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No. 6 Georgia tops No. 11 Kentucky 34-17 to clinch SEC East

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Georgia believed it had a point to prove.

Bulldogs running backs D'Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield spent all week hearing about the rushing prowess of Kentucky's Benny Snell Jr. Georgia's defensive players kept fielding questions about their inability to stop the run or rush the passer consistently.

They responded Saturday with a performance that convincingly showed Georgia remains the class of the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division. Swift ran for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns as the sixth-ranked Bulldogs defeated No. 11 Kentucky 34-17 to clinch the SEC East title.

''I think people had started doubting us,'' Swift said. ''We just tried to silence the critics.''

Swift had an 83-yard breakaway in the third quarter that gave Georgia (8-1, 6-1, No. 6 College Football Playoff) a 28-3 lead. He also had a nifty 20-yard scoring run in the second period when the game was close.

Holyfield ran for a career-high 115 yards on 18 carries, scoring on a 4-yarder in the third quarter. Georgia rushed for a season-high 331 yards to earn a spot in the SEC championship game Dec. 1 in Atlanta.

''It's definitely a point proven,'' Holyfield said. ''There was a lot of talk about them.... and not enough talk about us.''

Kentucky (7-2, 5-2, No. 9 CFP) has never reached the SEC championship game, which has been played every year since 1992. The Wildcats entered the weekend with the nation's top scoring defense and hadn't allowed anyone to exceed 20 points all year, but they couldn't slow down Georgia's tandem of Swift and Holyfield.

Before Saturday's game, the only player to rush for as many as 75 yards against Kentucky was Texas A&M's Trayveon Williams, who ran for 138 yards in a 20-14 overtime victory over the Wildcats. Swift and Holyfield were both over the 100-yard mark by the end of the third quarter.

''They did a good job,'' Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. ''They moved us. They made us miss. There's a lot of things we could have done better, but a lot of that has to do with them.''

Kentucky dominated time of possession through the first 1 1/2 quarters, but still trailed 7-3. That's when Swift started to give the Bulldogs some breathing room.

With Georgia facing second-and-17, Swift made a move around a defender at the line of scrimmage, made another move between two Wildcats about five yards downfield and shed a tackle inside the 5 to complete a remarkable 20-yard touchdown run.

Swift's touchdown gave Georgia a 14-3 late in the second quarter. Georgia fumbled away a scoring opportunity late in the first half but got the ball to open the second half and extended the lead to 21-3 on Holyfield's touchdown.

On Georgia's next series, Swift raced through a big hole on the left side of the line and didn't appear to get touched on his 83-yard sprint to the end zone. Before that play, Kentucky hadn't allowed a run from scrimmage longer than 34 yards all season.

That touchdown sealed a hard-earned division title for Georgia, last year's College Football Playoff runner-up. After losing 36-16 at LSU two weeks ago, Georgia beat Florida and Kentucky for two straight wins over ranked division foes.

''Give our kids a lot of credit because their backs were against the wall kind of two weeks in a row and they came out fighting,'' Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. ''They came out scratching and clawing.''

TAKEAWAYS

Georgia: The Bulldogs' fearsome rushing attack was the difference in the game, but Georgia's pass rush also started showing signs of life. Georgia had four sacks Saturday after entering the weekend with an SEC-low 10 sacks all season. Georgia now won't have to play another true road game all season. The Bulldogs have home games with Auburn, Massachusetts and Georgia Tech the next three weeks.

Kentucky: The Wildcats reached Georgia territory on three straight first-half possessions and only had three points to show for it. That proved critical when a defense that had carried Kentucky all season couldn't slow down Georgia's rushing attack. Kentucky got more bad news in the third quarter when safety Darius West drew a targeting penalty that will knock him out for the first half of its game next week at Tennessee.

SLOWING SNELL

Snell ran for 73 yards and one touchdown for the Wildcats to increase his season total to 1,008, becoming the first Kentucky player to rush for 1,000 yards in three seasons. But he needed 20 carries to reach that total, an average of 3.65 yards per attempt.

''People doubt us and say we can't do this and we can't do that,'' Georgia defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said. ''We'll just do what we do. When they realize that's what we do, we'll just keep pushing.''

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Georgia may need some help to get up to the top five, though this victory likely assures the Bulldogs remain in control of their postseason fate. Kentucky figures to drop a few spots in the Top 25 and likely will leave the top 10 in the CFP rankings.

UP NEXT

Georgia hosts Auburn.

Kentucky visits Tennessee.

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Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 3:42
98-R.Blankenship 38 yards Field Goal is Good.
10
plays
44
yds
05:19
pos
34
17
Point After TD 9:01
12-C.Poore extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
31
17
Touchdown 9:09
3-T.Wilson complete to 10-A.Rose. 10-A.Rose runs 31 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
65
yds
02:38
pos
31
16
Field Goal 12:04
98-R.Blankenship 23 yards Field Goal is Good.
14
plays
79
yds
03:14
pos
31
10
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:45
12-C.Poore extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
10
Touchdown 3:45
26-B.Snell runs 9 yards for a touchdown.
12
plays
80
yds
04:11
pos
28
9
Point After TD 7:56
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
3
Touchdown 8:10
7-D.Swift runs 83 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
85
yds
00:47
pos
27
3
Point After TD 10:20
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
3
Touchdown 10:23
13-E.Holyfield runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
65
yds
00:00
pos
20
3
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 2:28
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
3
Touchdown 2:32
7-D.Swift runs 20 yards for a touchdown.
15
plays
85
yds
05:57
pos
13
3
Field Goal 9:08
12-C.Poore 34 yards Field Goal is Good.
15
plays
55
yds
01:06
pos
7
3
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 10:37
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 10:43
11-J.Fromm complete to 18-I.Nauta. 18-I.Nauta runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
23
yds
02:19
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 25 21
Rushing 16 8
Passing 6 11
Penalty 3 2
3rd Down Conv 7-12 7-13
4th Down Conv 0-0 0-1
Total Net Yards 444 277
Total Plays 70 64
Avg Gain 6.3 4.3
Net Yards Rushing 331 84
Rush Attempts 50 35
Avg Rush Yards 6.6 2.4
Net Yards Passing 113 193
Comp. - Att. 14-20 23-29
Yards Per Pass 5.7 6.7
Sacked - Yards Lost 0-0 4-33
Penalties - Yards 4-45 6-64
Touchdowns 4 2
Rushing TDs 3 1
Passing TDs 1 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 2-2
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 1-55.0 4-48.5
Return Yards 109 36
Punts - Returns 1-65 0-0
Kickoffs - Returns 2-44 1-36
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 6/6 3/3
Extra Points 4/4 2/2
Field Goals 2/2 1/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
6 Georgia 8-1 7714634
9 Kentucky 7-2 037717
113 PASS YDS 193
331 RUSH YDS 84
444 TOTAL YDS 277
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
70% 113 1 0 134.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.7% 1762 17 4 169.8
J. Fromm 14/20 113 1 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
16 156 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
99 622 7
D. Swift 16 156 2 83
E. Holyfield 13 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 115 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
103 674 5
E. Holyfield 18 115 1 30
J. Stanley 2 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 34 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 34 0
J. Stanley 1 34 0 34
J. Fields 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 26 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
24 162 3
J. Fields 6 26 0 9
B. Herrien 35 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 7 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
32 185 2
B. Herrien 2 7 0 5
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
29 -26 0
J. Fromm 4 2 0 2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Holloman 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 39 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
19 321 4
J. Holloman 4 39 0 20
R. Ridley 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 37 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
30 411 5
R. Ridley 3 37 0 17
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 18 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
17 161 1
D. Swift 3 18 0 17
T. Godwin 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 186 2
T. Godwin 2 12 0 8
I. Nauta 18 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
19 253 2
I. Nauta 1 4 1 4
T. Simmons 87 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 22 0
T. Simmons 1 3 0 3
J. Stanley 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 9 1
J. Stanley 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. Ledbetter 13 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 1.0
J. Ledbetter 2-0 1.0 0
B. Cox 1 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
B. Cox 1-0 1.0 0
J. Taylor 44 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Taylor 1-0 0.0 0
M. Rice 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
M. Rice 1-0 1.0 0
C. Tindall 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
C. Tindall 1-0 1.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Blankenship 98 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 4/4
SEASON FG XP
15/17 40/40
R. Blankenship 2/2 38 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Camarda 90 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 55.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
29 42.5 0
J. Camarda 1 55.0 0 55
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 24.0 24 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
7 25.7 24 0
M. Hardman 1 24.0 24 0
B. Herrien 35 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 20.0 20 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 22.0 20 0
B. Herrien 1 20.0 20 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 65.0 65 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
10 26.7 65 1
M. Hardman 1 65.0 65 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Wilson 3 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
79.3% 226 1 0 156.2
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.6% 1214 6 6 127.9
T. Wilson 23/29 226 1 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
B. Snell 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
20 73 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
199 1008 10
B. Snell 20 73 1 11
T. Wilson 3 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 12 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
100 418 3
T. Wilson 12 12 0 9
L. Bowden 1 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 0 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 5 0
L. Bowden 1 0 0 0
A. Rose 10 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
48 264 4
A. Rose 2 -1 0 3
Z. Hughes 13 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
Z. Hughes 1 -4 0 -4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
A. Rose 10 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 59 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 62 1
A. Rose 4 59 1 31
L. Bowden 1 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 52 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
49 509 3
L. Bowden 6 52 0 19
I. Epps 81 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 29 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 48 0
I. Epps 2 29 0 18
T. Richardson 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 26 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 57 0
T. Richardson 2 26 0 15
C. Conrad 87 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 22 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
21 148 1
C. Conrad 3 22 0 9
D. Bouvier 33 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 15 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 170 2
D. Bouvier 3 15 0 5
Z. Hughes 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 14 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 14 0
Z. Hughes 1 14 0 14
B. Snell 26 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 5 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 80 0
B. Snell 1 5 0 5
D. Baker 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 112 0
D. Baker 1 4 0 4
Defense T-A SACK INT
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Poore 12 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 2/2
SEASON FG XP
2/2 2/2
C. Poore 1/1 34 2/2 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Duffy 93 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 48.5 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
42 45.1 3
M. Duffy 4 48.5 3 56
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
L. Bowden 1 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 36.0 36 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
14 21.8 36 0
L. Bowden 1 36.0 36 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:02 UK 23 2:19 4 23 TD
7:00 UGA 13 1:24 3 9 Punt
2:22 UGA 33 0:53 6 26
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
8:29 UK 35 5:57 15 75 TD
1:36 UGA 15 1:13 9 58 Fumble
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:15 UK 35 0:00 10 78 TD
8:57 UGA 15 0:47 2 85 TD
3:45 UK 20 3:14 14 56 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:01 UK 35 5:19 10 44 FG
1:36 UGA 26 0:51 3 3
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 UGA 35 1:21 5 5 Punt
10:37 UGA 35 2:58 8 14 Punt
5:07 UK 23 2:39 8 8 Fumble
1:24 UK 34 1:06 15 60 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
2:28 UGA 35 0:45 4 -2 Punt
0:18 UK 29 0:00 1 3 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:20 UGA 35 0:48 4 4 Punt
7:56 UGA 35 4:11 12 75 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:47 UGA 35 2:38 8 75 TD
3:36 UGA 35 1:59 10 39 Fumble