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No. 13 Georgia earns SEC Championship bid with win over Kentucky

Nov 19, 2011 - 10:10 PM Athens, GA (Sports Network) - Blair Walsh made four field goals and Marlon Brown caught a touchdown pass, as the 13th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs fended off the Kentucky Wildcats, 19-10, to capture the SEC East title.

Aaron Murray completed 16-of-29 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Bulldogs (9-2, 7-1 SEC), who have secured a spot in next month's SEC Championship Game.

Since the league split into divisions in 1992, the Bulldogs have either won or shared the East title six times.

"I am so proud of the guys for winning the SEC East," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "Guys could have quit, pointed fingers and found a way to fall apart. But they didn't do that. Last season was pretty horrible by record, but the players never gave up on the coaches and the coaches never gave up on the players. We maintained our unity. That's what carried us through the offseason and carried us through the early part of this year."

Brandon Harton carried the ball 23 times for 101 yards for the victors. Fellow running back Isaiah Crowell hurt his ankle on the team's first offensive series.

Georgia, which has won nine in a row, will play at Georgia Tech next weekend.

Maxwell Smith connected on 17-of-34 passes for 133 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Wildcats (4-7, 1-6), who have lost two in a row.

"I am proud of this team and how they fought," Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips said. "A lot of people knew how much this week meant for Georgia and no one talked about what we were playing for. We're playing for pride, our university and an extra win. The game that this team played proved they played for each other as well. I am proud of them."

Holding a 12-10 lead, Georgia turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the second half. Randall Burden intercepted Murray at the Kentucky 20.

The Wildcats went three-and-out on offense, but their defense quickly forced another turnover. Harton fumbled the ball at the Kentucky 40, but the visitors went three-and-out again.

Georgia's defense came up with a big turnover late in the third quarter. Smith was sacked by Jarvis Jones and lost the football. Christian Robinson recovered the ball for the Bulldogs at the Kentucky 10.

On the first play of the fourth stanza, Murray and Brown hooked up for a seven-yard score to make it 19-10.

The Wildcats did not advance the ball past their own 48 for the remainder of the game.

Despite being big underdogs, Kentucky came out ready to play. The visitors marched the ball down the field on the first possession of the game. Faced with a 3rd-and-7, Matt Roark caught a 46-yard pass to put the ball at the 15. Kentucky had to settle for a 32-yard Craig McIntosh field goal.

The Wildcats then tried a surprise onsides kick, but Georgia fell on the football. The Bulldogs got to the 21 before settling for a 39-yard Walsh field goal.

Brandon Bogotay missed a 52-yard field goal on Georgia's next possession. Branden Smith then picked off Smith to put the Bulldogs' offense back on the field. The home team had to settle for another 39-yard Walsh field goal for a 6-3 edge with over two minutes left in the first quarter.

Georgia's Ken Malcome fumbled the football at his own 27 early in the second period. Nick Melillo's 13-yard catch, a personal foul penalty and a pass interference call gave Kentucky the ball at the two. Smith then found Tyler Robinson in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-6 lead.

Backed up at their own one later in the stanza, the Wildcats were forced to punt. A 22-yard return by Brandon Boykin put the ball at the Kentucky 23. Georgia's offense stalled again and settled for a 25-yard Walsh field goal.

Ashely Lowery fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff and the Bulldogs recovered at the 30. The trend continued on offense for Georgia, though, as Walsh made a 39-yarder for a 12-10 lead with 48 seconds left.

Game Notes

Georgia has won four of its last five meetings with Kentucky, and owns a commanding 51-12-2 lead in the all-time series...The Bulldogs will be the SEC East representative in the Championship Game for the fourth time and first since 2005.