AUBURN, Ala. – Well, when the nation’s No. 1 team fell, it fell hard!
Hamstrung by one puzzling penalty after another and unable to stop Auburn’s explosive offense – while not mustering any offense themselves after an opening 70-yard touchdown drive – the Georgia Bulldogs walked into a nightmare on the East Alabama plains and were harassed and embarrassed by the 10th-ranked Tigers by 40-17 Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Bulldogs raced quickly into a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Nick Chubb but with Georgia continuing to make killing mistakes (personal fouls, interference on an Auburn fair catch, roughing the kicker, fumbling away a punt and so on and so on), it continually kept the ball in the Tigers’ hands … something not very conducive to the Bulldogs staying unbeaten on this day. With Auburn up 40-10, the Georgia offense finally got a second touchdown with just 2:19 remaining in the game when Jake Fromm passed 14 yards to Riley Ridley
In simple words, everything that could go wrong for Georgia went wrong and it’s hard to say what this crushing loss will do to this team, which falls to 9-1 and 6-1 in the SEC, with Kentucky and Georgia Tech left on the regular slate before the SEC championship game arrives on Dec. 2.
Certainly, the defeat will send the Bulldogs tumbling down in the top 10 rankings and any remaining college playoff hopes would likely hinge on Georgia beating top-ranked Alabama and winning the SEC title – if the Crimson Tide is able to defeat Auburn on Nov. 25 in the Iron Bowl finale.
But, one thing, if the Bulldogs take an example from Georgia’s 1942 Rose Bowl champions, everything could still be on the table. Those Bulldogs, led by Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich and electrifying Charley Trippi, fell only to Auburn that fall but came back to beat UCLA in the Rose and claim the national championship.
But, again, Georgia can’t duplicate their Saturday showing. If it does, nothing is certain, even against underdogs Kentucky and the Yellow Jackets.
The Bulldog defense simply couldn’t ever seem to get a handle on the Tigers’ fast-paced offense and Roquan Smith and J.R. Reed had to make most of the tackles for Georgia, with Smith credited with 12 total tackles and Reed following with 11 stops.
Meantime, a Bulldog offense that was leading the SEC in rushing was checked to a measly 46 yards by the quick Auburn defensive unit. Chubb rushed for just 27 yards on 11 carries and Sony Michel was limited to 21 yards in nine trips. Through the air, freshman quarterback, with the Jordan-Hare faithful raising the noise barometer to another level, finished with 13-of-28 completions for 184 yards and the late touchdown to Ridley but was sacked four times and under heavy pressure the game long. Terry Godwin had four catches for 54 yards while Javon Wims snared three passes for 96 yards.
As the final minutes of the game ticked down, the Auburn student body began chanting “overrated.” And they were certainly dead on with that declaration. Georgia not only didn’t resemble a No. 1-ranked team in this debacle, the Bulldogs didn’t resemble a top 25 team.
But, as I mentioned above, tomorrow’s another day and the final story of the 2017 Georgia season has yet to be written.
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