Georgia Sports Communications
Nov. 26, 2022
ATHENS, Ga. — With a 37-14 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, the top-ranked Georgia football team completed a second straight undefeated regular season. In addition, the 22 members of the Bulldogs’ senior class earned their 46th win, becoming the winningest class in program history.
Georgia (12-0) had to work for the victory, getting behind 7-0 and struggling to finish off drives against a spirited group of Yellow Jackets (5-7) playing under interim head coach Brent Key. During what was for a long time a low-scoring matchup on Dooley Field, kicker Jack Podlesny was pivotal, converting on field goals from 30, 50 and 36 yards. But then the Georgia offense got rolling and cruised to a blowout victory
Last year’s class had the school record for career wins, going 45-8, while this group is now 46-5. The seniors, including Podlesny, quarterback Stetson Bennett, safety Christopher Smith and more, were recognized before the game during the Senior Day festivities.
Another senior, running back Kenny McIntosh, had a big day rushing and receiving. He finished with 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground and two receptions for 96 yards, including an 83-yarder early in the fourth quarter during a 99-yard touchdown drive.
Georgia and its seniors will try for win No. 47 next Saturday when the Bulldogs take on No. 5 LSU in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
It was the Yellow Jackets that struck first Saturday, taking the opening drive 75 yards for a touchdown. They converted a fourth-and-9 at the Georgia 41-yard line, connecting on a 34-yard pass, and quarterback Taisun Phommachanh later scored on a 7-yard run, putting Tech up 7-0 less than 5 minutes into the game. It was the first touchdown Georgia’s defense has allowed in the first quarter all season.
Georgia’s second offensive drive showed great promise, with Bennett making things happen with his arms and his legs. A 16-yard run gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal at the 4, but Georgia eventually had to settle for a 30-yard Podlesny field goal that cut Tech’s lead to 7-3 with 18 seconds left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs took the lead, 10-7, with 7:59 left in the half on Bennett’s 5-yard touchdown pass to wideout Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint. The drive began with a 45-yard run by McIntosh, the longest run by a Bulldog running back this season. Daijun Edwards added several runs, including an 18-yarder, before Bennett found his target on third-and-goal.
It was still 10-7 at the half, with Tech holding a 187-153 advantage in total yardage. Georgia got the ball to start the third quarter and appeared to score a long touchdown when Bennett hit Arian Smith in the back of the end zone, but Smith was ruled out of bounds and the call was upheld on review. Instead, Podlesny booted a 50-yard field goal to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 13-7.
The Bulldogs’ defense got a quick stop, and then Tech punter David Shanahan dropped the snap and was immediately surrounded by Bulldogs, resulting in a loss of 13 yards and Georgia’s ball on the Yellow Jacket 17. Bennett hit Bowers for a 10-yard gain and a first down at the 5, but Georgia’s first three cracks at the end zone came up short.
On fourth down from the 1, Bennett found Bowers in the back of the end zone for the score and a 20-7 lead with 5:51 left in the third. Soon after, Georgia’s offense was back on the field following a Tech fumble that was forced by Jamon Dumas-Johnston and recovered by fellow linebacker Robert Beal at the 25.
This time, Georgia’s offense couldn’t take full advantage of the turnover. Podlesny split the uprights from 36 yards out for his third field goal of the game and a 23-7 Bulldog lead with 4:11 remaining in the third. The offense’s next possession featured one of the offensive plays of the season, an 83-yard reception down the left sideline by McIntosh, down to the 2. He ran the ball in for his eighth rushing touchdown of the season on the next play, capping a 99-yard drive and putting Georgia up 30-7 with 13:45 remaining.
Running back Kendall Milton blew the game wide open after the defense turned Tech over on downs. Milton took off down the middle and scored on a 44-yard touchdown run that made it 37-7 with 11:13 to play. Tech added a 24-yard touchdown pass with 2:55 remaining, making it 37-14.
Bennett, in his final game between the hedges, finished 10-for-18 passing for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran five times for 21 yards and used his legs to keep numerous other plays alive. Bowers finished with five catches for 20 yards and a touchdown, along with two carries for 4 yards. For the game, Georgia out-gained the Yellow Jackets 394-255.
Linebacker Smael Mondon led the defense with six tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Defensive back Tykee Smith was one of three Bulldogs with five tackles, and he also had 1.5 for loss. Georgia finished with four sacks and 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.