LEXINGTON, Kentucky — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops didn't mince words in describing the Wildcats' 63-31 loss to No. 17 Georgia on Saturday.
"(It was a) very embarrassing effort by our team, our coaching staff, starting with myself," Stoops said. "It's not acceptable (and I'm) just very disappointed in the way we played, the way we're playing. Like I said, embarrassing is the word that comes to mind."
Kentucky (5-5, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) was outgained 559-353 by the Bulldogs in losing its fourth straight game. The skid leaves the Wildcats scrambling for their sixth win with two games remaining, and those contests at Tennessee next week and Louisville on Nov. 29 won't be easy by any measure.
Especially considering how the Wildcats built another big deficit they couldn't overcome.
Georgia's Isaiah McKenzie set the tone by returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown that spurred the Bulldogs to a 21-0 lead.
"That's just kind of how the day went," Stoops added. "It's hard to have an explanation for that. It started with a terrible kick and some guys not doing their job."
Despite Georgia's fast start, Kentucky fought back and trimmed the margin to 35-24 at halftime. But an interception by Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles to open the second half off a deflected pass led to another score by the Bulldogs, this time a 10-yard strike from quarterback Hutson Matson to Jeb Blazevich.
Georgia went on to outscore the Wildcats 28-7 in the second half, and Stoops wasn't sure if he would watch a replay of the disappointing setback.
"I'm not much on throwing things out, but I may have to throw this one out," he said.
Mason threw a career-best four touchdown passes for Georgia (7-2, 5-2, No. 20 CFP), which remained in the SEC East hunt with Missouri. Nick Chubb rushed for 170 yards and a TD.
Stanley Williams rushed for 100 yards on 10 carries for Kentucky, highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Patrick Towles rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter and threw a 9-yard TD pass to Javess Blue in the fourth, scores that made no dent in Georgia's lead.
"We definitely felt like we had a chance," Williams said. "I came in and just wanted to continue the game plan. We came up just short there at the beginning, and it changed the whole outcome of the game."
Georgia scored touchdowns on 9 of 10 possessions 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. Blazevich caught TDs from Mason and backup Brice Ramsey and Malcolm Mitchell caught one.
Chubb and Sony Michel added TD runs of 18 and 24 yards. McKenzie returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score and a punt 59 yards for another TD.
Mason finished 13 of 16 for 174 yards passing as 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.
Georgia's dominant effort sent Kentucky to its fifth straight loss in the series and spoiled the home finale for 21 Wildcats seniors.
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. He cut back 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.
Mason's strong arm and Chubb's hard running helped Georgia march 68 and 91 yards for a 21-0 lead. The Bulldogs' first TD drive belonged to Mason, who hit all 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 soon after.
It was like that all day for Kentucky, which now must figure out how to stop its slide and become bowl eligible — a goal that's quickly slipping away.
"We have two more games to get that win," senior defensive end Alvin Dupree said, "go to a bowl game and have an opportunity to still have a good season by being over .500."
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