Georgia beats Kentucky to clinch SEC East title

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Georgia is headed back to the SEC championship game.

The No. 6 Bulldogs clinched their second consecutive SEC East Division title with a 34-17 victory over No. 9 Kentucky on Saturday at Kroger Field, keeping their College Football Playoff hopes squarely intact.

Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) has just one SEC game remaining — Nov. 10 vs. Auburn — then nonconference games against UMass and Georgia Tech to wrap up the regular season. The Bulldogs will seek their second consecutive SEC championship on Dec. 1 after winning the conference title game in 2017.

Kirby Smart’s crew toppled Kentucky (7-2, 5-2) thanks in part to a season-best rushing performance. The Bulldogs compiled 331 rushing yards, both a team high this season and the most anyone has gained on the ground against Kentucky’s defense.

The Wildcats hadn’t allowed a team to rush for 200 yards against them this season, and they were the only team in the FBS to not have allowed an opponent to score 21 points.

Two Georgia running backs surpassed the century mark: Sophomore D’Andre Swift finished with 156 yards and junior Elijah Holyfield racked up 115.

Earlier this week, Georgia debuted at No. 6 in the first playoff committee rankings of 2018, leaving it well in control of its postseason fate. The Bulldogs, who lost to Alabama in last season’s national championship game, have gone unbeaten against SEC East opponents for the second straight season.

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