On Saturday night, the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs competed in the 123rd edition of the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.” It was also a rematch of last season’s SEC Championship Game. Despite Auburn playing well for most of the first half, the Tigers fell to the Bulldogs 27-10. Auburn has now lost six consecutive games in Athens with the last win coming in 2005. The loss drops Auburn to 6-4 on the season, and a likely 7-5 finish to the season with games against Liberty and Alabama still on the schedule.
Strong First Half
Auburn came out in the first half knowing if they were going to be successful on offense against Georgia, it would have to be behind the right arm of Jarrett Stidham. Stidham opened the game 11 out of 12 and finished the first half 12-of-17 with 108 yards passing. JaTarvious Whitlow even added to the passing game by way of a trick play with a nine yard touchdown pass to tight end John Shenker at the 4:28 mark in the first quarter.
The Auburn defense would bend but not break for the first quarter and a half with two huge red zone stops, holding the Georgia offense to two Rodrigo Blakenship field goals. Georgia would go three for four in the red zone, but only scoring a touchdown once the entire night. Then the game changed . . .
Georgia Takes Momentum
The Bulldogs would get their first touchdown of the night on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Tyler Simmons to go up 13-10 with 2:47 remaining until half. All Auburn needed to do was move the ball enough to chew up some clock, and go into half trailing 13-10. Auburn instead went three and out, and gave the ball back to Georgia with 2:00 left at their own 31. Georgia moved into Auburn territory and faced a fourth down at the Auburn 38 with 29 seconds left in the quarter. Instead of a field goal, Georgia went for it and Fromm hit Terry Godwin for a 38-yard touchdown pass to go up 20-10 at halftime. Auburn could have prevented this though. On third down, Stidham missed a wide open Whitlow on a screen pass for what would have been an easy first down.
Georgia Dominated Second Half
Auburn would not score again in the game. Actually, they never got close to scoring again. With Auburn being a one dimensional offense with basically no running game, Georgia had an easy time defending the Tigers. Auburn had five possessions in the second half, and they resulted in five punts and one turnover on downs.
Georgia put the game out of reach early in the fourth with a 77-yard touchdown run by D’Andre Swift with 13:53 remaining. Just like the week before against Texas A&M, Auburn did not have an answer for the run game. Georgia ran for a total of 303 yards, and were led by Swift with 186. Elijah Holyfield added in 93 yards as well.
Third downs were huge in the game as well. Georgia went 8-for-14, while Auburn went 3-for-11. The Tigers struggled with third and long situations due to not being able to establish any kind of running game. The Tigers totaled 102 yards on the ground and were led by Shaun Shivers with 43 yards on only four carries. Leading rusher JaTarvoius Whitlow had just 26 yards on nine carries. In the passing game, Stidham only threw for 55 yards in the second half. Stidham finished the game going 24-for-36 for 163 yards and no touchdowns.
Ryan Davis Makes History
For Auburn as a team, it was a bad night, but wide receiver, Ryan Davis had a historic night. Coming into the game, Davis only needed two catches to become Auburn’s all-time receptions leader. On Auburn’s second possession at the 5:20 mark in the first quarter, Davis caught a nine yard pass from Courtney Taylor. Davis finished the game with 13 catches and 72 yards on the night.
Auburn will head back home and host Liberty in the final home game of the season. Then, the Tigers will head to Tuscaloosa for their annual match-up with the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.
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