ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia finally got around to claiming a spot
in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
D.J. Shockley threw four touchdown passes, Danny Ware scored on
a 52-yard run and the No. 14 Bulldogs wrapped up the SEC East with
a 45-13 rout of Kentucky on Saturday.
Georgia squandered a pair of chances to wrap up the division
title, losing to Florida and Auburn for only the second two-game
losing streak since Mark Richt took over as coach in 2001.
But the Bulldogs (8-2, 6-2) rarely lose to Kentucky, winning
their ninth straight in the lopsided series.
Shockley, one of the seniors honored before Georgia's final home
game of the season, completed 17-of-31 for 159 yards in less than
three quarters. Bryan McClendon caught two of the TD passes.
Even when the Wildcats (3-7, 2-5) held a 3-0 lead at the end of
the first quarter, no one at Sanford Stadium seemed too concerned.
In fact, the crowd of more than 90,000 was late arriving and didn't
make a whole lot of noise, as if still trying to recover from the
hangover of a thrilling 31-30 loss to Auburn the previous week.
There was nothing too thrilling about this game -- just a
workmanlike performance from a team that was determined to avoid a
late-season collapse. In the final minute, what remained of the
crowd finally realized the significance of the victory, chanting
"SEC! SEC! SEC!"
The Bulldogs will be appearing in the title game for the third
time in four years. They meet the SEC West champion in Atlanta on
Dec. 3 -- with the winner likely getting a spot in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia got off to a lackluster start, punting the ball away on
its first two possessions against the SEC's worst defense.
Kentucky scored first on a 14-play, 49-yard drive that consumed
more than eight minutes before stalling at the Bulldogs 2. Taylor
Begley came on to kick the first of two field goals, hitting from
The Bulldogs finally got going early in the second quarter,
sparked by a fake punt. Gordon Ely-Kelso dropped back on fourth
down, apparently to punt for the third straight possession, but he
caught the Wildcats totally off guard by running for 34 yards.
Three plays later, Georgia faced fourth-and-1 at the Kentucky 10
and decided to go for it. Passing up the run, Shockley found tight
end Leonard Pope wide open in the end zone to put the Bulldogs
It only got worse for Kentucky.
Georgia scored on its next two possessions as well. Shockley
connected with Brannan Southerland on a 2-yard touchdown pass, then
Ware broke off his 52-yard TD through a huge hole up the middle --
the longest run by the Bulldogs since Patrick Pass' 58-yarder
against LSU in 1999.
On the final play of the half, Brandon Coutu kicked a 56-yard
field goal to make it 24-3.
Shockley hooked up with McClendon on touchdown throws of 21 and
7 yards in the third quarter, turning the game into a rout. Georgia
began sending in its backups late in the period, with Joe
Tereshinski III taking over at quarterback. He threw a 27-yard
touchdown pass to A.J. Bryant before giving way to third-stringer
Rafael Little became only the sixth player in Kentucky history
to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Otherwise, it was a miserable
day for the SEC's second-leading rusher, held to 29 yards on 13
carries and denied a touchdown the first time he touched the ball.
Little returned Georgia's opening punt all the way to the end
zone, but the 75-yarder was called back because of an illegal block
by Raymond Fontaine.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... After a scoreless first, Georgia exploded for 38 in the second, allowing the Bulldogs to celebrate the SEC East title a little early.
Gameball goes to... Georgia QB D.J. Shockley. In his final home game, he threw four touchdown passes, completing 17-of-31 for 159 yards in under three quarters.
Stat of the game... 9: The Bulldogs' current winning streak against Kentucky.