By Rebecca Washney
ATHENS, Ga.—After a humiliating loss to Auburn last week, the Georgia Bulldogs picked themselves back up to take down the visiting Kentucky Wildcats 42-13.
“They showed a lot of effort, a lot of toughness,” head coach Kirby Smart. “I’m proud of these seniors.”
Ranked number seven after a 41-17 loss to Auburn, Georgia regrouped for senior night and got the win against Kentucky, claiming their spot in the final four on Georgia’s final SEC game of the year.
The Bulldogs started slowly in the first quarter, facing some trouble after freshman quarterback Jake Fromm seemingly panicked and threw an early interception at the Georgia 32- yard line.
Kentucky took advantage of the interception to get their first three points on the board with a 37-yard field goal, Austin MacGinnis’s tenth field goal in a row.
The Bulldogs came back quickly, with tailback Nick Chubb running in for UGA’s first touchdown, rushing in 8-yards for his 40th touchdown this season.
Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson threw a 45-yard pass to Blake Bone, and Kentucky got close enough for MacGinnis to nail another 35-yard field goal, bringing the score to 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with three great passing plays from Fromm, a 21-yard pass to Javon Wims, a pass to Terry Godwin, and a 27-yard touchdown pass to Wims to bring the score up to 14-6.
After Roquan Smith sacked Johnson, Kentucky was forced to punt. Georgia got the ball on their own 49-yard line with 3:18 minutes remaining in the half, quickly converting their possession to another touchdown when Sony Michel rushed for a 37-yard touchdown run.
The half ended at 21-6 Georgia, Fromm completing 8 of 12 attempted passes, totaling 108 passing yards. Fromm’s touchdown pass to Wims marked his 17th of the season, surpassing Jacob Eason’s total as a freshman last year.
Kentucky started with the ball in the second half, and after going 75-yards in eight plays, Benny Snell Jr. managed to get an early Kentucky touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Georgia went 60-yards in six plays, ending with Michel’s 6-yard rush for his second touchdown of the game, putting Georgia up 28-13.
“It was awesome, coming out here one time with these boys and enjoying this wonderful crowd,” Michel said. “I do it for them, I do it for my family, and at the end of the day I just don’t want to let them [the team] down.”
Georgia started the fourth quarter with Chubb running 55-yards, his longest rush of the 2017 season, for his second touchdown of the night.
The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown after freshman Walter Grant, and freshman D’Andre Swift had two brilliant runs of 17 and 25 yards. Sony Michel capped the four-play drive with his third touchdown of the game for a final score of 42-13.
In their final game in Sanford Stadium, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 238 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Chubb reached 1,000 rushing yards with his 151-yards, the third time in his career he has achieved that goal.
The Bulldogs managed to outscore its six SEC East rivals 247-72 this season, marking the first time since 2012 that Georgia has gone undefeated at home. The win takes Georgia to a 10-1 overall, undefeated against the SEC East.
The Bulldogs will play Georgia Tech on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Bobby Dodd Stadium before facing either Alabama or Auburn in the SEC Championship Dec. 2, held in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.