Auburn takes down #1 Georgia 40-17, but that should not be much of a surprise for those who follow the Auburn Tigers. Every game this year they have displayed phases where they were great. Their biggest problem has been themselves tonight they put it all together with an acute aim at the #1 target in the country the Georgia Bulldogs. Head Coach Kirby Smart said it best “they out physicaled us on the offensive line and the defensive line they have a really good running back he runs patient, and he burst it in there then the penalties killed us.” They committed 7-75 yards at some of the most unoptimistic times. They were personal fouls that extended drives and gave them the ball back credit Auburn they took advantage.
Freshman sensation Jake Fromm started the game hot completing 3-3 passes for 56 yards as he led the Bulldogs down to score on the games opening drive. They ran 8 plays that covered 70 yards. Nick Chubb took the one-yard plunge into the end zone. One would think being ranked #1 in the country, and playing in the deep souths oldest rivalry (121 meeting) would make the young quarterback a little jittery. Not this guy he plays as if though he belongs. Auburn answered with a 54-yard field goal.
Jeff Holland welcomed State Fromm to Jordan Hare stadium by planting him deep into the turf for a 10-yard sack for a loss. Auburn went into its bag of tricks by running a reverse pass to QB Jarrett Stidham who lined up out wide. It looked good, but it was unsuccessful.
Auburn moved the ball well but shot themselves in the foot by false starting on the 15-yard line which caused them to settle for another field goal. The Bulldogs had to count that as a win. Anytime you can put up six points to their three it is in your favor. Mecole Hardman excited the crowd with a 47-yard kickoff return to end the first quarter.
As with all good teams sometimes you get the lucky bounce, the Auburn defense held them at midfield. The punt bounced at the 15-yard line and rolled dead at the 9-yard line. Something brought the Tigers to life, and Georgia started to play undisciplined picking up a 15-yard personal foul for a late hit out of bounds. Again the Bulldogs played bend but don’t break defense allowing Auburn penetration to the 12-yard line before bringing the 78-yard drive to a halt forcing another field goal. Auburn had its first lead of the game 9-7. It took Auburn three swings, but they finally got it out of the park.
Riley Ridley dropped a wide open bomb the play was perfectly executed and Fromm put it on the money, but his hands just didn’t work right. Then the Tigers defense finished the drive off with a sack to force the ball over on downs. Auburn was feeling the momentum.
Georgia picked up another penalty, kick catch interference they got too close to the returner. They wrapped anther gift by running into the kicker which awarded Auburn a new set of downs. Jarrett Stidham made the DAWGS pay on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton that caused the crowd to roar. Finally, they scored a touchdown after threatening three times. Fromm started hot but went cold he completed his fourth pass of the game with 2:27 remaining in the second quarter. It was a beautiful strike to Javon Wims who waited until the last second to snap the 30-yard pass out of thin air.
Georgia ended the half by missing wide right on a 42-yard field goal attempt. The underdogs or shall I say undercats exited the field with the first-half momentum. They had sacked Fromm three times compiled 201 yards to the Bulldogs 105 total yards and had them playing uncharacteristically undisciplined football committing crucial penalties for 55 yards. The Tigers had the #1 team in the country on the rocks 16-7.
Auburn received the ball to start the third quarter. The Georgia defense did a good job by shutting them down early. Disaster struck on the punt Malkom Parris called for a fair catch but misjudged the ball it exploded. Again Stidham made them pay this time with his legs on a keeper off the right side for a 7-yard touchdown run. The score was 23-7, TigerNation could smell the aroma of an upset.
D Russell nailed Fromm from the blindside the ball went up, and he went down, but the Dawgs maintained possession. Though they did not recover the ball, it was a significant play because it reestablished their physical dominance for the second half.
Out of frustration, Georgia committed another crucial personal foul penalty this time it was running back Sony Michel gifting Auburn better field position. That was all they needed Ryan Davis caught a little screen pass and scampered 32 yards for the touchdown each mistake Auburn made them pay. It was an upset in the making 30-7 with full momentum to the joy of TigerNation. Georgia could not get out of their own way. They added another field goal with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Kirby Smart On why the undisciplined mistakes came in this game specifically…
“I can’t put a finger on it. Honestly, we preach it hard. It’s part of our program. It’s part of what we do every day – making sure every kid understands the discipline you have to play with. When you lose that discipline you get what you had here tonight, and that’s undisciplined foolish penalties. When you play a good team you can’t get away with that. You can’t give them an extra drive. It exposes you when you have undisciplined penalties because you’re playing longer, you’re getting less chances to run the ball and wear them down. We didn’t tackle really well tonight either.”
Auburn apparently saw something vulnerable in the Dawgs defense, or they wanted to slow down their pursuit they ran a third reverse Eli Stove took this one for 30 yards early in the fourth quarter.
The drive stalled on a fumbled snap by Stidham but Daniel Carlson drilled the 37-yard field goal to make the score 33-10. The drive was devastating to the DAWGS it took 6:59 off the clock. It lasted 13 plays and covered 77 yards. That is big boy football.
Auburn’s last score came on a 55-yard touchdown by Kerryon Johnson as he was escorted into the end zone by his teammates down the sideline shielding defenders.
The Tigers put together a well-balanced attack 237 yards rushing and 251 yards passing. Johnson carried the ball 32 times for 167 yards, and Jarrett Stidham completed 16-23 passes for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the defense held Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to a total of 48 yards combined.
According to LB Deshaun Davis Jr. that was the goal
“What we wanted to do as a defense was to come in and make a statement. A lot of people counted us out. They thought that Georgia was going to run the ball all up and down on us. We came into this game saying that we were gone hold them under 100 yards and we held them under 50. They tried multiple times to run the ball, but it all starts up front. Our defensive line played great. I feel like we played great as linebackers and our safeties came down the field. We played great as a unit. Coach Steele challenges us to be an elite group. He challenged us all week to go from good to elite and I feel like we did that.”
Jake Fromm gained some valuable experience from the pocket on how to survive with pressure. He completed 13-28 passes for 184 yards and 1 touchdown. Auburn finally put together a complete game, they wanted this one, and they went all out and took it. Should this team play with this intensity and passion, they will truly hold their SEC Destiny in their hands. There is one little obstacle BAMA.
The IRON BOWL will be for all the marbles.
Jarrett Stidham On if contending for championships was what he expected when he came to Auburn…
“Absolutely. This is why you play college football. Especially at a place like Auburn. I thought coming into this situation that we obviously have a great football team and I knew what kind of team we could have. It’s just a matter of executing and being that team”. Georgia has already earned a berth to the SEC Championship should Auburn do the unthinkable there will be a rematch.
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All Photo’s by Dennis Morton Jr.