“Cool and calm,” said Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart about the last drive. “Relax, don’t panic, give us a chance to win and don’t give them a chance to win and that is what happened. And we have a great field goal kicker right there.”
Georgia started the game-winning drive on its own 25-yard line with 2:27 mark left in the game after Kentucky hit a game-tying field goal to notch it at 24-all. Bulldog freshman quarterback Jacob Eason orchestrated the nine-play 67-yard drive by going 4-of-4 passing for 42 yards. Junior tailback Sony Michel added 22 yards on three carries.
At the 9:13 mark in the fourth quarter, Georgia seized the first lead since the opening touchdown when junior tailback Sony Michel dived to the pylon for a 26-yard touchdown run to make it 22-21. Eason found freshman tight end Isaac Nauta for the two-point conversion to make it a 24-21 advantage. The Georgia defense then halted the Wildcats’ offense at the goal line resulting in the game-tying field goal.
Eason went 17-for-31 with 245 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. The Georgia ground attack was led by junior tailback Sony Michel with 127 yards, while junior wide receiver Javon Wims headed the receiving corps with five catches for 90 yards, all career-highs. Wims also recorded a career-long reception in the second quarter as the 51-yard catch set up a field goal.
Redshirt freshman placekicker Blankenship recorded a career-high 13 points, going 4-for-4 on field goals including a career-long 49-yarder.
The Bulldogs’ offense amassed 460 yards including 245 in the aerial attack and 215 on the ground. Freshman defensive lineman Julian Rochester and junior linebacker Reggie Carter led the defense with eight tackles apiece en route to holding the Wildcats’ offense to 308 yards. Rochester also notched his first-career sack and forced fumble. Sophomore cornerback Deandre Baker snatched his first-career interception in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs’ defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession and the Georgia offense turned it into seven points. The six-play, 64-yard drive concluded with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Eason to junior wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Chubb had 27 yards in the drive including an 18-yard scamper.
Kentucky responded in the last minute of the first quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Stanley Boom Williams.
The second quarter consisted of two Kentucky rushing touchdowns and two Blankenship field goals. At the halfway point, the Bulldogs trailed 13-14. Georgia had 238 total yards including 108 yards on the ground. Chubb compiled 59 yards on 13 carries, while junior tailback Michel gained 49 yards on 11 carries. Eason went 6-of-11 for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Kentucky freshman tailback Benjamin Snell Jr. rushed for a 1-yard touchdown at the 9:15 mark in the third quarter to extend its lead to 21-13.
A few minutes later, Georgia graduate defensive back Maurice Smith jarred the ball loose from Wildcat receiver Stephen Johnson and recovered it for the Bulldogs. Georgia cashed in on the turnover and cut the deficit to five points at 21-16 with a Blankenship’s career-long 49-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs return home to square off against Auburn at 3:30 on CBS.