Kentucky falls 16-6 to No. 1 Georgia

LEXINGTON – Kentucky gave the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs a fight Saturday but fell behind, falling 16-6 to the defending champion at Kroger Field.

“After a tough loss a week ago it took a lot of work and remorse to motivate them to compete and play at a high level and to reinvest in the commitment it takes to compete with a team like this” said the British head coach Markus Stoops said after the game. “The competitive nature of our players, with that kind of effort to reinvest and engage and play.

“Succeeded too short, but the effort was there, the preparation was there. Must be done a little better.”

The game seemed like the worst start imaginable for Kentucky. At the opening kickoff of the game Barion Brown signaled a fair catch at Britain’s own four-yard line. Stoops chose to appeal the verdict and the call stood, costing the Wildcats a time out and forcing them to start the game’s opening within their own 10-yard line.

Luckily, Brown would make up for his mistake when Levis in third and eleventh from the three-yard line found the freshman receiver for a 31-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The drive would move into the territory of Georgia; However, the Bulldogs’ defense would strengthen Jamon Dumas-Johnson stood up Chris Rodriguez on a 4th and 1st from Georgia’s 31-yard line, turning the ball over on downs.

Georgia would turn his defense’s fourth down drive into a three point as the Bulldogs drove to the Cats’ 10 yard line, where they settled for 27 yards after a third down stop Jack Podlesny Field goal to take a 3-0 lead at 4:03 in the first quarter.

Kentucky would once again move within territory on its subsequent possession, which saw Great Britain move to the Bulldogs’ 37-yard line after an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty against Georgia’s hands-to-the-face penalty move Georgia Robert Bel Jr. was called up to the opening game of the second quarter.

Later in the drive, Levis picked up a first down on third and long with his legs to put UK at Georgia’s 16-yard line, but was shaken after the game and had to leave the game for a play before he returned. Back in the game, he made a crucial mistake when he intercepted Georgia in the end zone Kelee Ringowhich he returned to the Bulldog’s 47-yard line to keep the Cats off the scoreboard.

Georgia would again score points from the Cats’ missed opportunity, but Kentucky’s defense came through again with a red-zone stop to hold the Bulldogs from a 24-yard field goal from Podlesny, limiting the damage and taking it with 6-0 to make UGA with 3-40 left in the first half.

After a British three-pointer and out, Georgia got the ball back with just over two minutes left in the first half and drove to the British 20-yard line where Podlesny cracked a 37-yard field goal to put the game in to send the half time with UGA in the lead 9-0.

Kentucky’s defense would get another stop to open the second half when Jordan Lovett grabbed his first career interception on a deep ball from Stetson Bennett and gave Great Britain possession at their own 11-yard line.

Unfortunately for Lovett, the British offense would not pay off his interception, only going backwards, resulting in a punt straight back to the Bulldogs.

This time, Georgia took advantage of the Wildcat’s inept offense as they used an eight-game drive that was topped with one Kenny McIntosh Nine-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs 16-0 ahead, 6-22 in the third quarter.

Another three-and-out for Great Britain drove Georgia into the red zone again, where the Wildcats went through in the first game of the fourth quarter by a goal-line score of Jamarius Dinkins and Jordan Wright teamed up to stop Kendall Milton just short of end zone on 4th and goal from 1 and flipped the ball on downs.

Overall, Georgia scored just one touchdown in his four red zone trips Saturday and failed to convert on his only fourth down attempt of the game.

“It was a great fourth stop for our defense,” Stoops said. “I just showed some courage and determination and some of the personality of our style of play.”

Georgia’s offense, which came on with America’s sixth-best offense averaging 40.6 points per game, was held at its lowest overall of the season.

“We definitely came out and played,” defended UK Zion Childress who had a total of nine tackles in the loss said after the game. “We didn’t roll over at any point in the game and we played from the first quarter to the end of the fourth quarter. So say hello to my boys.”

Kentucky would advance to Georgia’s 32-yard line on his subsequent possession after Levis scored a 42-yard gain with Brown. A 16-yard completion too Josch Kattus pulled UK into the red zone where Levis hit Brown with a touchdown on the fourth down and three from the eight-yard line to make it 16-6 and give the Wildcats a 99-yard touchdown drive.

“Pretty impressive 99-yard drive,” Stoops said. “That was a good response for our team.”

UK would go two-two to try and make it a one-possession game but failed to convert.

After forcing a Georgia punt, Kentucky moved right back into Bulldog territory when Levis hit Brown for a 47-yard gain. Kentucky would switch to the UGA 20-yard line, but tried a 38-yard field goal there Matt Ruffolo missed after a bad snap from Cade DeGraw and a botched hold from the far left Chance Poorwho returns the ball to Georgia, still with a 10 lead, with just over four minutes to go.

“I don’t have a good answer,” Stoops said when asked about another missed field goal. We do it all the time. We have several people doing it. It is not good.”

Kentucky would get the ball back with no timeouts with just over two minutes into the game but couldn’t even move across midfield as Georgia finished the 10-point win for their 13th straight win over the Wildcats.

The loss drops Kentucky to 6-5 for the year and gives Britain a final SEC record of 3-5.

Kentucky will end the regular season at home against archrival Louisville next week. The Governor’s Cup kicks off at 3:30 p.m. EST.