ATHENS, Ga. — Carson Beck threw for a career-high 389 yards and four touchdowns, the Georgia defense shut down what had been a prolific rushing attack, and the top-ranked Bulldogs won a battle of unbeatens, 51-13, against No. 20 Kentucky on Saturday night in front of a rabid, sellout crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium.
With the victory, Georgia (6-0, 3-0 SEC) extended its overall winning streak to 23 games. In addition, it was the Bulldogs’ 33rd straight regular-season win, its 22nd straight SEC regular-season win, and it was the team’s 23rd win in a row on Dooley Field.
Kentucky (5-1, 2-1) came in fresh off a 33-14 rout of Florida last week in which the Wildcats ran 329 yards, including 280 by Ray Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher. But the Bulldogs didn’t let their ground game get going, holding the Wildcats to 55 yards on the ground — just 34 through three quarters — and 183 yards of total offense.
Georgia’s offense, meanwhile, scored on all five possessions in the first half, including three straight touchdowns to start the game. The Bulldogs had more than 300 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 608 for the game, with Beck completing 28 of 35 passes.
Tight end Brock Bowers was again a popular target, ending his night with seven receptions for 132 yards — his third straight 100-yard game — and a touchdown. Running back Daijun Edwards was productive as a runner and receiver, combining for 105 yards of offense.
The Bulldogs started the game, their first against a ranked opponent this season, with their best opening drive. Beck completed all four of his passes, starting with a 7-yard screen to Edwards on first down and ending with a 40-yard completion to wideout Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint on a crossing pattern toward the left corner to make it 7-0 with 11:26 to play in the quarter.
Kentucky’s Ray Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher, was able to move the chains a couple of times with runs, but the Bulldog defense eventually forced a punt on fourth-and-long near midfield. Georgia’s offense took over at its 18-yard line and quickly marched all the way down for another touchdown.
Beck began the drive with a pass right to Rara Thomas for 12 yards, followed by a 2-yard completion to Bowers. Two plays later, a good play-action fake sprung Bowers free down the middle of the field for a 25-yard gain. Later, Beck hit Rara Thomas in the front left corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:25 remaining in the first. The play was initial ruled incomplete, but a review showed that Thomas managed to get his left foot down before going out of bounds. Through two drives, Beck was 11 of 11 for 146 yards and two TDs.
After another Georgia stop, helped by a Kentucky penalty just like on the Wildcats’ first possession, the Bulldog offense got the ball at its 5. And kept the ball for a long time. Flags on both teams moved the ball forwards and backward, including a 15-yard personal foul on Kentucky after Beck threw incomplete on third-and-7 at the Georgia 20.
When Kentucky jumped offsides, Beck had a free play to make the most off, and he hit Rosemy-Jacksaint up the left side for a 30-yard gain to the UK 16. A couple of plays later, on first down at the 5, Beck faked a handoff and closed out a 12-play, 95-yard drive by dumping a short pass down the middle to a wide-open tight end Oscar Delp, making it 21-0 with 11:03 to play in the half.
Kentucky got on the scoreboard at the end of its next drive, taking advantage of a couple of Georgia penalties to keep moving the chains. On first-and-goal at the 4, quarterback Devin Leary hit tight end Josh Kattus in the back of the end zone for the touchdown, cutting the Georgia lead to 21-7 with 6:44 to play in the half.
On the first play of Georgia’s ensuing possession, Beck got good protection and made the most of his time, hitting Bowers for a 49-yard gain down the left side, down to the Wildcat 21. Beck and Bowers couldn’t connect in the end zone on third-and-6, so the Bulldogs had to settle for a 36-yard Peyton Woodring field goal, making it 24-7 with 5:15 on the clock.
Georgia ended Kentucky’s next drive with a 13-yard sack on third down by a blitzing linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson and cornerback Kamari Lassiter. Georgia’s offense then got right back to work, marching down the field for another touchdown, this one a 5-yard run by Kendall Milton, pushing the Bulldog lead to 31-7 with 61 seconds left in the half.
Kentucky threw a couple of incomplete passes on its next drive and had to punt, giving the Bulldogs one more possession. And Georgia stayed on the attack.
A 15-yard pass interference penalty on a deep ball gave Georgia 15 yards, followed by an 11-yard completion to Edwards, to the UK 36, with 10 seconds remaining in the half. Beck hit Edwards underneath for 12 yards, down to the 24, with 4 seconds remaining. And as time expired, Woodring connected on a 42-yard field goal, making it 34-7 at the half. Georgia out-gained the Wildcats 384-127 in the half, with Beck throwing for 307 yards on 21 of 26 passing.
Kentucky struck first in the second half, intercepting a Beck pass on third-and-long. Maxwell Hairston returned his interception 48 yards, to the UGA 28, and Davis took a short pass from Leary and ran it in 26 yards for the score. Davis was stopped on the two=point attempt, keeping the Georgia lead at 34-13 with 10:34 left in the third.
Georgia did some damage on the ground at the start of the ensuing drive, with Edwards and Milton both picking up nice gains and moving the chains. And then Beck hit Bowers up the right side for a 14-yard gain to the Kentucky 19. The drive ended with a 32-yard Woodring field goal that pushed the Bulldog lead to 37-13 with 3:27 remaining in the third.
The Bulldogs padded their lead with 39 seconds left in the third, when Beck hit Bowers running up the right hash for a 21-yard touchdown that made it 44-13. The play before, on third-and-8, Beck connected with Thomas on a back-shoulder throw for 19 yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs topped 600 yards of offense for the game and went ahead 51-13 when backup quarterback Brock Vangagriff hit running back Andrew Paul for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:38 to go. It was the first career touchdown for Paul, a redshirt freshman.
The Bulldogs are back in action next Saturday when they play at Vanderbilt.