LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Considering the hard work Georgia put in this week, senior quarterback Hutson Mason wasn’t shocked that touchdown passes came so easily against Kentucky.
More notable for the No. 17 Bulldogs was the frequency of those scores.
Hutson Mason threw a career-best four touchdown passes, Nick Chubb rushed for 170 yards and a TD and Georgia steamrolled Kentucky 63-31 on Saturday.
Coming off last week’s loss to Florida that knocked the Bulldogs (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 20 CFP) from the playoff picture, they responded with their second-highest point total this season to remain in the East division hunt.
Georgia scored touchdowns on all but one possession behind Mason’s most efficient effort as a starter. He completed 11 of his first 13 passes including the TDs, two of which went to Chris Conley for 15 and 4 yards. Jeb Blazevich caught TDs from Mason and backup Brice Ramsey and Malcolm Mitchell caught one each.
Jonathon Rumph caught four passes for a team-high 81 yards.
“Everybody just did their job at a high level,” said Mason, who finished 13 of 16 passing (81.3 percent) for 174 yards. “When you execute in football and don’t beat yourself, you have a really good chance of really doing something special and that’s what we did today.”
Chubb and Sony Michel added TD runs of 18 and 24 yards. Isaiah McKenzie returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score and a punt 59 yards for another TD.
The Bulldogs outgained Kentucky 559-353. Chubb’s yardage came on just 13 carries, leading an effortless day in which the Bulldogs rushed for 305.
That performance is encouraging for a Georgia ground game that gets star tailback Todd Gurley back from suspension next week. Chubb deserves credit for holding things down by rushing for 671 yards and five touchdowns during Gurley’s four-game absence.
“I’m very happy,” Chubb said.
Georgia ended up with its highest output in an SEC game since crushing Florida 75-0 in 1942. The Bulldogs’ dominant effort sent Kentucky (5-5, 2-5) to its fourth straight loss and fifth in a row in the series, not to mention spoiling the home finale for 21 Wildcats seniors.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said it was a “very embarrassing effort by our team, our coaching staff, starting with myself.”
Meanwhile, Georgia celebrated a feel-good performance that was sorely needed after its deflating loss to Florida.
McKenzie provided the boost for the Bulldogs on the opening kickoff by taking Austin MacGinnis’ short kick by the right hash mark at the 10 and bursting through a huge hole on his left before going down the right sideline untouched for the touchdown just as many of the 60,152 were settling into their seats.
So began a stream of easy scores for Georgia, which looked more like the SEC’s highest-scoring offense coming in (40.5 points per game) than the unit held to a season low in points by the Gators.
Ramsey finished 5-for-5 passing for 80 yards and hit Blazevich for an 8-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter off a tip that landed right in the receiver’s hands.
McKenzie’s kickoff return helped set the tone that was followed Mason’s strong arm and Chubb’s hard running as Georgia marched 68 and 91 yards for a 21-0 lead. Mason hit his first four passes for 40 yards, including a 15-yard TD to Conley.
Conley’s smooth over-the-shoulder catch for 39 yards on the next possession set up Chubb’s TD run with little resistance.
“Very pleased with what happened today,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I thought they did a really good job. Starting the game, there was a lot of energy in going up 21-0.”
Kentucky awoke to score 10 unanswered points as Braylon Heard ran for a 3-yard TD and MacGinnis kicked a 38-yard field goal after the Wildcats recovered the fumbled kickoff. Georgia almost coughed it up on the next kickoff, but Jordan Jenkins recovered his miscue and Mason soon converted that chance into his second TD pass, a 23-yarder to Mitchell.
Stanley “Boom” Williams’ 56-yard touchdown run and Patrick Towles’ 1-yard run just before halftime kept the Wildcats within 11. Their next score came late in the game as Towles hit Javess Blue for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
Williams finished with 100 yards rushing on 10 carries for Kentucky.