Georgia vs Kentucky Post-game Notes – 05-NOV-2016 – Lexington, KY: The University of Georgia grabbed their fifth victory of the season in dramatic fashion with a game-winning field goal by freshman kicker Rodrigo Blankenship in the closing seconds, putting the Bulldogs on top of the Wildcats 27-24 as time expired.
SERIES STREAK CONTINUES:
With tonight’s 27-24 win, Georgia improves to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. It marked Georgia’s seventh straight win over the Wildcats and extended the series lead to 56-12-2. Also, Georgia has won its last 10 games following the annual clash against Florida in Jacksonville, including four of those now against Kentucky.
BLANKENSHIP CONNECTS AGAIN:
Redshirt freshman PK Rodrigo Blankenship set career-highs by going 4-for-4 on field goals and tallying 13 total points including a game-winner from 25 yards out as time expired. He is now 9-for-10 on the year and has connected on his last eight in a row. He became the first Bulldog to hit a game-winning field goal since Marshall Morgan against Missouri last year in a 9-6 victory in Athens. Morgan hit a 34-yarder with 1:44 left. The last Bulldog to do it to end the game was Blair Walsh against Arizona State in 2009, a 37-yarder for a 20-17 win. Blankenship’s four field goals was the most by a Bulldog since Morgan against Nebraska in the 2014 TaxSlayer Bowl.
Tonight, Blankenship sent a 25-yard field goal attempt through the goal posts to put Georgia up 10-7 at the 12:26 mark in the second quarter. He then drilled a 42 yarder at the 3:53 mark in the second quarter to cut Georgia’s deficit to 14-13. Blankenship followed that up with a 49 yarder, which matched his career long, in the third quarter to make the score 21-16 Kentucky.
EASON DIRECTS ANOTHER GAME WINNING DRIVE:
With the game tied at 24 and 2:47 left, Georgia began its final drive at its 25 and freshman QB Jacob Eason marched the Bulldogs 67 yards on nine plays before redshirt freshman Rodridgo Blankenship nailed a game-winning 25-yard field goal, his fourth of the night. Eason went 4-for-4, for 42 yards on the drive. Earlier this year at Missouri, he led Georgia to a 28-27 comeback, converting a 4th-and-10 play with a TD pass with 1:29 left in the contest that capped an 80-yard drive in 10 plays that took just 2:03. Eason finished 17-for-31 for 245 yards and one TD.
Georgia tallied 215 rushing yards highlighted by junior Sony Michel with 127 yards on 19 carries while junior Nick Chubb finished with 85 yards. Michel had a 26-yard run with 9:12 left to put Georgia in front 22-21. It gave him 105 yards on the night, his first 100-yard game since the USC contest and seventh of his career. The Wildcats were held to 186 yards rushing.
Georgia converted a two-point play from Jacob Eason to Isaac Nauta to make it 24-21 with 9:12 left. It capped a seven-play, 67-yard drive in 2:11. It marked Georgia first successful two-point conversion since the 2014 game against South Carolina (Hutson Mason pass to Michael Bennett, it closed the gap to 31-28). Earlier this year, a two-point attempt failed against Nicholls.
OPENING DRIVE TD:
Freshman QB Jacob Eason directed a six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive to start the game. On a 3rd-and-11, Eason connected with junior WR Isaiah McKenzie for a 38-yard touchdown to give Georgia a 7-0 edge with 10:54 left in the opening period. This was McKenzie’s team-leading sixth scoring catch this season and Eason’s 11th of his career. Eason had a 51-yard strike to junior WR Javon Wims, which was a career long for Wims. Also of note, freshman WR Tyler Simmons had his first career reception, an 8 yarder, late in the second quarter while playing in his second game of his career. Also on the first scoring drive, junior TB Nick Chubb took off for an 18-yard run on a 3rd-and-1 to put the ball at the UK 37.
Kentucky finished with 308 total yards on 61 plays against Georgia. The Wildcats had tallied 582 yards against Missouri last week and 554 versus Mississippi State in back-to-back games coming into Saturday. Freshman Julian Rochester and junior Reggie Carter each had a career-high eight tackles apiece to lead the team.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS:
The Bulldogs are +4 in Turnover Margin after giving up three and collecting two on Saturday. This came after Georgia had no turnovers in its last two games against Vanderbilt and #11 Florida. Georgia has forced 17 turnovers for 33 points while opponents have turned 13 Bulldog miscues into 52 points this season.
McKenzie fumbled a punt in the second quarter to give the Wildcats the ball at the UGA 38. Kentucky scored a touchdown three plays later to take a 14-10 lead. In the second half, Chubb fumbled on Georgia’s opening possession at the UGA 33. The Wildcats were forced to punt on their possession. Senior DB Maurice Smith forced a fumble and recovered it in the third quarter. He now has two of each. Blankenship kicked his third field goal to end Georgia’s next try. On Kentucky’s next possession, sophomore DB Deandre Baker snagged his first career interception at the 4:51 mark in the third quarter. This was Georgia’s 10th pick this year. However, the Bulldogs punted on their next possession. With 13:24 in the fourth quarter, Chubb fumbled at the UK 28. It led to a punt.
Georgia returns home next Saturday where it will face No. 11 Auburn (7-2, 5-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.