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No. 1 Georgia thumps Mississippi State to clinch SEC East again

Nov 12, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs the ball againstMississippi State Bulldogs safety Collin Duncan (19) during the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Top-ranked Georgia clinched the SEC East Division title with a 45-19 victory over host Mississippi State on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

Stetson Bennett threw for 289 yards on 25-for-37 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions and added a rushing touchdown for Georgia (10-0, 7-0 SEC). It’s Georgia’s fifth SEC East Division crown in six seasons.

Ladd McConkey had five catches for 71 yards and a score, as well as a 70-yard touchdown run, while Brock Bowers had five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Darnell Washington had five catches for 60 yards and a score.

In the SEC title game, Georgia will face No. 7 LSU (8-2, 6-1), which clinched the West Division title earlier in the day, in Atlanta on Dec. 3.

Will Rogers went 29-for-51 passing for 261 yards and a touchdown, while Rufus Harvey had six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown for Mississippi State (6-3, 3-4).

With Georgia leading 17-12 entering the second half, McConkey took a pitch and raced 70 yards for a 24-12 lead on the second play of the third quarter.

Bennett’s 17-yard touchdown pass to McConkey pushed the lead to 31-12 with 9:19 left in the third, before Rogers’ 6-yard scoring strike to Harvey trimmed the lead to 31-19 with 5:17 left in the period.

Bennett’s 2-yard scoring toss to Washington extended the lead to 38-19 with 14:55 left in the game, and Kendall Milton’s 34-yard touchdown run capped the scoring with 2:04 left.

Bennett’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Bowers capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive that gave Georgia a 7-0 lead with 9:50 left in the first quarter.

Georgia pushed its lead to 10-0 on Jack Podlesny’s 28-yard field goal with 11:57 left in the first half.

Massimo Biscardi’s 25-yard field goal made it 10-3 with 5:01 to go in the second quarter, but Bennett’s 4-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 17-3 with 2:29 left in the half.

After Biscardi’s 36-yard field goal made it 17-6 with 51 seconds left in the second quarter, Georgia was forced to punt with 19 seconds left in the half. Zavion Thomas fielded the punt on a bounce and raced down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown to make it 17-12 with three seconds left in the half after a failed two-point conversion.

–Field Level Media