No. 1 Georgia tops Kentucky to finish conference play

Saturday Kentucky (6-5, 3-5 SEC) fell to the No.1 Georgia Bulldogs (11-0, 8-0 SEC) at Kroger Field, 16-6.
Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2) stiff arms Kentucky defensive back Carrington Valentine...
Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2) stiff arms Kentucky defensive back Carrington Valentine (14) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)(Michael Clubb | AP)
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 6:39 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Saturday Kentucky (6-5, 3-5 SEC) fell to the No.1 Georgia Bulldogs (11-0, 8-0 SEC) at Kroger Field, 16-6.

Kentucky, who had some confusion on the opening kickoff, turned it over on downs on their opening drive, and the Bulldogs took over on their own 32-yard line. The UK defense was able to hold UGA to a field goal, so after one quarter in Lexington, the Dawgs held a 3-0 lead over the Cats.

In the second quarter on a quarterback keep, UK senior QB Will Levis appeared to hurt his toe, but was online sidelined for a play. Levis has missed time this season due to turf toe. When he returned to the game, he took a shot to the end zone, but was intercepted by Georgia redshirt sophomore defensive back Kelee Ringo and returned 45 yards-- Levis made the tackle.

Georgia senior kicker Jack Podlesny nailed two field goals, from 24 and 37 yards respectively, in the second quarter as the UK defense was able to keep Georgia’s number three offense out of the end zone in the first half. They went to the locker room trailing Georgia 9-0.

The first touchdown of the game came with 6:22 to go in the third quarter as Georgia senior running back Kenny McIntosh scored on a nine-yard run, giving UGA a 16-0 lead over the Cats to cap off an eight-play, 58-yard drive for the Dawgs.

That score would remain heading into the fourth quarter, thanks to a goal-line stand from the UK defense that kept Daijun Edwards at the one for no gain. They did it again to start the fourth quarter, as Kendall Milton tried again for no gain, forcing a turnover on downs from the UK one yard line. UK would take it 99-yards, ending the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Levis to freshman wide receiver Barion Brown to make it 16-6 with 9:52 to play. The 2-point conversion was incomplete.

“Obviously that’s a very good football team. Once again, credit to Kirby (Smart), his staff, his team. They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They’ve worked extremely hard in all areas. They have a very complete football team,” said Head Coach Mark Stoops following the loss. “I am proud of the response of our football team. It was very difficult, as you can imagine, the season, tough games, tough losses, through some ups, through some downs. I think you can look around our league and see there is a lot of us in a very similar situation, that through the 12 games that there is going to be some highs and lows and it’s extremely challenging after a tough loss a week ago getting them motivated to compete and play at a high level and reinvest to the commitment that it takes to go compete with a team like this took a lot of digging and soul searching and the competitive nature of our players to reinvest and commit and put in that kind of effort.

You know, came up short, but the effort was there. The preparation was there. Need to execute a little better. In the first half we had an opportunity to at least get three; another missed field goal. You have a chance to be 16-13 and you have an opportunity. We know it’s a real challenge either way, whether you get them or not. It’s no sure thing.

But we put ourselves in position. I would like to see us execute a little cleaner in the red zone and get points when we can get points, and, again, try to capitalize on getting the ball in the end zone.

Pretty impressive 99-yard drive. That was a good response from our team. It was a great fourth down stop by a defense. Showed some guts and determination and some of the personality of the way we play. That piece of it I can be proud of the team, the way they compete.

We’ve got to regroup. Big game coming up here this week with a rival.

Georgia owns the all-time record against UK 62-12, having won the last 13-straight against the Cats.

Up next, the Wildcats host Louisville in the Governor’s Cup Saturday. The Cats and Cards are set for a 3:00 P.M. kickoff on SEC Network.