Georgia vs. Kentucky rating, takeaways: No. 1 Dawgs rumble behind Kenny McIntosh, finish 8-0 in SEC again

no 1 Georgia topped Kentucky 16-6 in an old-school slugfest in Lexington, Kentucky. With the victory, the Bulldogs saved their excellent season alive and completed 8-0 in SEC play for the second consecutive yr.

Georgia was clinging to a 16-6 lead late in the fourth quarter, however its protection held Kentucky to a 38-yard discipline objective try. A foul snap pressured Matt Ruffolo to kick with the laces in, and he shanked it huge left to maintain it a two-score recreation with 4:17 to play. The miscue was the dagger the Dawgs wanted to prevail, however make no mistake, it wanted that error.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis led his staff on a 99-yard landing drive in the fourth quarter after his protection stopped Georgia on fourth-and-goal to lastly take momentum away in what was an offensively-challenged outing for each groups. It was the primary time any staff put collectively a drive that lengthy since Kirby Smart took over the Dawgs.

Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny booted three discipline targets in the primary half for an early 9-0 lead. However, the gradual begin by the Dawgs offense shortly remodeled into a superb efficiency by star working again Kenny McIntosh. The versatile star scored Georgia’s solely landing halfway by means of the third quarter to create a 16-point margin. The senior completed with 143 yards dashing and 19 extra receiving, which was an enormous cause why Georgia was capable of preserve Kentucky at arm’s size.

The means of Georgia’s protection to bend however not break was a big issue. It stopped Kentucky on fourth-and-1 from the 32-yard line to halt Kentucky’s first drive of the sport, and Levis was picked off by Kelee Ringo on the objective line to finish the Wildcats’ second possession. Those two stops set the tone for the Dawgs.

What are the largest takeaways from Saturday’s recreation?

Kenny McIntosh was the MVP

The senior Bulldogs working again was probably the most precious participant on the sector, for both staff, and Georgia may need been in huge bother with out him. His 9-yard landing run halfway by means of the third quarter on Georgia’s fifth drive of the sport got here after these three discipline targets and quarterback Stetson Bennett IV’s ill-advised interception over the center on the primary drive of the second half. Basically, McIntosh kicked a impartial Georgia offense into gear.

It wasn’t essentially a excessive gear, nevertheless it was sufficient to get it rolling in the best course. In the top, that clutch run was all Georgia wanted to get the win. The Dawgs had seven rushes of 10 or extra yards on the afternoon, 5 of which got here from McIntosh.

McIntosh has been an unsung hero of kinds for this staff. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken wanted a alternative for James Cook, who was the multi-faceted stud out of the backfield on final yr’s nationwide championship squad. It’s vital that he had this type of efficiency transferring ahead. Now coach Kirby Smart is aware of that when nothing goes his staff’s manner, he can hand it off to his veteran working again and let him shoulder the load.

First two possessions informed the story

This recreation wasn’t formally over till Levis’ fourth-down cross over the center fell harmlessly to the turf with simply over one minute to play in the sport. However, the Wildcats’ first two possessions have been what actually value them the sport.

Levis, huge receiver Barion Brown and working again Chris Rodriguez Jr. sliced ​​by means of the Georgia protection earlier than that ill-fated fourth-and-1 cease. It was an empty possession, however no less than it gave Levis and the remainder of the offense confidence that it could go toe-to-toe with this protection.

It was the identical story on the next drive. Rodriguez pounded the center of the Bulldogs line of defense, Levis labored off play motion they usually have been 2 of two on third downs on the 13-play drive previous to the intestine punch by Ringo’s interception on the objective line. The Wildcats have been in catch-up mode from that second, and it felt like every home-field benefit that the Wildcats had frozen in the chilly Lexington air.

Georgia’s OL was stellar

McIntosh had an incredible efficiency, however his offensive line deserves a ton of credit score for his displaying. They did not permit a single sort out for loss on that afternoon, and parted the Wildcats protection just like the Red Sea on the landing run. It wasn’t simply that drive, although. McIntosh wasn’t touched till he was properly past the road of scrimmage nearly the entire recreation, which set the tone towards a Kentucky protection that wasn’t capable of match the physicality.

Bennett didn’t present a lot assist by means of the air, and Georgia was nonetheless capable of handle 247 yards dashing and 5.4 yards per rush. The offense was one-dimensional by necessity, and it did not matter because of the work carried out in the trenches.

Bennett’s Heisman likelihood is gone

The senior quarterback had an opportunity to additional cement his case to, on the very least, earn sufficient votes to earn an invitation to New York City in mid-December as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He had a nationwide stage late in the season to make an impression on voters who may need been contemplating different gamers who mild up stat sheets on a weekly foundation.

He did not take benefit, although. He went 13 of 19 for 116 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. After that, it was clear Monken and the offensive employees referred to as the sport in a manner that did not require Bennett to be a difference-maker. It labored on Saturday, however that is not one thing to which Heisman voters will take kindly

Does it matter in the top? Nope. Bennett’s solely objective this yr has been to win back-to-back nationwide titles, and that objective stays alive and properly.

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