Ge­or­gia runs past Ken­tucky to clinch SEC East

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - College Football - From Mi­ami Her­ald Wire Ser­vices

D’An­dre Swift ran for a ca­reer-high 156 yards and two touch­downs on 16 car­ries against Ken­tucky’s vaunted de­fense and No. 6 Ge­or­gia beat the No. 11 Wild­cats 34-17 on Satur­day to wrap up its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive South­east­ern Con­fer­ence Eastern Divi­sion cham­pi­onship.

Swift had an 83-yard break­away in the third quar­ter that gave Ge­or­gia (8-1, 6-1, No. 6 Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off) a 28-3 lead. He also had a nifty 20-yard scor­ing run in the sec­ond pe­riod when the game was close.

Eli­jah Holy­field ran for a ca­reer-high 115 yards on 18 car­ries, scor­ing on a 4yarder in the third quar­ter.

Ge­or­gia rushed for a sea­son-high 331 yards to earn a spot in the SEC cham­pi­onship game Dec. 1 in At­lanta.

“It’s huge,” Ge­or­gia coach Kirby Smart said. “It’s not been easy. It’s never easy. Peo­ple I think some­times get spoiled when you win. Th­ese are good pro­grams. Th­ese are good teams. Give our kids a lot of credit be­cause their backs were against the wall kind of two weeks in a row and they came out ... scratch­ing and claw­ing.”

Ken­tucky (7-2, 5-2, No. 9 CFP) has never reached the SEC cham­pi­onship game, which has been played ev­ery year since 1992.

“They beat us in all phases,” Ken­tucky coach Mark Stoops said. “They re­ally played a good foot­ball game. There’s many things we will take from this. We’ll learn an aw­ful lot.”

Ken­tucky en­tered the week­end with the na­tion’s top scor­ing de­fense and hadn’t al­lowed any­one to ex­ceed 20 points all year.

Be­fore Satur­day’s game, the only player to rush for as many as 75 yards against Ken­tucky was Texas A&M’s Trayveon Wil­liams, who ran for 138 yards in a 20-14 over­time vic­tory over the Wild­cats. Swift and Holy­field were both over the 100-yard mark by the end of the third quar­ter.

Ken­tucky dom­i­nated time of pos­ses­sion through the first 1 1⁄ quar­ters, but still

2 trailed 7-3. That’s when

Swift gave the Bull­dogs some breathing room.

With Ge­or­gia fac­ing sec­ond-and-17, Swift made a move around a de­fender at the line of scrim­mage, made an­other move be­tween two Wild­cats about five yards down­field and shed a tackle in­side the 5 to com­plete a re­mark­able 20-yard touch­down run.

Swift’s touch­down gave Ge­or­gia a 14-3 late in the sec­ond quar­ter. Ge­or­gia fum­bled away a scor­ing op­por­tu­nity late in the first half but got the ball to open the sec­ond half and ex­tended the lead to 21-3 on Holy­field’s touch­down.

On Ge­or­gia’s next se­ries, Smith raced through a big hole on the left side of the line and didn’t ap­pear to get touched on his 87-yard sprint to the end zone. Be­fore that play, Ken­tucky hadn’t al­lowed a run from scrim­mage longer than 34 yards all sea­son.

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