No. 13 Georgia survives Kentucky, 29-24

Kentucky seemingly had an answer for everything No. 13 Georgia

could offer Saturday night.

Everything, at least, that didn’t come from the right arm of

Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.

Kentucky (1-7, 0-5) led three times and started the fourth

quarter with the ball and a chance for a signature win again but

fell 29-24 as Georgia (6-1, 4-1) handed the Wildcats their sixth

straight loss.

”We fought for each other,” said running back Raymond Sanders,

whose late touchdown brought the Wildcats within five. ”When you

fight for each other, when you claw for each other and you don’t

get that ”W”, it hurts.”

Murray was responsible for that pain, throwing four touchdown

passes and completing 79 percent of his attempts. The former made

him Georgia’s career leader, while the latter set a single-game

school record as he completed 30 of 38 for 427 yards.

The Bulldogs outgained the Wildcats 504-329.

And yet, Kentucky still had a chance to win.

Trailing 22-17, the Wildcats went three-and-out but forced the

Bulldogs into punt on its next possession. Kentucky never got the

ball, however, as Mike Douglas ran into Georgia punter Collin

Barber, resulting in a Bulldog first down.

Murray threw his fourth touchdown nine plays later, which put

Georgia up for good. But Kentucky responded with the drive ending

with Sanders’ touchdown.

”No one can say this team has quit,” Kentucky coach Joker

Phillips said. ”It would have been easy for our offense go out

there and give up. But those guys drove down and made a game out of

it.”

But as has been the case this season for Kentucky, it was to

catch up.

The Wildcats trailed 16-14 at halftime but scored on their first

second-half possession, driving 44 yards in 7 plays ending in Craig

McIntosh’s 37-yard field goal.

But Murray rallied Georgia with 15 unanswered points, providing

the cushion.

Two of Murray’s scores were to Tavarres King, who had nine

receptions for 188 yards – including a 66-yard TD. Malcolm Mitchell

had nine catches for 103 yards.

Arthur Lynch and Chris Conley also caught TDs for the Bulldogs,

and Todd Gurley added 47 rushing yards on 12 carries.

The heavily favored Bulldogs weren’t as dominant as they were

expected to be. They allowed 206 rushing yards to the Wildcats, 100

yards above their average coming in.

They didn’t gain breathing room until Murray’s fourth TD to

Lynch, a 10-yarder midway through the fourth quarter. That proved

important as Sanders’ 3-yard run brought the Wildcats to within

29-24 with 3:59 remaining.

Kentucky senior quarterback Morgan Newton had a hand in all of

the Wildcats’ scores, running and passing for a touchdown and

leading a field goal drive. He played most of the second half in

place of freshman Jalen Whitlow, who missed portions of the game

with a migraine.

The Bulldogs, coming off a bye following a 35-7 loss at South

Carolina, had to work harder than expected. And the signs it would

be a long night were apparent from the start.

Kentucky opened by driving 84 yards in 13 plays, mostly on the

ground. Jonathan George rushed four times for 42 yards, Sanders

added 13 and quarterback Jalen Whitlow had 12 before Newton

relieved him to complete the possession by finding Aaron Boyd for a

4-yard touchdown.

”The guys found a way to win,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said.

”I think we did some things well and there were other things we

could’ve done better.”

The score ended a 20-game, first-quarter drought for the

Wildcats, whose last first-quarter TD came Nov. 27, 2010, at

Tennessee.

Georgia gained just 20 yards on its first eight plays but tied

the game by going 97 yards in just four.

After hitting Malcolm Mitchell for 14 yards and first down at

the 34, Murray found a wide-open King for a 66-yard touchdown as

the Bulldogs used just 1 minute, 37 seconds in completing its

longest scoring drive this season.

Just as quickly, the Wildcats went back ahead with the help of

an option pass that caught the Bulldogs off guard. On second and 9

from Georgia’s 35, Whitlow threw left to Demarco Robinson before he

threw it back across the field to Whitlow, who followed a wall of

blockers for a 33-yard gain to the Bulldogs’ 2.

Morgan’s 2-yard run finished the 58-yard drive.

Murray and King connected again on Georgia’s next possession,

first for 48 yards to Kentucky’s 5 and then for a 1-yard score two

plays later to cap a 75-yard drive. Murray’s 73rd TD gave him the

school record, breaking David Greene’s record set from 2001-04.

The moment was spoiled when Marshall Morgan missed wide right on

the conversion, leaving the Bulldogs down by one. There was even

more suspense to his 27-yard field goal that provided a 16-14

halftime lead, a kick that clanged off the left upright before

bouncing through.

Then again, that drive had plenty of drama.

A wide-open Marlon Brown dropped Murray’s deep pass. The

quarterback got sacked for a 7-yard loss.

On third and 14 from Kentucky’s 41, Gurley appeared to come up

short of a first down before a generous spot that was upheld on

review. Given 17 seconds to work with, Murray hit King for 19 yards

to the 8, setting up Morgan’s head-shaking moment.

”This game gets the bad taste out of our mouths,” Murray

said.