ATLANTA — – Kendall Milton ran for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns and No. 1 Georgia held off Georgia Tech 31-23 on Saturday night to cap its third consecutive undefeated regular season with its sixth straight victory in the state rivalry.
Georgia (12-0, No. 1 College Football Playoff) extended its school-record winning streak to 29 games. The Bulldogs have won 19 of the last 22 against Georgia Tech (6-6), but this was more competitive than most recent battles for the Governor’s Cup Trophy.
Quarterback Haynes King had two touchdown runs and Jamal Haynes also ran for a score. Eric Singleton Jr. had four catches for 96 yards as the Yellow Jackets gained 363 yards, including 205 on the ground.
King’s 5-yard scoring run with 3:46 remaining cut Georgia’s lead to 31-23. Georgia recovered an onside kick and relied on its running game, led by Milton and Daijun Edwards, to run out the clock. Milton’s rushing total set a season high for a Georgia running back.
Georgia protected its hopes of becoming the first team to win three straight national championships in The Associated Press poll era. The Bulldogs will play No. 8 Alabama in next week’s Southeastern Conference Championship game in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech led 7-0 in the first quarter and 10-7 in the second before the Bulldogs answered with 24 consecutive points to lead 31-13 late in the third.
Georgia was missing three of its top five receivers and a starting offensive lineman. Tight end Brock Bowers (ankle) and wide receivers Ladd McConkey (ankle) and Rara Thomas (foot sprain) did not play. Right guard Tate Ratledge (knee) also was held out.
The Bulldogs’ depleted offense hurt itself with a turnover on its first snap. Edwards fumbled when hit by linebacker Kyle Efford. Jamon Dumas-Johnson recovered for the Yellow Jackets at the Georgia 37. Following King’s 28-yard pass to Brett Seither, King’s 9-yard scoring run gave Georgia Tech a 7-0 lead.
Georgia: The Bulldogs compiled 437 yards despite missing some of their top receivers and committing two turnovers, including fourth-quarter interception thrown by Carson Beck from the Georgia Tech 6. The ball, intended for Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, was picked off by K.J. Wallace.
Georgia Tech: Offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, the former Georgia’s offensive quality control assistant for quarterbacks, had an impressive plan. The Yellow Jackets were effective in mixing runs by King, Dontae Smith and Jamal Haynes with passes to speedy wide receiver Eric Singleton.
Georgia’s lead in The AP Top 25 poll could be smaller as it tries to extend its streak of 23 consecutive weeks atop the poll, the longest streak in SEC history. The Bulldogs also will be looking to retain their No. 1 spot in the CFP.
Georgia: Faces No. 8 Alabama in the SEC championship game next Saturday in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech: Awaits its first bowl invitation since 2018.