The Georgia Bulldogs upset the 9th ranked Auburn Tigers 13-7 on Saturday between the hedges of historic Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA.
Top 10 Win At Home:
With Georgia’s 13-7 win over #8 Auburn, the Bulldogs snap the Tigers six-game winning streak and pick up their latest win over a top 10 team at Sanford Stadium. Before today, the last one to visit was #9 Auburn in 2014 and then No. 16 Georgia posted a 34-7 win. Also, Georgia maintains the series edge over the Tigers, improving to 57-55-8 in the Deep South’s Oldest rivalry. Today was the 120th meeting and this ranks in a tie for fourth most played active series in the FBS. Also, this marked Georgia’s second win over a top 25 team this year for first-year coach Kirby Smart after opening up with a win over then No. 22 North Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta. The Bulldogs improve to 6-4 overall, 4-4 in the SEC while Auburn is 7-3, 5-2 SEC. Georgia has won nine of the past 11 meetings versus Auburn.
Auburn was held to just 7 points which matches a career low under coach Gus Malzahn with the Tigers, and the second time against Georgia as the Bulldogs won 34-7 here in 2014. The Tigers had been averaging 494.1 yards per game this season and 43.0 points per game over the last five contests coming into Saturday. Auburn finished the game with only 164 total yards and was just 2-for-12-on third downs. Under Malzahn, the Tigers were averaging 32.4 points in road games coming in to the contest.
Sophomore LB Roquan Smith led the team with seven stops to give him a team-leading 62 for the year. Sophomore DE Jonathan Ledbetter led the charge with five stops, including a sack. Senior DB Maurice Smith had the biggest defensive play of the game with an interception that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. An Alabama graduate transfer, Smith also had three tackles. The pick-six was Georgia’s first since Dominick Sanders versus Vandy in 2015.
Reviewing The Offense:
Freshman QB Jacob Eason (20-for-31, 208 yards) spread the ball out with five receivers having at least two catches each in the first half and eight total for the contest. He connected with freshman WR Riley Ridley for a 57-yard catch in the first quarter. This was a career-long catch for Ridley and the true freshman finished with a career-high 89 yards on three catches. Ridley also had his first career carry for 14 yards. Junior TB Nick Chubb finished with 23 carries for 101 yards. Chubb now has 3,086 yards in his career, making him the fifth Bulldog in history to tally at least 3,000 yards in his career and moves him to No. 4 on that list. The Bulldogs won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 39:09 and tallied 343 yards of total offense on 76 plays.
Blankenship Connects Again:
Redshirt freshman PK Rodrigo Blankenship connected on a 45-yard field goal to put Georgia up 10-7 at the 13:44 mark in the fourth quarter. Blankenship then missed what would have tied his career long of 49 yards at the 10:21 mark. He added a 21-yarder with 2:25 left in the contest to make it 13-7. He is now 11-for-13 on the year and had made 10 in a row before his miss from 49.
McKenzie Goes To Work:
Junior WR Isaiah McKenzie took off for a 20-yard punt return to put the ball at the UGA 45 in the fourth quarter. Coming in today, the Tigers led the nation in Punt Return Defense at -1.5 yards a return. In fact, Auburn had allowed a total of two punt returns coming into tonight’s game for -3 yards. He finished with just that one punt return. McKenzie added a team-high four catches for 35 yards.
Points Off Turnovers:
The Bulldogs are +5 in Turnover Margin after giving up one turnover in the first half and recording one in the second half. Both turnovers turned into touchdowns. Sophomore WR Terry Godwin threw an interception in the end zone on a trick play. Auburn turned its next drive into the game’s first points. Maurice Smith snagged a 3rd-and-long pass on Auburn’s first drive of the third quarter and returned in 34 yards for a touchdown. Smith now has two interceptions in his one season with the Bulldogs. This was Georgia’s first pick returned for a score since Dominick Sanders took one back 88 yards at Vanderbilt last year. Georgia has forced 19 turnovers for 40 points while opponents have turned 14 Bulldog miscues into 59 points this season.
Junior WR Shakenneth Williams started for the first time in his career. In fact, this marked Williams’ first snaps this season. Senior C Brandon Kublanow, junior S Dominick Sanders and senior DB Maurice Smith were captains on Saturday.
Georgia (6-4 overall, 4-4 SEC) plays host to the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette Saturday at Noon on the SEC Network.