ATHENS, Ga. — Maxwell Smith spent much of the second half flat on his back staring at the overcast sky above Sanford Stadium.
The Georgia defense made sure of that, sacking the Kentucky quarterback four times, all in the second half of their win over the Cats.
UK's offensive line was unable to stop the barrage.
"They got their ends geared up," offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said. "They just turned their outside guys loose and their outside guys caused problems for us."
It was a part of a large, painful learning curve for Smith, who sprained his right shoulder late in the fourth quarter when Georgia's Alec Ogletree put him on the ground.
"I hit him, it didn't hurt, but then he kind of drilled me into the ground and that really hurt a lot," said Smith, who said he felt "something" in his shoulder and knew he wouldn't be able to throw after that.
Despite living the second half on the run, the true freshman impressed his coaches with his performance, which included going 17-for-34 for 133 yards and one touchdown pass to Tyler Robinson.
"When they got the pass rush going there in the second half, it would have been easy for him to fold his tent a little bit," Sanders said. "But the guy stayed in there, he kept competing and kept trying to make throws."
Coach Joker Phillips said Smith is "going to be a really good quarterback, like guys we've had around here in the past. He's going to be a guy that gives us a chance to be successful offensively."
For the third time this season, UK senior linebacker Danny Trevathan tied his career high with 17 tackles against Georgia, including three for losses.
His big day also included two forced fumbles and a quarterback sack.
"I was just trying to play my game," said Trevathan, who said he thought the defense played one of its best games of the season. "I really wanted this game bad. A lot of guys on this team did."
Phillips said he's never surprised by what Trevathan does on the field.
"The guy plays with a lot of emotion; it gives him a chance to make plays for us," Phillips said. "He's one of the best tacklers I've ever been around. ... He's just a phenomenal player."
But Trevathan wasn't satisfied with his big day.
He wanted a win more.
"It hurts, man," he said. "It hurts, but what hurts only makes you better. It's going to make me work even harder."
Young defenders shine
Despite playing without injured starters Martavius Neloms and Ridge Wilson, UK's defense was able to hold Georgia to its fewest points of the season.
Phillips was especially pleased with young defensive players like Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Miles Simpson, Ashely Lowery and Eric Dixon. They were part of a defensive group that held UGA to 317 yards of offense, its second-lowest total this season.
"That was one of the encouraging things we saw out there was true freshmen making plays, young guys making plays," Phillips said. "All it does is help those young kids' confidence."
Phillips also was pleased with the play of elder defenders like Winston Guy (four tackles, one fumble recovery) and Ronnie Sneed (four tackles), who were questionable after being injured much of the week.
"They stepped up and made plays and didn't get pushed around," Phillips said of his defense. "You saw (Georgia) push a lot of people around this year. They pushed a good team around last week. You can't say they pushed this football team around."
■ Defensive lineman Christian Coleman hyperextended his elbow and will be evaluated.
■ Quarterback Maxwell Smith has a sprained shoulder.
■ Center Matt Smith did not re-enter the game after going out injured in the first half. Phillips said he's fine; UK just opted to go with senior Jake Lanefski. "Jake was playing well for us," Phillips said.