Big plays and big mistakes kept No. 11 Georgia headed for a big postseason game.
Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) kept alive its hopes for the SEC East title while denying Kentucky (5-3, 2-3) the victory it needed to qualify for its first bowl game in five years.
The last of the big mistakes came as Kentucky's Seth Hanson lined up for a 49-yard field goal with 10 seconds left. Jimmy Haley's snap went awry and holder Matt Mumme couldn't place the ball. Mumme, a reserve quarterback, tried to run but was tackled as time ran out.
"We treat each game like it's the Super Bowl," said Carter, who ran for a touchdown and passed for two. "From this point on, we want to be 10-1. We can play like this every weekend if we just put our minds to it."
"I'd say you saw the two best quarterbacks in the country today," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said. "Quincy Carter can run, pass and he makes a lot of good decisions. I told Mumme, I think Couch would be a great pro player."
Kentucky coach Hal Mumme got another 300-yard effort from Couch, who was 34-of-46 for 326 yards and two touchdowns. Carter was 10-of-14 for 147 yards and ran for 114 yards.
| Georgia QB Quincy Carter did the job in the air and on the ground, plling away for a 49-yard first-half TD run. (AP) |
Georgia, leading 28-26, gave Kentucky a final chance when Ronnie Bradley's fumble was recovered by Dennis Johnson at the Wildcats 24 with two minutes left.
With only one timeout left, Couch moved the Wildcats to the Georgia 33 where Hanson, who had earlier made a career-best 42-yard field goal, lined up for the pivotal last play. Hanson kicked a last-second field goal last week as Kentucky upset LSU 39-36.
"It was a typical day at the SEC office," Mumme said. "Last week we made the field goal and this week we didn't."
The Bulldogs defense, which had given up an average of 11.7 points per game coming in, held Kentucky scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Carter, meanwhile, led four scoring drives in the second and third quarters. Carter's 34-yard pass to split end Tony Small gave Georgia its first lead of the game at 21-17 on the first possession of the third quarter.
After Hanson's 42-yarder made it 21-20, Georgia extended the lead to 28-20 on Carter's 8-yard throw to tight end Jermain Wiggins midway through the third quarter.
Kentucky responded with a 73-yard drive that featured eight consecutive running plays -- a rarity in Mumme's pass-oriented offense. When Derek Homer burst through right guard for a 1-yard touchdown with 2:58 left in the third quarter, Kentucky was within 28-26.
A ninth consecutive run -- by Homer on the 2-point conversion attempt -- was stopped and the Bulldogs kept the lead.
When Kentucky got the ball back, Couch moved the Wildcats to the Georgia 28, but safety Kirby Smart stepped in front of a ball intended for wide receiver Garry Davis, ending the Kentucky drive.
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