Auburn knew a matchup with the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs wouldn’t be easy, especially for a team that has had offensive struggles throughout the year. The game was predicted to be a defensive showdown and if you’re a fan of old-fashioned football, you likely weren’t disappointed.
After Georgia jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, they tacked on another touchdown before the half. The third quarter ended with a Bulldog touchdown and it looked like that might be the end for the Tigers. Then, Auburn flipped a switch and its offense came alive, scoring two touchdowns within four minutes. Auburn’s comeback attempt ended up coming short as they lost 21-14. Here’s the post-game report card.
Statistically, Bo Nix followed up his best game of the season against Ole Miss with another impressive performance against Georgia. The freshman went 30-of-50 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Nix added 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground, a team high for Auburn. For the most part, Nix was hitting his receivers and making good reads with not a lot of time from his offensive line.
Where this grade goes down comes from several key mistakes from the freshman. On Auburn’s seventh drive of the game they were driving up the field but Nix fumbled on 1st down at the Georgia 44. Down just a touchdown this was potential Auburn points wiped off the board. The freshman has had some fumbling issues throughout the season and again later in the game he dropped a snap forcing Auburn into a 4th-and-5 rather than the 3rd-and-2 they were previously in.
The biggest reason the grade comes down, and the thing fans will remember from this game is the missed pass to Harold Joiner. On 4th-and-2 the offense came out of a timeout in the sugar huddle, they faked the handoff to Joiner only to have him cut to the outside and he was wide open with room to gain a lot more than just the first down. Nix threw it well behind him and Georgia took over at its own 34.
Overall the freshman played a pretty good game, but it will be overlooked by the missed pass at the end of the game.
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Running Backs: C-
Coming into the game Georgia boasted the best run-defense in the country. It showed as the running backs combined to only rush for 52 yards on 20 carries. Boobee Whitlow had the most carries with 11, only totally 23 yards. D.J. Williams had eight carries for 26 yards.
As a squad they averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. While some of this responsibility falls on an offensive line that struggled to generate holes, the running backs really did nothing impressive.
Whitlow played his biggest role since having knee surgery after the Florida game, but was ineffective until the 4th quarter. His worst play of the day came on a 4th-and-1 where he lined up in the wildcat, only to lose 13 yards on the play.
Against Alabama the running game will need to play like they did earlier in the season, as rushing for 52 yards likely won’t cut it.
Wide Receivers: B+
The Seth Williams show was in full effect on Saturday. The sophomore had 13 catches for 121 yards on 20 targets. However, Williams had a key drop on Auburn’s last drive of the game. Williams left the game with what seemed to be an injured wrist, eventually coming back into the game, something to look at going into a matchup with Samford.
Williams was followed up by Anthony Schwartz who caught 7-of-9 targets for 48 yards.
The lone wide receiver touchdown came on a short touchdown from junior Eli Stove. Stove caught 3-of-5 targets for 20 yards.
This was a good, but not great game for the wide receivers. They were unable to generate any big plays, but overall did a good job throughout the game.
Offensive Line: C
Playing against a tough Georgia defense, the offensive line had a tough task to generate holes for the running backs and give Nix time to throw. They weren’t overly effective in either category as the running game was almost non-existent and Nix was sacked twice and didn’t have a lot of time in the pocket.
Georgia ended the game with eight tackles-for-loss, a number that’s far too high and a responsibility that falls on the offensive line.
The group didn’t have any false start or holding penalties, one of the lone bright-spots for the offensive line.
Defensive Line: B
By no means did the defensive line have a bad game. But for their standards, it was not their best.
Georgia ran for 141 yards, averaging nearly four yards a carry. The line also failed to generate much pressure on Jake Fromm, getting just one sack on the day.
The Bulldogs boasted one of the best offensive lines in the country coming into the game and it did an effective job to neutralize Auburn’s defensive line.
Marlon Davidson had the only sack of the game to go along with five tackles. Davidson was joined by Derrick Brown who was tied for second on the team with six total tackles.
Again, it certainly was not a bad game for the defensive line but it was by no means their best performance.
Similar to the defensive line, the linebackers didn’t have their best performance. Georgia ran for 141 yards, part of that responsibility falls on the defensive line, but part falls on the linebackers.
K.J. Britt led the group with six tackles, and the rest were pretty quiet. Behind Britt, Zakoby McClain had two tackles and Owen Pappoe had one. Chandler Wooten did not record a tackle.
Against Najee Harris and a dynamic Alabama offense (with or without Tua Tagovailoa), the linebacker group will need to do better.
Actually, the Auburn secondary played a relatively good game. Fromm only passed for 110 yards, going just 13-of-28 on his pass attempts.
However, all three of Georgia’s touchdowns came through the air. The first Bulldogs touchdown came on a 51-yard reception from Dominick Blaylock where Christian Tutt along with safeties Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson were burned.
The second Georgia touchdown was probably the worst for the Auburn secondary. The Bulldogs marched 81 yards down the field and scored in just 59 seconds. Roger McCreary was called for a pass interference on the drive then Fromm ended with a 5-yard touchdown.
Safety Jeremiah Dinson led the team with eight tackles.
The secondary played one of their overall better games, but just a few plays ended up defining the day for them.
Special Teams: B
Following a game where kicker Anders Carlson went just 2-of-5 against Ole Miss on field goal attempts, he was looking to bounce back.
His lone field goal attempt was a miss from 47 yards on Auburn’s first drive of the game.
Outside of the missed field goal attempt, the Auburn special teams had a pretty good night by all accounts.
Punter Arryn Siposs averaged 45.1 yards per punt, including pinning Georgia at the two yard line and the 12 yard line. Auburn’s struggled to cover the punt all year but Georgia only returned two punts and didn’t get a yard.
Auburn punt returner Christian Tutt returned three punts for 43 yards, including a 24-yard punt return.
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