Kentucky falls 19-10 to No. 13 Georgia

BY foxsports • November 19, 2011

Kentucky's lopsided loss to Vanderbilt last week prompted questions about whether the Wildcats were quitting on coach Joker Phillips.

Phillips said Saturday's 19-10 loss to No. 13 Georgia proved his players are still fighting.

''We made some plays in the first half,'' Phillips said. ''We proved that we could move the ball on any defense that we face. We couldn't get the run game started in the second half because of some of the schemes Georgia ran but I am proud of the way these guys fought for each other out there today. No one can say we didn't fight.''

Georgia will return to the SEC championship game for the fourth time in coach Mark Richt's 11 years as coach, but the first since 2005.

There will be no postseason for Kentucky (4-7, 1-6), which was held to 165 yards, including 2 yards the third quarter.

The loss eliminated the Wildcats, who have appeared in a school-record five straight bowl games, from postseason consideration.

''A lot of people knew how much this week meant for Georgia and no one talked about what we were playing for,'' Phillips said. ''We're playing for pride, our university and an extra win. The game that this team played proved they played for each other as well. I am proud of them.''

The Wildcats led 10-6 in the second quarter after Maxwell Smith's 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Robinson. Georgia led only 12-10 entering the final quarter.

It was a much different pace for Georgia than its lopsided 45-7 win over then-No. 24 Auburn last week.

''After seeing what they did last week to Auburn, everyone thought they would run it down our throats all game,'' said Kentucky cornerback Randall Burden, who had an interception.

''We focused on the game plan and played really hard today. We have seven more days together as a team. We are going to come out and play for pride.''

Kentucky closes its season at home against Tennessee next week.

Smith completed 17 of 35 passes for 133 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble.

Georgia (9-2 overall, 7-1 SEC) has won nine straight following an 0-2 start that included a home loss to South Carolina.

''To lose the first SEC game and come out as SEC East champion is a very hard thing to do,'' Richt said. ''We had to win every single game. It's hard to win nine in a row, but we had to do it.''

Aaron Murray threw a touchdown pass to Marlon Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter and Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including three from 39 yards.

Kentucky was held to 23 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Punter Drew Butler said the postgame celebration ''was a lot of fun, especially after the locker-room atmosphere of the first two games.''

Georgia has its longest single-season winning streak since an 11-0 regular season in 1982 under Vince Dooley. The Bulldogs will close their regular season at Georgia Tech next week.

Georgia struggled on offense after losing top rusher Isaiah Crowell to a left ankle injury after only two carries. Crowell's top backup, Carlton Thomas, was held out because he violated a team rule, according to Richt.

Georgia was left with Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton, who rushed for 101 yards, at tailback.

Georgia fans chanted ''SEC! SEC'' with less than 1 minute remaining as players emptied a cooler on Richt. He said he was doused with a bigger cooler in the locker room.

The Bulldogs won SEC titles under Richt in 2002 and 2005 and lost in the 2003 SEC championship game.

Georgia's touchdown came on third down from the Kentucky 7, as Murray stepped up and passed to Brown in the back of the end zone.

''Actually, it was the wrong route,'' said Brown, who added he improvised to get open.

Murray completed 16 of 29 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Crowell, a freshman who began the day with 821 yards rushing, ran straight ahead for 6 yards on his first carry and then limped off the field with the left ankle injury after running for 5 yards on his second carry. The freshman limped to the locker room later in the first quarter and returned but remained on the sideline, standing unsteadily on his sore ankle.

He had only a sock on his left foot as he sat and watched in the second half.

Crowell's status for Georgia's final regular-season game at Georgia Tech next week is uncertain.

Kentucky moved 65 yards on its first possession and took a 3-0 lead on Craig McIntosh's 32-yard field goal. It was a promising start to what proved to be a disappointing day for Kentucky's offense against Georgia, which ranks fourth in the nation in total defense.

The Wildcats were held without a first down in the second half until there were about 3 minutes remaining in the game.

''Their 'D' is good and made plays when they needed to, and we didn't execute well enough,'' said Kentucky running back Raymond Sanders, who led the Wildcats with 37 yards rushing.

share story