Nick Chubb took the handoff and patiently waited for his block on the left side of the offensive line to open up. After hitting the hole, Chubb found a lane to the outside. From there, no one was catching the senior from Cedartown.
Chubb was off to the races for a 55-yard touchdown, out-running the entire Kentucky defense. Hitting the end zone with 14:17 left in the fourth quarter, Chubb cemented Georgia’s 42-13 victory over the Wildcats. It also put Chubb in a category only one other Georgia running back has ever been in.
The 55-yard touchdown run pushed Chubb over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Chubb became only the second running back to ever run for 1,000 yards in three seasons.
The only other former Georgia back to do so? Herschel Walker.
It proved fitting for Chubb to go over 1,000 yards and put the game away on senior day. Chubb became a household name as a freshman, running for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a true freshman after beginning the year fourth on the depth chart. He bounced back from a severe knee injury suffered as a sophomore to total 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Chubb now has 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns for the year.
But like it has been all year long, it wasn’t only Chubb doing the heavy lifting. Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) got three rushing touchdowns from fellow senior Sony Michel. This included a hard-nosed 37-yard rushing touchdown in the first half, with Michel diving into the end zone to finish the play.
Georgia, which was held to only 46 rushing yards a week ago in a loss to Auburn, was able to total 381 rushing yards against Kentucky.
As for Kentucky (7-4, 4-4), its defense struggled and its offense couldn’t muster enough. Running back Benny Snell did his part to try and keep the Wildcats in the game with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Four who mattered
Chubb: Chubb has been a special back at Georgia over the past four years. His 55-yard touchdown was the longest run he has had during the 2017 season.
Michel: In addition to the 37-yard touchdown run, Michel had scores from 8 and 4 yards out. Michel finished the game with 12 carries for 87 yards. His season total now sits at 818 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Snell: If not for Snell, Kentucky’s offense may have been shut out. Snell proved tough for Georgia to bring down at times and showed why he is one of the conference’s best running backs once again.
Georgia defensive back Aaron Davis: Davis began his career as a walk-on at Georgia. In his final home game at Sanford Stadium, Davis came up with an interception on a trick play. He was rewarded with the coveted golden spiked shoulder pads on the sideline.
While Georgia did hold a 28-13 lead, Chubb’s 55-yard touchdown sealed the game for good.
Slow start, strong finish: Georgia opened the game a tad slow on offense, which brought back memories from last week’s game against Auburn. But as the game went on, Georgia’s running game picked up. The Bulldogs also broke from an early trend, which included running the ball on its first nine first-down plays. Late in the second quarter, Georgia then threw the ball three times in a row on first down, with the second completion going for a 27-yard touchdown from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims.
Kentucky’s passing game limited: Snell was likely going to get his yardage no matter what. But what Georgia did exceptionally well was take away Kentucky’s passing game. Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson finished the game 12-of-22 passing for 138 yards. The Bulldogs were able to pressure Johnson quite a bit too, recording three sacks and a couple of tackles near the line of scrimmage.
Big Country starts: Georgia showed the possibility of going with offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, nicknamed “Big Country,” as a starter in practice this week. The Bulldogs ended up doing so, giving the Toccoa native his first career start. Cleveland got the start at right guard ahead of Solomon Kindley, who still played on two of Georgia’s drives.
Undefeated in division play: For the first time in program history, Georgia finished unbeaten in the SEC East. The SEC divided the conference into divisions in 1992 and the Bulldogs never finished a season with a win over every divisional opponent until now. The Bulldogs also finished the 2017 season without a loss at Sanford Stadium, which is the first time that has happened since 2012.
They said it
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart on getting a win on senior day: “What a great way for these seniors to go out – winning the SEC East by going undefeated against the East. Our seniors have given us tremendous leadership, and I’m happy and proud of them. Our seniors have set the standard and our young players have bought in. It helps to have such great leadership.”
Chubb on bouncing back from last week's loss at Auburn: “It's always good to get the bad taste out of your mouth. I think coming out here and getting back to doing what we've been doing helped our confidence out a little more. We just have to keep playing Georgia ball.”
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen on facing Chubb and Michel: “You have to tackle. You have to hit them hard. Arm tackles aren't going to work against them and we did a lot of arm tackling (Saturday). We have to work on that a little but more and get more physical next week.”
Georgia will travel to Georgia Tech for its annual intrastate rivalry next Saturday.