A Georgia Bulldog offensive line held together with duct tape and bubble gum showed its gumption today in the Red and Black’s 34-17 win over the #9 ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield each went over the century mark to pace a UGA rushing attack that ground out 330 yards on the ground, 255 of them in the second half. Swift’s 156 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a career-long 87 yard third quarter touchdown run, reemphasized the fact that he’s truly back from the nagging injuries that dogged him early in the year. Holyfield’s 115 on 18 carries reaffirmed that when it’s time to grind the opponent into powder late in the game, he’s the man for the job.
Through the air Jake Fromm posted a fairly efficient effort, ending up 14 of 20 for 113 yards and a touchdown pass. Other than an all-too-familiar self-inflicted foot-shooting on the goal line in the third quarter, the UGA offense executed well. It’s hard to argue with 444 yards of total offense and an edge in time of possession. Georgia just nearly tripled the season average of the #1 scoring defense in the country. Say what you will about Jim Chaney, but that ain’t bad.
Defensively the ‘Dawgs gave up 310 yards, but 188 of it came after the ‘Cats went down 28-3. Georgia kept the game in front of them late and willingly surrendered some yards (and a semi-fluky 31 yard touchdown pass to Asim Rose) in exchange for burning clock. But at no point during this game did the Kentucky offense look comfortable. The Bulldogs harassed Bluegrass state QB Terry Wilson, sacking him three times (tying a season high for the ‘Dawgs).
The newly-crowned champions of the SEC East now return to Sanford Stadium for the first time in over a month to take on Auburn in the South’s Oldest Rivalry, nursing some injuries but also benefitting from some young players emerging into key roles. Channing Tindall looks more and more like he’ll become unstoppable from his linebacker spot. Jordan Davis continues to play well in the middle. And Justin Fields played six more snaps than last week and earned a shout out from Kirby Smart in his postgame CBS interview. 2018 was always going to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the defending SEC champions. The fact that the rebuilding tour will again run through Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a promising sign for the future. Until later . . .