Auburn welcomes their toughest opponent of the season thus far in the Georgia Bulldogs. With playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Tigers enter what we’ll consider murderers row on the toughest lineup college football has to offer. The game was never too far out of reach for the home team until the fourth quarter. Georgia’s run game exploded as the Bulldogs flexed their talent to further demonstrate the difference between the second and third position in the AP-Poll.
1st Quarter: Auburn -3 | Georgia – 3
The intensity both teams came out with made the start of action feel like the final two minutes of a fourth quarter.
The Bo Nix we saw last week at LSU came out on Auburn’s first drive of the 126th rendition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Fast paced, scrabbling out of the pocket, and gutsy play calling including two fourth down conversions make for a promising start. The drive totaled 17 plays and a fumble but still resulted in points on the board to give the Tigers the 3-0 lead.
The Auburn defense is playing like their second half self, and I don’t think anyone would have expected for the visiting Bulldogs to be held to a single field goal.
End of Half: Auburn - 3 | Georgia - 17
The second quarter got off to an unexpected start after Smoke Monday popped Stetson Bennett on a quarterback run resulting in targeting and disqualification from the rest of todays game. Monday is the third Auburn player this season called for Targeting. One play later, Zamir White capped a 70-yard drive with a one yard run up the middle to give Georgia the lead.
The Auburn offense coming out their next drive could only muster five plays before giving the ball back to Bennett for another offensive charge.
It was Ladd McConkey on a 45-yard reception that silenced the home crowd before the touchdown from Adonai Mitchell extended the Bulldog lead. Given how poorly the Auburn defense plays in the first half, limiting Georgia’s scoring to under 20 points is considered a win. The comeback kids seem most fitting for the 2021 Auburn Tigers anyways.
The Auburn defense was the spark before Eku Leota ignited the flame sacking Bennett on third and short for a loss of 11-yards. After the punt, Bo Nix lead his offense 71-yards before a decisive fourth and goal was missed on the incomplete pass to Ze’vian Capers. It was the right call against arguably the best team in the country. Points or no points, Auburn has come play and Kirby Smart has to feel uncomfortable.
3rd Quarter: Auburn - 10 | Georgia - 24
Being down 14 points never felt so good as an Auburn fan. Georgia on their opening drive of the second half went for nine consecutive runs for 42-yards before are rare, missed field goal from one of the best kickers in CFB.
Bo Nix was set to march down the field the field on his next drive. After reaching the UGA 40, the drive stalled out on a dropped pass to Demetris Robertson on 4th & 8. The dropped pass from Robertson was his fourth of the day and would ultimately challenge Tiger momentum the rest of the game.
The remainder of the quarter was a shootout between both teams starting with Stetson Bennett and the Georgia offense taking advantage of another Auburn mistake on a 60-yard bomb to Ladd McConkey for the second time of the afternoon.
Demetris Robertson bounced back nicely on a 29-yard reception on over his defender and Tank Bigsby finished the drive on a 6-yard touchdown run. This marked the first touchdown of the day for Auburn despite totaling over 250-yards.
FINAL: Auburn - 10 | Georgia - 34
The beginning of the fourth quarter saw the end of Georgia’s 10th drive result in only three points after another defensive hold. The Bulldogs came out at the half running the ball with new enthusiasm and opened up the Tiger defense. By the end of the game, the Georgia offense would end up totaling 164-yards on the ground in the second half alone.
Auburn by the final whistle totaled 318-yards including 272 in the air from the combination of Bo Nix and TJ Finley who entered the game with :38 seconds to go. There will be no playoff run for the Tigers in 2021-22, but Bryan Harsin has my vote moving forward and has really shown how well he can lead a group of young men in the nation’s toughest conference.
Auburn will travel to Fayetteville next week for an 11 A.M. kickoff on CBS.