ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw four first-half touchdown passes before hurting his left knee and missing the second half of his final home game as Georgia beat Kentucky 59-17 on Saturday night.
Todd Gurley ran for 77 yards and had five catches for 90 yards, including touchdown receptions for 16 and 24 yards, for Georgia (7-4, 5-3 Southeastern Conference).
Murray, already favoring the left knee, left the game after he was hit by defensive end Za’Darius Smith following a pass that was intercepted by Khalid Henderson with 2:17 remaining in the half.
Murray was unable to put pressure on his left leg as he was helped off the field and taken to the Georgia locker room. Georgia announced Murray was taken to an Athens hospital to have a MRI on the knee.
Hutson Mason, who replaced Murray, threw and ran for touchdowns.
Kentucky (2-8, 0-7) lost its 15th straight SEC game. The Wildcats must beat Tennessee next week to avoid their second straight 0-8 finish in the conference.
On a night he and other Georgia seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony, Murray completed 18 of 23 passes for 183 yards with four touchdowns, including two to tight end Arthur Lynch, and one interception.
Murray, who has the most yards passing and TD passes in SEC history and has not missed a start in 52 career games, began limping in the second quarter following a 28-yard run.
Mason threw the 24-yard touchdown pass to Gurley with only 12 seconds remaining in the half. Mason, a junior who could replace Murray as Georgia’s starter in 2014, completed 13 of 19 passes for 189 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown run.
Murray also holds SEC records for career completions and total offense. He added another milestone as he easily gained the 108 yards passing he needed to become the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in four seasons. Hawaii’s Timmy Chang (2000, 2002-04) and Boise State’s Kellen Moore (2008-11) are the only other quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 yards in four seasons.
There was no immediate report on the status of Kentucky starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow, who left the game in the first quarter with an apparent injury and did not return after attempting only one pass.
Maxwell Smith replaced Whitlow and completed 10 of 16 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown.
Georgia, coming off a last-minute 43-38 loss at Auburn in which Murray led a comeback from a 37-17 fourth-quarter deficit, showed early it had shifted its focus to Kentucky. Gurley’s 44-yard gain on a screen pass from Murray was the big gain in a quick three-play touchdown drive on the Bulldogs’ first possession.
Murray threw touchdown passes to Rhett McGowan, Gurley and Lynch for a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Kentucky finally answered with Dyshawn Mobley’s 69-yard touchdown run late in the opening quarter, but the Wildcats’ only other first-half points came on Joe Mansour’s 24-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Smith threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Javess Blue with 3:54 remaining in the game.
Despite the long run by Mobley, Kentucky netted only 62 yards rushing. Jojo Kemp had eight carries for five yards <0x2014> all in the first half.
The Bulldogs had 602 total yards and set a season scoring high as Mason, J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas ran for third-quarter touchdowns.
Kentucky lost three of its six fumbles. Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons recovered two fumbles. Defensive end Garrison Smith forced two fumbles.
McGowan had seven catches for 90 yards.