STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Stetson Bennett threw for three touchdowns and No. 1 Georgia overcame a first-half surge by Mississippi State for a 45-19 victory on Saturday night.
With the victory, the East Division champion Bulldogs secured a spot in the SEC Championship game. Georgia will face SEC West champ LSU in Atlanta on Dec. 3
It was a dominating effort by the Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0 SEC, No. 1 CFP), who put up 468 yards of offense. Bennett led the way, going 25 for 37 for 289 yards with two interceptions. Georgia also rushed for 179 yards.
MSU (6-4, 3-4) struggled to consistently produce against Georgia on the offensive side. Will Rogers went 29 for 51 and threw for 263 yards and a touchdown. Mississippi State rushed for just 47 yards on 15 carries. Rufus Harvey led MSU with six catches for 66 yards and a score.
Georgia turned the football over twice on interceptions by Bennett and had another near-turnover in the red zone in the first half when a fumble was nullified after the play was blown dead.
Despite those turnovers, UGA dominated and used a big second half by receiver Ladd McConkey, who ran 70 yards for a touchdown and finished with five catches for 71 yards and another score.
McConkey’s first TD on a 70-yard run started off the second half after Mississippi State had closed within 17-12 at the half.
UGA had a 17-3 lead in the second quarter before MSU cut its deficit on a 66-yard punt return by Zavion Thomas in the final seconds of the period.
Georgia gave away a lot of momentum right before the half with a punt return touchdown that cut its lead to 17-12, but the visiting Bulldogs quickly scored in the third quarter and regained control.
Mississippi State threw up another poor offensive performance and lost for the third time in four games.
With another win and the SEC East locked up, Georgia will stay at No. 1 this week.
Mississippi State will host East Tennessee State on Saturday.
Georgia will travel to Kentucky on Saturday.