Nick Chubb and Sony Michel’s swan song at Sanford Stadium couldn’t have gone any more peachy.
With Georgia bouncing back from its dismal showing at Auburn, the 7th-ranked Bulldogs shook off a rather slow start (7-6 first-quarter lead) and plowed under the Kentucky Wildcats by 42-13 at Sanford Stadium
Going to 10-1 and a final 7-1 in the SEC, the East Division champions completed a perfect 6-0 season at Sanford Stadium while also going unbeaten against East opponents for the first time ever. The Bulldogs now turn to the state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the annual Good Old Fashion Hate rivalry coming up next Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The loss dropped Mark Stoops’ Wildcats to 7-4 season and 4-4 in the conference.
And in their final outing of their stellar career between the hedges, Chubb and Michel were, well, magnificent. All Chubb did was gallop for 151 yards on 15 carries, a cool 10.1 average per rush, and tally touchdowns on runs of 8 and 55 yards. He became the only Georgia running back besides the legendary Herschel Walker to rush for 1,000 yards in three separate seasons, running his 2017 total to 1,045 yards. Chubb’s two touchdowns give him 45 in his UGA career, moving him to second behind Mr. Walker (52).
And all his buddy and roommate Michel did was score three touchdowns on runs of 37, 8 and 4 yards while totaling 87 yards on 12 carries, a 7.2 average per attempt. Michel now stands tied for fifth on Georgia’s all-time all-purpose yards list with 3,834 yards.
Behind the deadly duo of Chubb and Michel, the Bulldogs rolled up 504 yards of offense with backups D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien also doing pretty well when they came in and carried the football. Swift the freshman zipped for 66 yards on seven carries while Herrien sped for 48 yards on just three carries.
And, oh yes, don’t forget about Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who completed 9-of-14 passing attempts for 123 yards including a 27-yard touchdown strike to Javon Wims in the second quarter. With the run game sputtering early on, Chubb credited Fromm’s passing with helping open up things for him and Michel as the game moved along. Wims, also playing his final game in the stadium, was again the leading pass catcher with six receptions for 83 yards and the touchdown grab.
While the offense got better with each quarter and put up the big numbers in the end – 381 yards on the ground and Fromm’s 123 through the air – the Bulldogs’ defensive unit also snapped back from its poor showing at Auburn by holding a normally high-scoring Kentucky offense to just one touchdown and a pair of field goals by Austin MacGinnis. Georgia limited the Wildcats to just 262 yards of total offense, 124 on the ground (Benny Snell had 94 of those) and 138 passing by UK quarterback Stephen Johnson.
There was junior linebacker Roquan Smith, who also may have been playing his final game in Athens, again leading the way with nine total tackles including one sack, and fellow junior linebacker Natrez Patrick following with seven stops in his best effort since returning from his four-game suspension. Senior corner Malkom Parrish contributed six tackles to the defense’s stellar showing.
The Bulldogs, maybe still having a bit of an emotional hangover from the 40-17 loss on the plains, led this one just by the 7-6 tally at the first quarter stop with the score coming on Chubb’s 8-yard run. But the Georgia offense got jump-started in the second period on Fromm’s 27-yard scoring pass to Wims plus Michel’s 37-yard dash into the right end zone corner. That put the Bulldogs up by 21-6 at the halftime break.
After the Cats drew to within 21-13 early in the third on a 1-yard touchdown run by Snell, Georgia would then run away and hide from Kentucky the rest of the way, Michel’s second and third scores of the night from the 8 and 4-yard lines sandwiching Chubb’s brilliant 55-yard touchdown burst down the left sidelines.
And now the Bulldogs will continue their 2017 revenge tour in Atlanta on Saturday, primed to avenge last season’s bitter 28-27 loss between the hedges.
And, oh yes, there is a little game after the Tech game awaiting these Bulldogs on Dec. 2 in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Georgia participates in its first SEC Championship Game since 2012, going against the eventual West Division champion, either Alabama or Auburn.
Recent Articles by Murray Poole