Dawgs Cage the Tigers
Cover Photo: Joe Vitale – USA Today
By: Joshua Grosh
As previously stated in #4 Georgia vs #12 Auburn Week #12 Prediction the Dawgs walked out of Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 21-14 victory.
Georgia has officially sealed up the East and punched their ticket to Atlanta (SEC Championship Game) with a road win against a top 15 team in Auburn. This game was a heart attack, pressure packed, final quarter of a game with a very upset minded Auburn team. Georgia came up with multiple big plays to get what felt like an unsurmountable lead to start the fourth quarter. Then, Auburn sprung to life and surged forward with 14 points as Georgia repeatedly went 3 and out. Yet, when the game came down to the wire, Georgia fended off Auburn and survived for the first ever SEC West road win under the Kirby Smart era and moved Georgia to 3 total top 15 wins on the season. With this win, Georgia may have effectively put an end to any outside shot of Bama pulling into the playoffs – of course barring complete chaos. Georgia has also made it to three straight SEC championship games, a rare feat in the SEC East historically. Georgia also has now officially played 5 teams who had bye weeks before meeting the Dawgs and they are 4-1 in them – the only loss being to South Carolina. Georgia’s schedule has been a gauntlet and regardless of what the media will say, Georgia has fought through some tough cards dealt to them. So, Go Dawgs – and lets jump into this.
Honestly, I am without words. There are times this offense looks like it is finally going to take that step. Big passes, stretching the field, killing a crowd early. Then, the offense goes completely turtle. We see nothing but predictable play after predictable play – rushing the ball on first and second down up the completely sealed up gut. I understand we are a running team and that is our identity. However, Georgia must stop this complete blandness if it is going to win the SEC or get a shot to the playoffs. There is simply no excuse to leave your defense hanging time and time again ultimately letting another team pile up 20 more plays overall than your offense – especially when you have a team on the ropes with a 21-point lead. Georgia must finish teams off. We stopped seeing toss plays and outside runs in the fourth quarter. We saw the Dawgs seemingly give up on the offensive side. Georgia literally totaled -3 yards in the entire fourth quarter. Very few teams if any would survive that – especially on the road. Something needs to change for this offense – or more specifically play calling. Personally, I feel Coley may be in over his head, but he has at least 4 more games to overcome this issue (SEC Championship and bowl game included). If not, Kirby Smart may need to move on because, there is too much talent on this team to not do better offensively. We all like how Blaylock stepped up this game – especially given how Auburn seemed completely determined to take Cager out of the game. If we can see Cager, Blaylock, and Pickens all finally start clicking, this offense may finally find some life yet.
The defense was outstanding – and yes, I am still including the rough 4th quarter. The reason is due to something I just spoke about, the offense. Georgia’s offense did next to nothing to help the defense get some rest. Some of the 3rd and the entire 4th quarter was nothing but 3 and outs. Of course, we started seeing Georgia’s defense wear down. Yet, even still, Georgia made the stop when they had to. They had two fourth down stands to end the game and bail out a completely ineffective offense. Georgia held Auburn to its lowest at home point total and second lowest of the season (the lowest is 13 by Florida). Then, unfortunately, the Georgia defense finally surrendered a rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter for the first time all season. Yet, Georgia still corralled a desperate Auburn team with a bye week to prepare for them for much of the game. This defense is still elite – and still has not surrendered more than 17 points to any offense this season.
Monty Rice: 10 tackles & 8 solo tackles.
*Caveat is that the entire defense seemed to be the MVP as it was well balanced between the entire defense.
Georgia returns to the friendly confines of home for senior night against Texas A&M at 3:30 P.M. Texas A&M comes in to this game currently 6-3 on the season with a game against South Carolina going currently.