ATHENS, Ga. – – Georgia is hardly considered the best team in the nation, struggling to knock out Kent State.
The #1 Bulldogs eventually prevailed, holding on to a 39-22 win on Saturday, but two weeks running at the top of the leaderboard could be in jeopardy.
Brock Bowers scored two more touchdowns and Georgia survived a sloppy performance and surprisingly gritty effort from Golden Flashing.
Bulldogs (4-0) flipped it three times, struggling in the red zone, burned on a fake game and gave up some big plays against Kent State (1-3) in their worst performance of the season.
Is it bad enough to knock Georgia off the top of the charts? Sunday check again.
“We don’t care too much about rankings,” defensive midfielder Nazir stacking house speak. “We’re focused on us. It’s always the ‘us’ thing. We’re always focused on our growth as a team, no matter where we are in the standings.”
Kent State had a chance to make it a one point game with less than 13 minutes left Marquez Cooper powered from number 1 to a 12-play, 75-yard limit. But the two-point conversion failed, giving the Bulldogs a 32-22 lead.
Georgia then completed the Golden Flash, driving 75 yards for Kendall MiltonThe fourth minute and the goal 1 yard away with 5 and a half minutes left will take place.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart insists he is not satisfied with his team’s performance. He pointed out that Bulldogs never have to punt, block a shot for safety and ended up with a total of 529-281 yards.
But Georgia has a lot to clean up.
“Fake games are like a revenue stream,” Smart said. “When you have four spins, you have such a game.”
Luckily for the Bulldogs, they have Bowers.
Coming up with a three-touch performance against South Carolina, he take it to the final area in the game’s second run with a dazzling 75-yard run.
In motion for a handshake, the tight finish of the second year found a big hole around the right and didn’t stop running, turning his impressive speed down the byline in front of the Georgia bench.
Bowers also scored on a 2-yard pitch, making it three touchdowns on three attempts this season for a tight finish of the sophomore year.
Or maybe he should be listed as running backwards.
“I guess I’m a tight finisher,” Bowers said. “But I just line up wherever that tells me.”
Bowers has cemented his credentials as one of the nation’s most dynamic offensive players.
“He’s a weapon,” Smart said. “He can line up and play anywhere.”
But Bowers is the exception to Bulldogs on this day.
Ladd McConkey lost a pair in a fumble, one in a comeback when he should probably have called for a fair catch, another after being stripped for catching a pass in Kent State territory.
Stetson Bennett made his first intercept of the season, although he scored in a 1-yard dive, sending the ball over the line while falling back with eight seconds left in the first half to put the Bulldogs up 26 -13.
Georgia settles for three yard goals by Jack Podlesny after driving inside Kent State’s 20-yard driveway, which allows the Yellow Flashes to hang around.
“It’s a really good team,” Smart said. “They proved it today.”
Kent State has faced a team currently ranked in the AP Top 25 for the third time in its first four games, having lost to 18th Washington and 6th Oklahoma.
This is their toughest test yet. But the Golden Flash really made things difficult for the Bulldogs, the 44th place favorite 1/2 point.
“I’m really pleased with the way our kids have fought,” said Kent State coach Sean Lewis. “We have a really talented football club that went through terrible adversities and conflicts in September. They accepted it and got better because of it.”
Kent State became the first team all season to score a head-to-head goal against the Georgia first team defense when Devontez Walker pulled in a short pass from Collin Schlee along the margins and take it 56 yards to the end zone.
Kent State: Golden Flashing has a lot more to build on as they prepare to face larger teams. Most notably, they together scored goals at 70 and 75 yards against a defense that only allowed 10 points in the first three games.
Georgia: The Bulldogs played like a team that gave way too much attention to all the accolades after their first three games. It’s just something Smart worries about, but it gives him a lot to do when his team returns to the training ground.
If Associated Press voters follow the same pattern they did with Alabama, Georgia is likely to be knocked out of the top spot. The Crimson Tide started the season at No. 1 but swapped places with Georgia after a surprisingly tough 20-19 win over Texas two weeks ago. Alabama hosted Vanderbilt late on Saturday.
Kent State: After completing the heavy part of the schedule, Golden Flashing will open the Central American Conference play by hosting Ohio next Saturday.
Georgia: Headed to Missouri for the Southeast’s conference game for the second time in a Saturday night clash.