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UGA survives UK scare

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- On a day where Florida handed Georgia one big result, the Bulldogs struggled to capture one of their own.

Malcolm Mitchell was one of two UGA players to top 100 receiving yards in Saturday's victory at Kentucky.

In the end, Aaron Murray helped ensure they did.

With Murray throwing four touchdowns and topping 400 passing yards for the first time in his UGA career, Georgia survived a scare from four-touchdown underdog Kentucky. The 29-24 victory at Commonwealth Stadium wasn't assured until the final play.

"I'm pleased with our team to do what they had to do to win the ballgame," UGA coach Mark Richt said. "A lot of big plays had to be made. We had to play good down the stretch in order to win it. Very thankful and pleased with the victory."

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While the performance lacked style points for Georgia, it was enough to keep its SEC title hopes alive for at least another week.

The Gators' 44-11 victory over South Carolina earlier Saturday handed the Bulldogs control of their own destiny again in the SEC East despite UGA's defeat two weeks ago. So if Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) is able to beat third-ranked Florida (7-0, 6-0) on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., the Bulldogs would seize first place in the SEC East.

Playing without linebacker Jarvis Jones, who sat with an ankle injury, Georgia's defense endured some of its same first-half struggles, especially against the run. Kentucky (1-7, 0-5) topped 200 rushing yards, scoring early to grab a first-half lead and late to stay within reach in the final moments.

Lacking much success on the ground with its offense, Georgia wound up leaning heavily on Murray and his wide receivers. Murray finished with 427 yards on 30-of-38 passing, a career-high in completions as well. Tavarres King (188 yards) and Malcolm Mitchell (103 yards) each caught nine passes and went over the 100-yard receiving mark for the night.

“We definitely didn’t play, I think, as well as we wanted to in all facets of the game," Murray said, "but it’s tough to go on the road in the SEC. South Carolina came here three or four weeks ago, and they had a tough time as well. I don’t care who you play. On the road, SEC games are very difficult. We’re just happy to get out of here with a W.”

With Georgia trailing 17-16, Murray hit Chris Conley for a 22-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead. He later found Arthur Lynch with a third-down touchdown pass of 10 yards to push the lead to 29-17 with 7:51 to play.

Kentucky wouldn't give in, however, driving for a touchdown with 3:59 remaining to cut the lead to 29-24.

The Wildcats subsequently tried an onsides kick that was recovered by Connor Norman, allowing the Bulldogs to work the clock down until the final seconds, which wasn't enough time for UK to manage a final threat as the clock expired.

"I don't live in 'Almost,'" UK coach Joker Phillips said. "At the end of the year, you don't say, 'We almost won.' The records will say wins and losses. We come out here to try to win. We don't come out here to try to almost win."

Meanwhile, from Georgia's perspective, it was an evening summed up by Mitchell as follows: "Did we do our job well? I don't know, but we won."

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