No. 1 Georgia tops Kentucky, goes unbeaten in SEC again

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Between Kenny McIntosh and Jack Podlesny, top-ranked Georgia got all the important points it needed on a day where style points weren’t possible.

McIntosh rushed for a career-best 143 yards, including a crucial 9-yard score late in the third quarter, and the Bulldogs withstood Kentucky’s fourth-quarter rally Saturday for a 16-6 win and its second consecutive unbeaten season in the Southeastern Conference.

The Bulldogs (11-0, 8-0 SEC, No. 1 CFP) clinched the Eastern Division title last week and sought another perfect finish in league play. They came away as just the third SEC team since 1992 to post consecutive 8-0 league marks, following Alabama (2008-09) and Florida (1995-96).

Georgia’s success wasn’t easy in cold, windy conditions, and it settled for three Podlesny field goals before McIntosh’s TD provided a needed cushion.

“With these weather conditions, we’re going to play these kind of games like this,” coach Kirby Smart said. “But I’m really proud of when our guys’ backs are against the wall, how they come out fighting with what they do.

“Certainly, we could’ve played better, probably in the red area. They could have stopped some drives defensively; we gave them a couple of conversions on penalties. I have to give Kentucky a lot of credit for bouncing back and being a really physical football team.”

Georgia’s chance to pad the lead ended on downs at Kentucky’s 1. The Wildcats to made it interesting with a 99-yard drive that ended with Will Levis‘ 8-yard touchdown pass to Barion Brown. Levis’ two-point conversion pass failed, and the chance to make it a one-score game died when Matt Ruffalo’s field goal hooked left after a low, rolling snap.

Kentucky (6-5, 3-5) then turned it over on downs and lost for the fifth time in seven games.

McIntosh rushed a career-high 19 times with a 26-yarder for the Bulldogs, who outgained Kentucky 365-297 and 247-89 on the ground.

“It was real big,” McIntosh said of his TD. “We had been driving the ball the whole field, but we knew that we needed to score on that drive to come out strong and get the ball rolling on the ground. We had preached during halftime that we needed to go out there and start stronger and be physical on the line of scrimmage.”

The senior back’s previous best was 90 yards on 16 attempts against Florida last month.

“Kenny ran the ball really well tonight,” Smart added. “Probably could’ve had more, but he had to share with some other guys.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett completed 13 of 19 for 116 yards with an interception.

Levis completed 20 of 31 for 206 yards with an interception for Kentucky, which dropped its 13th in row against Georgia.

The Wildcats had been picked to finish second behind Georgia in the East and were ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP Top 25 in late September before spiraling downward with painful division losses to South Carolina, No. 5 Tennessee and last week’s shocking 24-21 home loss to Vanderbilt that snapped the Commodores’ 26-game SEC losing streak.


Georgia’s second-ranked scoring defense (11.6 points per game coming in) remained stingy in holding Kentucky to just 119 yards before halftime and scoreless through three quarters. Kentucky’s 99-yard TD drive after making a goal-line stand spoiled the Bulldogs’ shutout bid, but they limited the Wildcats to just 3 of 11 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth.


It wasn’t pretty, but Georgia should maintain its perch atop the AP Top 25 and College Football Playoff rankings.


Georgia: Denied their usual offensive explosiveness by Kentucky’s stiff defense, the Bulldogs had to settle for whatever they could get. The numbers ended up decent, converting 6 of 12 third-down chances and edging the Wildcats in time of possession (30:02-29:58). Their stingy defense pitched a shutout for three quarters, highlighted by Kelee Ringo‘s end-zone interception of Levis, and held off Kentucky’s last-ditch attempts to make it close.

Kentucky: With nowhere to go but up after an all-around disastrous performance against Vanderbilt, the Wildcats did everything they needed to do in slowing down Georgia and coming up with a couple of critical defensive stops. They still faced a 16-point hole, though Levis did his part with his arm and feet to get them on the board against a bullish ‘Dawgs defense.

“After a tough loss a week ago, getting them motivated to compete at a high level (was our priority),” coach Mark Stoops said. “It took a lot of digging and soul-searching and the competitive nature of our players to reinvest and commit and to put in that kind of effort. We came up short, but the effort, the preparation was there.”


Georgia faces in-state rival Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Kentucky hosts in-state rival Louisville on Saturday, seeking its fourth consecutive series victory.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.