Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes, and No. 1 Georgia finished back-to-back regular seasons undefeated for the first time in school history by overcoming a slow start to beat Georgia Tech 37-14 on Saturday.
Georgia (12-0, No. 1 CFP) was down 7-0 early and only trailed Georgia Tech 10-7 at halftime. Then the Bulldogs outscored the Yellow Jackets (5-7) with their running game to score an unanswered 37 points for a fifth straight win in the state rivalry.
Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton ran for touchdowns. Georgia edged out Georgia Tech 264-40.
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The Bulldogs, the defending national champions, are in good shape to retain their No. 1 college football playoff ranking in next week’s Southeastern Conference Championship game against No. 6 LSU.
Errors in the third quarter hurt the Yellow Jackets’ chances of ruining the historic day for the Bulldogs. After a low snap, punter David Shanahan was tackled at Georgia Tech 17. This set up Bennett’s second pass, a yard pass to tight end Brock Bowers on a fourth down.
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Georgia Tech freshman running back Jamie Felix’s fumble was picked up by Georgian Robert Beal on the Yellow Jackets’ next game. The turnover set up a 36-yard field goal by Jack Podlesny to give the Bulldogs a 23-7 lead.
Georgia retired in the fourth quarter. Bennett’s 83-yard pass to McIntosh — the Bulldogs’ longest pass of the season — set up McIntosh’s two-yard run. Milton added a 44-yard run.
The Yellow Jackets ended the Bulldogs’ 37-game point streak on running back Dontae Smith’s 24-yard pass to Malachi Carter with less than three minutes left.
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Georgia Tech became the first team to score a first-quarter touchdown against Georgia this season. Zach Gibson completed a 34-yard pass to Nate McCollum on a 4-and-9 play against the Georgia 7.
Replacement quarterback Taisun Phommachanh’s seven-yard run capped the touchdown.
The Bulldogs took a 10-7 lead on Bennett’s five-yard pass to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint in the second quarter. It was Georgia’s only pass of a practice that included a 45-yard run by McIntosh.
Georgia Tech finished 4-4 under interim coach Brent Key and failed to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2018.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets again showed the progress they made under Key. A year ago, the team’s third consecutive three-game winning season ended with a 45-0 loss to Georgia.
After beating two Top 25 teams — Pittsburgh and North Carolina — on the road under Key, Georgia Tech was competitive for at least one half against the Bulldogs. Gibson, the third starting quarterback for the Yellow Jackets, showed good composure against the best defense in the country.
Georgia: The Bulldogs have avoided disappointment this season, and while flat to open the game, they have shown resilience. Bennett dodged mistakes while McIntosh showed his versatility by posting game-leading totals of 86 rushing yards and 96 receiving yards on two catches. Bennett completed 10 of 18 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and he had five carries for 21 yards.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY
Georgia should protect its No. 1 positions in the AP Top 25 and College Football Playoff rankings.
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Georgia Tech: Opens its 2023 season against Louisville on Sept. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Georgia: Playing in the SEC Championship game for the fifth time in six years against No. 6 LSU next Saturday in Atlanta.