Bulldogs roll over Rebels in home finale
ATHENS, Ga. — The undefeated Georgia football team wrapped up its home schedule in emphatic fashion in front of a sellout crowd of 92,746 Saturday night at Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs piled up more than 600 yards of offense in a dominating 52-17 win over Ole Miss in a matchup of top-10 teams. It was the Bulldogs’ 27th consecutive victory and their 25th win in a row on Dooley Field.
Before the game even began, Georgia (10-0, 7-0 SEC), which remains ranked No. 1 in the polls and No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, clinched the SEC East Division championship after Missouri knocked off Tennessee, 36-7. The Bulldogs will face Alabama in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 2. The Bulldogs wrap up SEC play next Saturday at Tennessee.
Georgia quarterback Carson Beck completed 18 of 25 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns, while Kendall Milton, on Senior Day, ran for a career-high 127 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries. The Bulldog offense didn’t face a third down until late in the second quarter, rushed for 311 yards, and out-gained No. 10 Ole Miss 610-352.
Ole Miss (8-2, 5-2) took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive when Quinshon Judkins ran the ball in from the Georgia 15-yard line. The Bulldogs answered quickly, going 75 yards in six plays and tying the game on Daijun Edwards’ 1-yard run with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
Georgia’s defense forced a turnover on downs on Ole Miss’ next drive, stopping the Rebels on fourth-and-3 at the Bulldog 40. On first down of the Bulldogs’ drive, Edwards bounced outside to the right for nine yards. On the next play, he ran up the middle before bouncing out to the right for 22 yards, to the Ole Miss 29. On the next play, Beck hit wideout Ladd McConkey for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 3:09 left in the quarter.
Early in the second, Ole Miss capped a 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Judkins, tying the game at 14. Georgia, again, answered quickly, capping its 75-yard drive with a one-yard Edwards run that put the Bulldogs up 21-14 with 9:58 to play in the half. The drive was highlighted by a seven-yard reception by tight end Brock Bowers, his first catch after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, and a 41-yard reception by McConkey down to the 2.
Georgia’s defense forced an Ole Miss three-and-out, getting a 10-yard sack and stuffing two runs for no gain, and the offense took over at its 38 after a Rebel punt. On first down, Beck found Bowers for a 19-yard gain. Later, Beck connected with Edwards for 14, and Kendall Milton capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 28-14 with 2:27 to play in the half. At that point, the Bulldogs were averaging 10.7 yards per play.
Safety Javon Bullard picked off a Dart pass on the Rebels’ next drive, his second interception of the season, and returned it to the Ole Miss 45 with 1:00 on the clock. The Rebels picked off a Beck pass at the Ole Miss 7 with seven seconds left in the half. At the break, Georgia led 28-14 and had a 304-194 advantage in total offense.
After being forced to punt for the first time in the game on its opening drive of the second half, Georgia’s offense found the end zone again on its second, pushing its lead to 35-14 with 9:15 left in the third. The four-play drive included an 11-yard McConkey run, a 22-yard reception by Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, a nine-yard Beck scramble, and a 33-yard touchdown run by Milton.
Kicker Peyton Woodring added to the Bulldog lead with 3:50 to go in the third, booting a 27-yard field goal to make it 38-14. It was the freshman’s 14th straight made field goal. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Beck found Bowers down the middle for an eight-yard touchdown and a 45-14 lead. It was Bowers’ 25th career touchdown reception
Ole Miss kicker Caden Davis made it 45-17 with a 29-yard field goal with 8:50 remaining in the game. Georgia running back Andrew Paul scored a four-yard touchdown with 4:12 remaining to give the Bulldogs a 52-17 lead. It was the first touchdown of Paul’s career.
Before the game, Georgia recognized 30 seniors that were, or could be, playing their final game on Dooley Field. Some of them have eligibility remaining and may return next season. The 2023 senior class has a record of 47-3, including the 27 consecutive wins and back-to-back national championships.
In addition, former coach Mark Richt was recognized between the first and second quarter for his 2023 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 15 seasons at Georgia (2001-15), Richt amassed a record of 145-51, with seven Top-10 finishes and two SEC titles (2002 and ’05).
*Extending The Streaks: With tonight’s 52-17 win over No. 9 Ole Miss, Georgia (10-0, 7-0 SEC) clinched the SEC Eastern Division for the third year in a row and 13th in school history (10 outright, 3 shared) while extending its school record for consecutive victories to 27. The winning streak began during the 2021 season (Dec. 31) when the Bulldogs beat #2 Michigan 34-11 in a CFP semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl. This streak ranks as the third longest in SEC history.*Georgia extended its school record with its 26th consecutive regular season SEC victory dating to a 31-24 win over Miss. State on Nov. 21, 2020. This streak ranks second in SEC history.
*The Bulldogs extended their school record for consecutive regular season wins to 37, which leads all of FBS. This streak began during the 2020 season with a 31-24 win over Miss. State. on Nov. 21. Also, Georgia is now 7-2 when ESPN College GameDay Show in on campus.
*The Bulldogs are now 43-1 in their last 44 games and have won a record 25 straight home games.
*The Bulldogs are now 44-4 at home in the Smart era including 13-1 against ranked opponents, winning the last 13 ranked matchups.
*Georgia improves to 10-0 for the third straight year as the Bulldogs under Kirby Smart are 91-15 overall. With the latest victory over UM, Georgia now holds a 33-13-1 edge in the series history. Also, Georgia extended its school record streak of consecutive sellouts to 71.
*The 2023 seniors closed out another undefeated home record (4th year in a row) and improved to 47-3 overall.
*Summary Of The Offense: Georgia finished with a season-high 611 yards of total offense on 61 plays in a 52-17 rout of No. 9 Ole Miss. It was the most total offense since tallying 615 against Missouri in 2020.
*Junior QB Carson Beck finished 18-for-25 for 306 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. He went 13-for-15 for 214 yards with one TD and one INT in the first half.
*Senior RB Kendall Milton rushed for a career-high 127 yards on only nine carries (14.1 avg.) with a career-high 2 TDs. He had a 51-yard rush that tied his career high, also versus LSU in the 2022 SEC Championship Game. He posted a seven-yard TD run to make it 28-14. In the 3rd quarter, he added a 33-yard TD to make it 35-14. He has seven TDs on the year and 16 for his career.
*Junior WR Ladd McConkey had a team-high 81 yards on four catches including a 29-yard TD to make it 14-7 with 3:09 left in the first quarter It was his second of the year and 14th of his career.
*Junior TE Brock Bowers tallied three catches for 34 yards including his fifth TD this year and 25th for his career. It was his first action after missing two games due to an ankle injury. For his career, he ranks fifth in school history with 163 catches for 2,425 yards. His 25 TD catches ranks second in school history.
*Junior Rara Thomas (2 rec., 54 yards) had a 44-yard catch to help set up Georgia’s first score. Junior Dominic Lovett (4 rec., 77 yards) had a career-long 43-yard catch.
*Georgia went 4-for-4 in scoring TDs on its four possessions in the first half to build a 28-14 lead before the fifth drive ended with an INT.
*Georgia responded on its first possession with a 75-yard TD drive in six plays in 3:02, capped by a one-yard run by Daijun Edwards. On the 3rd possession with the game tied at 14, the Bulldogs went on top 21-14, going 75 yards on eight plays in 4:18, capped by another one-yard run Edwards, giving him 10 for the year and 21 for his career. He has had four games this year with at least two rushing TDs.
*Defensive Review: The Rebels came in averaging 38.8 ppg and were held to 17 points, finishing with 352 yards of total offense on 69 plays.
*The Rebels finished 6-for-15 on 3rd down and 2-for-4 on 4th down.
*Ole Miss became the fourth straight SEC team (and fifth overall) to score a TD on its opening drive versus Georgia to take a 7-0 lead, going 11 plays in 75 yards in 4:30. The Rebels scored a TD on their 3rd possession to tie the game at 14 with 14:16 left in the 2nd quarter. Their next and final score was a field goal, and it came in the 4th quarter with 8:50 remaining to make it a 45-17 contest.
*Freshman C.J. Allen had a career-high and team-best nine tackles plus a sack while senior Tykee Smith was next with six.
*Junior Javon Bullard notched his 2nd interception in as many games. Georgia is +3 in Turnover Margin this year after getting one INT and having an INT. Ole Miss came in tonight an SEC best +8 in Turnover Margin.
*A Look At The Special Teams: Freshman PK Peyton Woodring made a 27-yard FG and was 7-for-7 on PATs for 10 points. He is now 18-for-21 in FG on the year and 50-for-50 on PATs . He leads the team with 104 points.
*The Georgia freshman record for most points kicking now belongs to Woodring as the previous mark was 95 by Blair Walsh in 2008 when he made 15-of-23 field goals and was 50-for-50 on PATs. Sophomore P Brett Thorson had one punt for 41 yards. Jared Zirkel handled the kickoffs.
*Captains, Coin Toss and For Starters: Juniors Carson Beck (QB), Ladd McConkey (WR) and Smael Mondon (ILB) plus senior Nazir Stackhouse (DL) served as the game captains. UM won the toss and elected to take the football. Van Pran made his team-leading 40th career start. Freshman C.J. Allen (ILB) made his first career start. Junior Brock Bowers (TE) returned to a starting role after missing the past two games due to an ankle injury. Junior Amarius Mims (RT) and freshman Roderick Robinson (RB) returned to action after missing the past six games.
During the first half, Georgia honored former coach Mark Richt who has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame while two-time national champion quarterback Stetson Bennett received the Burlsworth Trophy as part of on campus salutes. Also, the Champion Golfer of the Year, former Bulldog Brian Harman, was recognized as the 2023 British Open champion. Also the 2023 SEC Tournament champion women’s tennis and soccer teams were honored along with former head women’s tennis coach Jeff Wallace who retired after the 2023 season.
*Honoring #77 Devin Willock: Redshirt sophomore Micah Morris (LG), normally #56, wore #77 today in honor of his late teammate Devin Willock. A different Bulldog offensive lineman will be wearing #77 each game this season.
*Up Next: Georgia (10-0, 7-0 SEC) plays at No. 13 Tennessee Saturday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. (CBS). The Vols lost 36-7 at #14 Missouri earlier today and dropped to 7-3 overall, 3-3 SEC.
Head Coach Kirby Smart
On Senior Night and celebra2ng those players…
“Probably the most decorated senior class that’s ever come thru. I have to ask Claude Felton what the actual win-loss record is for this class, some of them were here in 2019. Most of them were undefeated at home and what a game to finish that off with. The crowd was electric and the memory of having that game as your last game in Sanford Stadium will be hard to top.”
On the difference in this game for the offense to have so much success…
“We have good players on offense and good coaches. That combination is hard. We have pass protectors and run blockers, and the backs I thought ran really hard tonight. Carson (Beck) put us in the right place. Number 19 (Brock Bowers) and #84 (Ladd McConkey) are really tough to deal with. Dom (Lovett) and Rara (Thomas) did some good things. It’s a cumulative effect. I’d
hate to be on that defensive side trying to stop those guys.”
On the key to the Georgia defense stopping Ole Miss…
“The key was stopping the run. They had good rhythm. We didn’t stop the run well early, which is not indicative of who we are. The biggest thing about slowing down their pass game was getting hands on receivers- getting pass rush and affecting them. Once you control the run game it’s a lot easier to play the pass and I thought they did a tremendous job of doing that.”
#15 Carson Beck | Jr. | QB
On when he knew the offense could move the ball at will…
“I mean, when we went down there that first drive, you know and had success, it’s always good to come out to a hot start, obviously. And then the second drive and then the third drive and then it just kept going and going and obviously you start steamrolling. And then the defense gets some stops, just all builds that momentum.”
On what it meant to play on senior night in front of such a great home crowd…
“Yeah, I mean, obviously it’s huge. For me, all the seniors, really everybody on the team, to be able to have a top-10 matchup night game. It’s not something that happens every year, so to be able to play in that type of environment and have the success that we had and execute at the level that we did was awesome.”
On the resiliency of the offense…
“I think we did such a good job. And that was really our key I guess for the entire week was just win the now, just win each and every moment that presents itself. And I know it’s so cliche to say just go play to play to play, and I say it every single week, but in all like realness I think we really showed that today. Even when we were setback, we came back and we fought and we had full confidence in that.”
#96 Zion Logue | Sr. | DL
On adjustments made across the defense in the second half…
“Really just like every team, they always give us their first best nine to twelve plays, and we know they’re a good team. We knew that coming into the game. We knew we had to neutralize the speed of the fast ball, and I feel like we did that very well today. Aber those first 14 [points], it kind of slowed down for us.”
On how the defense was able to improve as the game progressed…
“I think it’s just that we’re in the tenth game of the season now, and you still say butterflies. But every game is kind of different. We anticipated the fast ball so much this week, and I think we were just overcompensating for things. We just had to settle down and played football.”
On his career at Georgia…
“I was talking with my D-line coach, Coach Tray Scott, earlier. It feels like just the other day that I was playing Arkansas State in my freshman year. Time waits for no man, and you have to grow up very fast here. This place has taught me everything that I know, and I’ll forever be grateful for Athens, Georgia.”