Nov 26, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) passes the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia focuses on SEC title in matchup with No. 14 LSU

Georgia almost certainly is going to the College Football Playoff regardless of what happens in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday in Atlanta.

LSU is not going to the CFP regardless of what happens in the SEC Championship Game.

Nonetheless, the No. 1 Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 SEC), champions of the East Division, and the No. 14 Tigers (9-3, 6-2), champions of the West Division, both have a lot to gain by winning on Saturday — a significant trophy and momentum going into whatever their next destination is.

The situation is very similar to the one Georgia faced last season when it was undefeated and No. 1 as it faced Alabama. The Bulldogs figured to go to the CFP even if they lost. The Crimson Tide needed to win to get in, and they played like it, upsetting the Bulldogs 41-24.

However, Georgia shook off the loss and took care of business in the CFP, beating Michigan in the semifinals and winning a rematch with Alabama for the national championship.

“We’re worried about winning the SEC championship,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s the most important thing on our agenda. It’s tough to win an SEC championship. I’ve been part of this league for a long time. I have almost as many national championships as I do SEC championships.”

Georgia has not lost since last season’s SEC championship game. Only one of the Bulldogs’ games this season was decided by a touchdown or less — a 26-22 victory at Missouri on Oct. 1.

A victory on Saturday would give Georgia a chance to accomplish something even last year’s team didn’t — an undefeated national championship season.

“It’s not about last year’s team or a comparison,” Smart said. “It’s about that next step and having an opportunity to put a number on the wall that stays there forever. It’s an SEC championship. I think our players take a lot of pride in that.”

LSU, in its first season under former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, was in strong contention for a CFP berth before being upset by unranked Texas A&M 38-23 in its regular-season finale.

“We’ve had certainly some bumps in the road, but we’ve had some great achievements in developing our program here in the first year,” Kelly said. “Our football team has gotten better as the season has gone along.

“This is a great challenge, but one that we’re excited about. We want to be able to represent the SEC West and certainly play to our standard.”

The Tigers, who lost to Florida State in their season opener and to Tennessee on Oct. 1, didn’t play to their season-long standard against the Aggies. LSU’s John Emery Jr. ran for three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough.

That loss dropped them nine spots in the CFP rankings Tuesday night, though they can still earn a substantial bowl berth by winning Saturday.

“This group has a lot of fight,” Kelly said. “That’s why they’ll go to Atlanta, and they will fight, and they will play hard for four quarters, and they will give everything they have against a very talented Georgia team.”

The Tigers will attempt to slow a Bulldogs passing attack led by quarterback Stetson Bennett (3,151 yards, 16 touchdowns, six interceptions).

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs with the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia stays undefeated, dominates Georgia Tech

No. 1 Georgia started slowly before pulling away from visiting Georgia Tech for a 37-14 victory on Saturday at Athens, Ga., giving the Bulldogs consecutive undefeated regular seasons for the first time in school history.

Stetson Bennett went just 10-of-18 passing for 140 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs (12-0), who will face No. 5 LSU in the SEC title game on Dec. 3.

Georgia Tech (5-7) missed becoming bowl eligible for the fourth straight season after falling to its in-state rival for the fifth straight year and for the 18th time in the past 21 meetings.

The Bulldogs trailed 7-0 after the Yellow Jackets’ first drive before scoring the game’s next 37 points.

Kenny McIntosh rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and caught two passes for 96 yards for Georgia, while Brock Bowers had five catches, including a 1-yard touchdown, for 20 yards.

Georgia Tech’s Zach Gibson went 19-of-35 passing for 191 yards, with Nate McCollum catching six passes for 65 yards. Dontae Smith rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries, in addition to throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Carter.

Leading 10-7 at halftime, Georgia extended its lead to 20-7 when Jack Podlesny’s 50-yard field goal was followed by Bennett’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Bowers with 5:51 left in the third quarter.

Jamie Felix fumbled on Georgia Tech’s next play from scrimmage, with Georgia’s Robert Beal Jr. recovering on the Yellow Jackets’ 20-yard line. Podlesny’s 36-yard field goal extended the lead to 23-7 with 4:11 left in the quarter.

McIntosh followed an 83-yard reception with a 2-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 30-7 with 13:45 left in the game.

Kendall Milton’s 44-yard touchdown run made it 37-7 with 11:13 to go before Smith capped the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Carter on a halfback-option pass with 2:55 left.

Georgia Tech, which lost to Georgia 45-0 last year, took a 7-0 lead on backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh’s 7-yard touchdown with 10:43 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs pulled to within 7-3 on Podlesny’s 30-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the first quarter.

Georgia took the lead for good on its next possession when Bennett threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint with 7:59 left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) passes the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the third quarter at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia out to continue dominance of Georgia Tech

Top-ranked Georgia will look to secure consecutive undefeated regular seasons for the first time in school history by continuing its dominance over in-state rival Georgia Tech on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

The game, which is nicknamed “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” has become as one-sided as any in the nation. Georgia has won the past four meetings by an average of 36.3 points after a 45-0 win last year. The Bulldogs have beaten the Yellow Jackets in 17 of the past 20 meetings.

Georgia (11-0, 8-0 SEC) is coming off a 16-6 victory at Kentucky on Saturday and will play in the SEC title game for the fifth time in the past six years when it faces LSU on Dec. 3.

Georgia Tech (5-6, 4-4 ACC) rallied from a 17-0 second-quarter deficit to pull out a 21-17 upset of then-No. 13 North Carolina (9-2, 6-1 ACC) on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Yellow Jackets, however, must defeat Georgia to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2018.

Georgia is first nationally in scoring defense (11.09 points per game), third in rushing defense (83.1 yards per game), fifth in total defense (272.1 ypg) and 11th in scoring offense (38.4 points).

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,011 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions, leading an offense that is seventh in the country in yards per game (496.3).

Tight end Brock Bowers has 41 receptions for 625 yards with four touchdowns, while Ladd McConkey has 46 catches for 606 yards and four touchdowns. Kenny McIntosh has been a threat out of the backfield with 33 receptions for 341 yards and a score, in addition to rushing for 568 yards and seven scores on 111 carries.

The Bulldogs’ Daijun Edwards is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, having rushed for 547 yards and seven touchdowns on 107 carries.

Georgia Tech has gone 4-3 under interim coach Brent Key, who was promoted from assistant head coach and run game coordinator after the school fired Geoff Collins following a loss to Central Florida on Sept. 24 that dropped the Yellow Jackets to 1-3.

Key, however, could be coaching his final game with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech also fired athletic director Rick Stansbury and hired J Batt, the former executive deputy director of athletics, chief operating officer and chief revenue officer at Alabama.

“I’m worried about Georgia, it’s the No. 1 team in the country,” Key said. “It’s the biggest challenge of my life right now, taking this group over there to Athens at 12 o’clock on Saturday.

“It’s Georgia and Georgia Tech, and that’s why you come to school here, is to play this game, it’s an honor.”

The Yellow Jackets’ two quarterback system of Zach Gibson, who went 13-for-18 passing for 174 yards, and Taisun Phommachanh, who went 2-for-5 passing for 13 yards in addition to rushing for 44 yards and a score on 10 carries, led an offense that amassed 373 yards against the Tar Heels.

The defense held North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, a Heisman Trophy candidate, to 16-for-30 passing for 202 yards and an interception.

“They’re playing really well now. They’re playing really hard now,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I think (Key) has done a tremendous job at getting these guys to compete.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia grinds to 11-0 with road win over Kentucky

More efficient than spectacular, top-ranked Georgia closed out a perfect run through its Southeastern Conference schedule Saturday with a 16-6 win over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

The Bulldogs (11-0, 8-0) never really pulled away from the Wildcats (6-5, 3-5) but were never really threatened. Georgia scored on all three of its first-half possessions, although all were field goals, and finally tacked on a touchdown with a 9-yard run by Kenny McIntosh at the 6:22 mark of the third quarter.

Kentucky’s only points came when Will Levis threw an 8-yard scoring strike to Barion Brown with 9:52 left in the game. But the Wildcats weren’t able to convert on a 2-point pass that could have brought them within a score.

Kentucky missed on another chance to draw within one possession when a bad snap led to a poor hold with the laces facing the kicker that led Matt Ruffalo to hook a 38-yard field goal wide left with 4:17 remaining.

It was the second straight year that the Bulldogs ran through the SEC undefeated. They won this game with defense and the running game. They outgained the Wildcats 247-89 on the ground, limiting Kentucky’s star back Chris Rodriguez to 51 yards on 17 attempts.

Levis completed 20 of 31 passes for 206 yards and an interception. Brown was his main target with 10 catches for 145 yards.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett didn’t have much of an impact, hitting 13 of 19 passes for 116 yards with an interception. But McIntosh took up slack with 143 yards on 19 rushes.

Jack Podlesny accounted for all the first-half points for the Bulldogs, connecting on field goals of 27, 24 and 37 yards. Georgia hogged the ball for just over five minutes on each of its first two drives before squeezing 11 plays and 56 yards into the half’s final 2:03.

The Bulldogs outgained Kentucky 363-295 but were held to fewer than 26 points for the first time this season.

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) warms up before the start of a NCAA college football game between Tennessee and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

News Joshua L Jones

No. 1 Georgia brings well-rounded game to Mississippi State

After taking the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, Georgia will look to prove it belongs there against Mississippi State in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC), which was third in the initial CFP rankings, is coming off a dominating, 27-13 home win last week over then-No. 1 Tennessee, which fell to No. 5.

Mississippi State (6-3, 3-3) defeated visiting Auburn 39-33 in overtime last week to end a two-game slide.

Georgia can win its fifth SEC East title in the past six years with a win over Mississippi State or a victory next week at No. 24 Kentucky. Georgia also advances to the SEC title game if Tennessee loses any of its three remaining league games, beginning with Saturday’s contest against visiting Missouri.

While Mississippi State outgained Auburn 370-331 in total yards and squandered an 21-point lead against the Tigers, Georgia’s performance against Tennessee showed why it’s are regarded as the country’s most complete team.

Tennessee entered its game against Georgia leading the country in total offense (553 yards per game) and points (49.4 per game), but the Volunteers mustered just 289 yards and 13 points — with their lone touchdown coming in the final five minutes.

Georgia ranks second nationally in scoring defense (10.78 ppg) and is tied for fourth in total defense (265.6 ypg), sixth in rushing defense (86.4 ypg) and tied for sixth in first downs allowed (126).

On offense, Georgia is first in red-zone scoring percentage (.980), third in total offense (514.2 ypg), 10th in passing offense (320.2 ypg) and 11th in scoring offense (40.1 ppg).

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Tight end Brock Bowers has 34 receptions for 574 yards with three touchdowns for Georgia, while Ladd McConkey has 38 catches for 507 yards and three touchdowns. Kenny McIntosh has been a threat out of the backfield with 31 receptions for 322 yards and a score in addition to rushing for 384 yards and six scores on 79 carries.

Daijun Edwards is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, having rushed for 486 yards and seven touchdowns on 87 carries.

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, asked what it would take to beat the nation’s top-ranked team, said, “Focus on what you do and have discipline. The hardest thing is to get the message to everyone. It’s easy to say it, but everyone has to buy it and believe it. Just worry about what you do, worry about your job.”

Mississippi State’s defense, which features cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and his SEC-high five interceptions, has given up at least 24 points in five of six league games this season.

However, Mississippi State has been much better on offense.

Behind Will Rogers, who has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for an SEC-leading 2,912 yards and 26 touchdowns against just five interceptions, Mississippi State is eighth in passing offense (325.6) and 11th in red-zone scoring percentage (.926).

Rara Thomas has 36 receptions for 540 yards and five scores for Mississippi State. Dillon Johnson (71 carries, 406 yards, 3 TDs) and Jo’quavious Marks (77 carries, 357 yards, 7 TDs) lead an improved rushing attack.

“They’re really gashing people running the ball this year,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I think that’s the biggest difference — they are committed to running the ball and being physical up front.

“People have the wrong demeanor when they go to play this team that, ‘Oh, man, I’m going to go out here and pass rush and get all these sacks.’ They’re not going to let you do that.”

Georgia has won 12 of the past 13 meetings between the teams, including a 31-24 home win in the latest matchup, in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Georgia defensive lineman Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins (93) dives for possession of the ball during Tennessee's game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Kns Vols Georgia Bp

Georgia outclasses No. 1 Tennessee in convincing showdown victory

Stetson Bennett passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one to lead No. 3 Georgia to a convincing 27-13 victory over top-ranked Tennessee in Southeastern Conference play Saturday afternoon at Athens, Ga.

Bennett completed 17 of 25 passes for 257 yards and Ladd McConkey caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0 SEC) defeated Tennessee for the sixth consecutive time. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint also had a scoring reception.

Jalen Carter forced two fumbles, Javon Bullard had two sacks and Kelee Ringo had an interception for Georgia, which held the Volunteers to 2 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Hendon Hooker was 23-of-33 passing for 195 yards and one interception for Tennessee (8-1, 4-1). Hooker had thrown a touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games prior to being unable to find the end zone against the Bulldogs.

Jaylen Wright rushed for a touchdown for the Volunteers, but standout receiver Jalin Hyatt had just six catches for 63 yards.

Georgia played without standout linebacker Nolan Smith, who will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. But the Bulldogs still outgained Tennessee 387 to 289.

Tennessee landed the No. 1 spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, but was routinely outclassed by the Bulldogs.

Jack Podlesny booted a 38-yard field goal with 1:09 left in the third quarter to give Georgia a 27-6 lead. Tennessee attempted to rally in a driving rainstorm, but Wright’s 5-yard scoring run with 4:15 left was all the Volunteers could manage.

Georgia outgained the Volunteers 306 to 139 while building a 24-6 halftime lead.

Tennessee struck first on Chase McGrath’s 47-yard field goal before the Bulldogs scored the next 21 points.

Bennett scored on a 13-yard keeper with 8:32 left in the first quarter and later connected with McConkey on a 37-yard scoring pass to make it 14-3 with 3:32 left in the period.

Georgia tacked on another score when Bennett hit Rosemy-Jacksaint on a 5-yard touchdown pass 43 seconds into the second quarter.

McGrath’s 36-yard field goal cut the Volunteers’ deficit to 21-6 with 9:36 left in the half. Podlesny kicked a 19-yarder for the Bulldogs as time expired in the half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) passes the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Tennessee ready to show it belongs on top vs. No. 3 Georgia

Defending national champion Georgia had been viewed as the top team in college football this season, but Tennessee has flipped the script.

When the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season were released on Tuesday night, the Volunteers were No. 1 while the Bulldogs were No. 3, creating even more drama for their big Southeastern Conference matchup on Saturday at Athens, Ga.

It’s the latest sign that Tennessee (8-0, 4-0 SEC) is a bona fide national championship contender in Josh Heupel’s second year as coach.

“I don’t know that we placed a timeframe on it,” Heupel said on ESPN after the rankings were unveiled. “I think that is one of the things that had our players buy into what we’re doing. We never set a ceiling. …

“There’s a long way to go. We obviously have a huge step this week in Athens, Georgia, but I love competing with this team every Saturday.”

Georgia (8-0, 5-0) also is behind Ohio State in the initial CFP rankings.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart never overlooks information when it comes to motivational speeches, so the current pecking order certainly will be mentioned leading into the showdown.

Georgia has won the past five meetings entering a contest featuring two of the strongest offenses in the nation.

The Volunteers lead the nation in scoring offense (49.4 points per game) and total offense (553.0 yards per game), while Georgia ranks second in total offense (530.1) and is tied for sixth in scoring (41.8).

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker has become a leading Heisman Trophy candidate by throwing for 2,338 yards with 21 touchdowns and just one interception. Big-play receiver Jalin Hyatt has 45 receptions for 907 yards and a nation-leading 14 touchdown catches.

Smart said Hooker is vastly improved over the quarterback the Bulldogs saw during a 41-17 victory in Knoxville last season.

“He’s one step ahead of where he was,” Smart said of Hooker. “To think of the reps and the games he’s played since the games last year, he’s just as elusive, he’s got probably the same arm talent. Those two don’t improve. It’s his decision-making and his processing. And the guys around him are playing better, too.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has passed for 2,349 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a 22-3 career record as a starter.

Receiver Ladd McConkey (33 receptions, 413 yards, 2 TDs) and tight end Brock Bowers (31 catches, 547 yards, 3 TDs) are solid players. Bowers had five receptions for a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown last Saturday in the Bulldogs’ 42-20 win over Florida.

Defense is where there is a pronounced difference between the clubs.

Georgia ranks second in scoring defense (10.5) and fourth in total defense (262.6), while the Volunteers are tied for 26th in scoring defense (21.0) and are 82nd in total defense (393.6).

The Bulldogs remained sturdy on defense despite the loss of five NFL first-round picks and eight overall draftees from last season’s unit.

Smart doesn’t understand why outsiders expected a defensive drop-off this season.

“It is not like just because you lose good players, it does not mean you are not going to be good the next year,” Smart said. “Maybe that is an expectation that some teams have, but that is not the expectation of any team I have ever been a part of. The expectation is that you are going to be good because you recruit good players and because you coach hard.”

Hooker surely isn’t expecting an easy time against the Georgia defense.

“The effort and attitude and toughness that they bring to the game is immaculate, and that’s what SEC football is about,” Hooker said. “This is the top brand of football.”

The Bulldogs received a blow on Tuesday when Smart said standout outside linebacker Nolan Smith would miss the remainder of the season due to a torn pectoral muscle. Smith will undergo surgery.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Daijun Edwards (30) is congratulated after he scores a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia finishes off SEC rival Florida again, 42-20

Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh each ran for two scores and Stetson Bennett added two touchdowns passes as top-ranked Georgia pulled away for a 42-20 win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference rivals’ annual clash in Jacksonville, Fla.

Bennett went 19-for-38 passing for 316 yards with two interceptions, with tight end Brock Bowers finishing with five catches for 154 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown.

Ladd McConkey had four catches for 51 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown.

Edwards rushed for 106 yards, which included touchdown runs of 1 and 22 yards, on just 12 carries for Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC). McIntosh ran for 90 yards, which included scoring runs of 2 and 4 yards, on 16 carries in Georgia’s fifth win over Florida (4-4, 1-4) in the past six meetings.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson went 18-for-37 passing for 271 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Xzavier Henderson had five catches for 110 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown, while Trevor Etienne had 11 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Trailing 28-3 at halftime, Florida took advantage of two Georgia turnovers to score 17 points in a span of 11:29 to pull to within 28-20.

Etienne’s 3-yard run with 9:34 left in the third quarter and Adam Mihalek’s 26-yard field goal a little more than three minutes later following a Bulldogs’ fumble cut the lead to 28-13.

After Bennett’s second interception, Richardson threw a 78-yard scoring strike to Henderson down the sideline to trim the lead to 28-20 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.

But that’s as close as the Gators would get, as Edwards’ 22-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 35-20 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

McIntosh’s 4-yard run on Georgia’s next possession made it 42-20 with 11:44 left in the game.

Georgia outgained Florida 555-371 and held the Gators to 4-for-16 on third-down conversions, while the Bulldogs went 6-for-12 and averaged 7.1 yards per play overall.

In the first half, Georgia outgained Florida 346-88, holding the Gators to just 13 rushing yards and two first downs.

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) avoids a tackle from Vanderbilt linebacker Ethan Barr (32) during the 1st half as Georgia takes on Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. on Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2022.

Sports Richard Hamm

No. 1 Georgia carries upper hand in matchup vs. Florida

Top-ranked Georgia will look to remain in national-championship form against reeling Florida when the rivals meet Saturday at Jacksonville, Fla.

The Bulldogs and Gators are coming off bye weeks while headed in opposite directions. Georgia (7-0, 4-0 SEC) has passed every test on its schedule, while Florida (4-3, 1-3) has struggled in conference play under first-year coach Billy Napier.

Georgia is second nationally in scoring defense (9.1 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (83.4 yards per game), fifth in passing yards allowed (163.7 yards) and tied for eighth in scoring offense (41.7 points).

The Gators’ weakness has been their defense, which has allowed opponents to average 185 yards rushing and 244.3 passing yards per game. Florida has allowed opponents to convert 52.6 percent of their third downs, which ranks 130th out of 131st FBS schools, just ahead of Colorado’s 52.8 percent.

“We know why we’ve lost games,” Napier said. “I think we know what winning football looks like. The games we lost we didn’t deserve to win.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception, leading an offense that is second in the country in yards per game (526.6).

Tight end Brock Bowers has 26 receptions for 393 yards with two touchdowns, while Ladd McConkey has 29 catches for 362 yards and a score. Kenny McIntosh has been a threat out of the backfield with 28 receptions for 270 yards, in addition to rushing for 248 yards and four scores on 53 carries.

The Bulldogs’ Daijun Edwards is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, having rushed for 337 yards and five touchdowns on 59 carries.

Bennett, however, wasn’t great in his start against Florida last year. He went 10-of-19 passing for 161 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Georgia’s 34-7 win, its fourth in the past five meetings between the teams.

But Bennett outplayed Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who will enter Saturday’s game looking to atone for last year.

Richardson was benched after a disastrous two-plus minute stretch in which his three turnovers led to three touchdowns that made it 24-0 at the half following Nakobe Dean’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final seconds.

Richardson finished 12-for-20 for 82 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Richardson has shown growth this year. He has thrown for 1,367 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions, in addition to rushing for 395 yards and six touchdowns on 56 carries for an average of 7.1 yards per attempt.

“From the start of the season, you watch every game in sequence and you say, man, this guy is growing and getting better,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “You have got to be careful with him. Some of the runs he’s had have been better than some running backs have across the country.”

Florida’s Montrell Johnson is averaging 7.2 yards per carry while rushing for 425 yards and seven touchdowns on 59 attempts.

Xzavier Henderson, who has 27 catches for 252 yards and a score, is the lone Gator with more than 18 receptions. Justin Shorter has averaged 22.5 yards on his 18 receptions for 405 yards and two scores, while Ricky Pearsall has 16 catches for 303 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) scores a touchdown past Vanderbilt Commodores linebacker De'Rickey Wright (43) after catching a pass during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia makes quick work of Vandy, 55-0

Stetson Bennett threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns to lead top-ranked Georgia to its second straight shutout of visiting Vanderbilt with a 55-0 victory in a Southeastern Conference game on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Bennett went 24-for-30 passing and completed at least one pass to eight Bulldogs before being replaced by Carson Beck with 38 seconds left in the third quarter and Georgia (7-0, 4-0 SEC) leading 34-0.

Darnell Washington caught four passes for 78 yards while Dillon Bell finished with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, and Ladd McConkey added 49 yards on four receptions.

Kenny McIntosh had nine carries for 43 yards and a touchdown in addition to two receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown. Daijun Edwards rushed for a game-high 49 yards and a score on 10 carries.

AJ Swann went 12-for-23 passing for 105 yards, with Will Sheppard finishing with three receptions for 45 yards. Ray Davis was held to just 29 yards on 12 carries.

Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-3) mustered just 45 yards in the second half and was outgained 579-150.

Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 62-0 in Nashville last year and 30-6 in 2019. The teams didn’t play in 2020 due to coronavirus, meaning the Commodores haven’t scored a touchdown against Georgia in four years.

After Bennett found McIntosh out of the backfield for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 10:01 left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs doubled their lead two possessions later.

McIntosh’s 7-yard burst up the middle capped a four-play, 42-yard drive that extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-0 with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

Edwards’ 1-yard touchdown run up the middle capped an 11-play, 81-yard drive that pushed Georgia’s lead to 21-0 with 9:00 left in the first half.

After Vanderbilt fumbled the ball away on Georgia’s 15-yard line, the Bulldogs turned the miscue into points when Bennett threw a 10-yard scoring strike to Dominick Blaylock for a 28-0 lead with 1:06 left in the half.

Jack Podlesny kicked field goals of 28 and 35 yards in the third quarter to make it 34-0.

Beck, who finished 8-for-11 passing for 98 yards, threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Bell and Arik Gilbert before Cash Jones’ 36-yard touchdown run capped the 55-0 rout with 1:31 left.

–Field Level Media