LEXINGTON, Ky. - Finals week is still a month away, but the Georgia football team answered some questions with its play in Lexington on Saturday against Kentucky.
The run defense that has been doubted limited Kentucky and star running back Benny Snell to 84 yards rushing. The offense who has been searching for its rhythm most of the year scored 14 more points than any other team had on Kentucky all year.
And at the end of the night, the Georgia team who had been questioned all year as to whether it was as good as last year’s team walked away with a second straight SEC East title after a 34-17 win.
“This one has been more of a battle, so to speak,” quarterback Jake Fromm said after the game about winning the SEC East. “A lot of people kind of doubted us a little bit and that hasn’t phased us one bit in the locker room. We’re still coming out swigging and that’s what I love about this team.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart agreed with Fromm that this season’s road to the top of the SEC East has been more of a grind. Smart mentioned a couple reasons for the difficult road to the division title, including other teams in the East improving and the youth of this year’s Georgia squad compared to last season’s.
Under particular fire this season has been the defense, which has been tasked with replacing a handful of upperclassmen from last season’s dominant unit.
“The defensive line and linebackers and those guys, they’ve gotten called out,” quarterback Jake Fromm said. “We’ve gotten called out on offense too and we’ve answered, but those guys have just continually gotten called out. For them to come out and play the kind of game they did today, awesome.”
Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter said the team hasn’t been trying to prove itself over the course of the season. However, he did seem to take pride the defense’s ability to limit Kentucky’s rushing attack on Saturday, particularly when a reporter mentioned that Snell and Wildcat quarterback Terry Wilson didn’t crack 100 yards rushing combined.
“Nah, they didn’t,” Ledbetter said.
Linebacker Monty Rice also said the only questions the team has had to answer have been out on the field. When asked if he felt the team answered those questions in Saturday’s 34-17 victory over the Wildcats, Rice cracked a slight grin.
“A little bit,” he said.