Kelee Ringo allowed a 31-yard pass in the first quarter but made up for it with an interception at the goal line to prevent a possible touchdown in the second quarter. He returned it for 45 yards. Malaki Starks led the secondary with eight tackles and one pass breakup while Christopher Smith had seven tackles. Smith did have a couple missed opportunities that resulted in a few of the Wildcats’ longest plays of the game. Javon Bullard returned to the defense after sustaining a leg contusion last week against Mississippi State. He finished with four tackles and half of a sack (shared with Beal Jr.).
There were strong winds in Lexington afternoon, but that didn’t affect Georgia kicker Jack Podlesney as he made all of his kicks against Kentucky, hitting three field goals and one extra point. Both of Brett Thorson’s punts landed inside the 20.