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The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry Preview: A History Lesson

The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry kicks off this weekend between Auburn and Georgia. The two teams have played 127 times since 1892. Georgia leads the all-time series 63-56-8, including each of the last six games. Before we preview this week’s game and provide a short history lesson for Auburn coach Hugh Freeze, we wanted to look back at three of the most iconic moments from recent history. For our memories this week, we will focus on games that have taken place at Auburn’s Jordan Hare Stadium. The stadium has seen iconic games between the teams. So, let’s climb through the bushes and take a trip down memory lane.

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Memory #1: UGA Takes a Bite Out of Auburn

⏳ November 16, 1996
📍 Jordan Hare Stadium
🏈 Georgia 56, Auburn 49

Robert Baker caught a touchdown in the front right corner of the end zone. Baker dropped the ball and his momentum carried him out of bounds toward an unsuspecting Uga, the Georgia mascot. Charles Seiler, Uga’s handler, recalled how lucky Baker was that day in a 2016 interview with  The Red and Black. “[Baker] kind of made a beeline for Uga, who had his back turned to him originally,” Seiler said. “It was a big, loud noise since he scored. It startled him…. If Uga hadn’t landed, he would have grabbed Baker right in the crotch, which would have been painful.” The incident has long overshadowed Georgia coming back from a 28-7 deficit to defeat the Tigers in four overtimes. The iconic image can be found in stores, restaurants throughout Athens, and in UGA fan caves everywhere.

Memory #2: The Prayer at Jordan Hare

⏳ November 16, 2013
📍 Jordan Hare Stadium
🏈 Auburn 43, Georgia 38

While many Georgia fans may try to forget about this one, the ending was too good to ignore. Aaron Murray helped lead Georgia back from a 27-7 deficit with three fourth quarter touchdowns to put the Bulldogs ahead for seemingly good. It just wasn’t meant to be. The Tigers faced 4th and 18 from their own 23-yard line with just 36 seconds left in the game.

Nick Marshall dropped back to pass and fired a ball deep down the center of the field. The ball would bounce through two Georgia players’ hands to Ricardo Louis who would take the pass 73 yards for the winning score. Louis told reporters after the game he was just as shocked as Georgia fans about the catch. “I couldn’t believe it,” Louis said. “It just landed right into my hands. I saw it once it got over my shoulder. It got tipped, I lost track of it … but when I looked over my shoulders, it was right there.”


Memory #3: Georgia Kicks the “Dog Crap” Out of Auburn

⏳ November 11, 2017, and December 2, 2017
📍 Jordan Hare Stadium  and Atlanta Georgia
🏈 Auburn 40, Georgia 17 and Georgia 28, Auburn 7 (SEC Championship)

Georgia was riding high in Kirby Smart’s second year. They were ranked #2 in the country and traveled to Auburn to face the #10-ranked Auburn. It was a day that Smart and many on the 2017 team wanted to put out their minds as Auburn dominated the Bulldogs on offense and defense. Auburn tailback Kerryon Johnson ran all over Georgia for 167 yards on the day and added salt to the wound with a 55-yard reception from Jarrett Stidham. Freshman Jake Fromm threw for just 167 yards and the vaunted Georgia tailbacks (Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift) were held to 47 yards. After the win, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told an on-field reporter, “We whipped the dog crap out of them”—a statement he would soon regret.

Smart and Georgia had the last laugh against Malzhan and the Tigers three weeks later. Auburn scored on their first drive of the game and then was shut for the final three and a half quarters. After tearing up Georgia on The Plains, Johnson was held to 44 yards rushing in Atlanta. Swift would put the icing on the cake with a 64-yard touchdown run to put Georgia up 28-7 and send them to Smart’s first SEC Championship and first trip to the College Football Playoff. Malzahn was left only to compliment Georgia after the game. “They flipped the script on us from the last game,” Malzahn said in the postgame press conference. “They just physically whipped us up front.”

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: 2023 Preview

📍 Jordan Hare
⏰ 3:30 p.m.

Saturday’s game will be another opportunity for both teams to make history in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Georgia is riding a six-game winning streak and has dominated. Auburn has scored at most 14 points and has lost by an average of 18.7 points a game during the losing streak. Speaking of history, Freeze will coach his first game in the rivalry on Saturday and baffled the media with some of his comments regarding Smart and Georgia. Freeze attempted to compare his rebuild at Auburn with Smart’s at Georgia. He told reporters that it took Smart three or four years for Georgia to play in its first national championship. He then scoffed at a reporter when he was told it only took Smart two years, claiming: “His second year…I don’t know that that’s accurate…” No doubt he will find out come Saturday.

Freeze is in the middle of a total rebuild on The Plains. He is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, but his quarterbacks have struggled. Three Auburn quarterbacks threw for a combined 56 yards in last week’s loss to Texas A&M. Dating back to last season, Auburn quarterbacks have failed to throw for over 100 yards in five straight games versus Power Five opponents. Contrast that with Carson Beck, whose 1,184 passing yards through four games are the third most by a Georgia quarterback since 2000. Beck and the offense showed big-play ability last week against UAB. They had pass plays of 50, 41, 33, and 26 yards and the offense was five for five on scoring TD’s in the Red Zone.

Prediction: Georgia 41, Auburn 10


The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
Photo courtesy:  Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


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