Auburn, AL (EETV)- The no. 12 Auburn Tigers hosted the no. 5 Georgia Bulldogs in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry as they looked to knock the Dawgs out of playoff contention. The low-scoring game ended with the Bulldogs walking off victorious, 21-14.
Despite the two touchdown comeback in a hard-fought fourth quarter battle, the Tigers were unable to overcome the lead the Bulldogs established early on.
On both sides of the field, the defenses each held their own in the beginning of the game. Auburn received the kickoff, but at the end of their first possession, a 47-yard missed field goal from Anders Carlson left the Tigers scoreless.
Georgia was the first to put points on the board. With less than six minutes left in the first quarter, a 51-yard pass from Jake Fromm connected with Dominick Blaylock for the first touchdown of the game to put the Dawgs up 7-0.
The second quarter also started slow. Once again, both defenses made crucial stops to keep the other team out of the red zone. With 20 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs struck again against the Tigers. A short 5-yard pass from Fromm to Brian Herrien put Georgia up 14-0, to give them a two-touchdown lead entering the third.
The next scoring play did not occur until there was less than a minute left in the third quarter. After a 12-play possession, another short pass play from Fromm resulted in seven more points for the Dawgs. This time, Eli Wolf crossed into the end zone to put Georgia up 21-0.
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Auburn put its first points on the board. During the five-minute possession, the Tigers completed 12 plays for 75 yards, ending with a short three-yard pass from Bo Nix to Eli Stove, giving the Tigers seven.
With the Bulldogs still up 14, Auburn’s defense played the part to ensure the point differential did not increase. During the next possession, the Tigers held Georgia to negative yards over three plays for just less than two minutes.
As time was winding down, Auburn began to play fast and pick up momentum in hopes of decreasing their point deficit. Covering 57 yards over the span of five plays in just over a minute, the Tigers put their second round of points on the board. A diving two-yard rush from Nix decreased Georgia’s lead to only seven, making the score 21-14.
At six minutes left to play, a three-and-out regained possession for the Tigers as they looked to move quickly down the field once more.
After moving from the Auburn 28 to the 50, the Tigers faced a 4th and 5. The Tigers went for it, and an eight-yard rush from Nix moved the chains down the field.
Once again, Auburn faced a fourth down; this time with only two yards to go. An attempted screen pass from Nix to Harold Joiner fell incomplete, and the Bulldogs regained possession of the ball on their 38.
Another three-and-out from the Tiger defense put the ball back in the hands of Auburn’s offense. A series of three incomplete passes followed by a sack for loss of yards switched the possession once more and finalized the score of the game, 21-14.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys’ fight and real appreciative of our fans. We were down 21-0. It didn’t look good and we fought back and really had some chances,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Our guys, they fought their guts out. They fought their guts out for Auburn.”
Seth Williams led the Tigers in receptions with 13 for 121 yards. Quarterback Nix completed 30 out of his 50 passes for a total of 245 passing yards.
“Bo competed, he’s a winner and a great competitor. He battled and he fought,” Malzahn said.
On the defensive side, Jeremiah Dinson accounted for eight of Auburn’s tackles. K.J. Britt, Derrick Brown and Daniel Thomas each had six tackles. They [the defense] stuffed them in the fourth quarter. We had the momentum. The crowd was in it,” Malzahn said.
“I think everyone can see we have a good football team. We’ve had some tough, close losses, but we have great character in our locker room. Our guys are disappointed but they’ll rebound. They’ll rebound and finish this thing.”
With the 21-14 loss, Auburn’s season falls to 7-3, 4-3 in the SEC. The Tigers will host the Samford Bulldogs next Saturday, Nov. 23.