Kentucky Comeback Falls Short Against Georgia
Oct. 23, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Washaun Ealey set a school record with five rushing touchdowns as surging Georgia pounded Kentucky 44-31 on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) forced the mistake-prone Wildcats into four turnovers - converting them into 17 points - to win their third straight.
Ealey finished with a season-high 157 yards on 28 carries before getting banged up late in the fourth quarter. His five rushing scores broke the school record of four, set most recently by former running back Robert Edwards in 1997. Ealey also matched Edwards' record for total touchdowns in a game set in 1995 against South Carolina.
Kentucky (4-4, 1-4) outgained Georgia 423-290 but couldn't overcome another shaky first half. Mike Hartline threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns but Kentucky's mistakes often set the Bulldogs up with a short field.
Only once did the Bulldogs start a touchdown drive on their side of midfield. They didn't have to as the Wildcats kept finding ways to self-destruct.
Three of Kentucky's four turnovers came in its own territory, and early gambles on fourth down and an onside kick didn't work.
Instead, they turned into points for the quickly improving Bulldogs, who are averaging 42.6 points during their current three-game run. Georgia plays rival Florida in Jacksonville next week.
Freshman quarterback Aaron Murray was a pedestrian 9-of-12 for 113 yards and no touchdowns for Georgia, but didn't turn it over either. It was too easy to hand the ball off to Ealey, who gashed the Wildcats with regularity.
Ealey had plenty of help. Cornerback/kick returner Brandon Boykins tied an SEC record with the fourth kickoff return for a touchdown in his career as the Bulldogs built an 18-point halftime lead and cruised.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips joked earlier in the week he was considering giving his players orange slices as a pregame meal in hopes of convincing their bodies that it was halftime following a series of lethargic first-half performances that forced the Wildcats to play catchup.
If he did, it didn't work.
For the third straight week, the Wildcats dug themselves into a massive hole behind a series of miscues.
Hartline fumbled on the game's third play, and Ealey scored his first touchdown four plays later. The Wildcats responded with a 41-yard field goal, but Boykins needed all of 17 seconds to take the momentum back.
The junior took the ensuing kickoff at the goalline, raced straight up the field before bouncing to the outside and zipping 100 yards for a touchdown. The score was Boykins' fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown, tying an SEC record shared by former Tennessee star Willie Gault and former Arkansas star Felix Jones.
Kentucky's charity was just beginning. Hartline was stuffed on fourth down at the Kentucky 38 and the Bulldogs quickly made it 21-3 on a 2-yard plunge by Ealey. Sophomore running back Donald Russell then mishandled a pitch coming out of the end zone and the Bulldogs recovered at the Kentucky 5.
Ealey scored again three plays later, and the rout was on as the Bulldogs did what South Carolina couldn't do a week ago: put the Wildcats away.
He capped Georgia's only sustained touchdown drive of the night - 70 yards in seven plays - with a 1-yard dive on the opening possession of the second half to boost Georgia's lead to 35-10.
The teams traded scores from there, as Georgia took another step toward putting a nightmarish four-game losing streak earlier this season firmly in its rearview mirror.