I have been telling friends all week that Georgia v Auburn at night is electric, and Saturday was no exception. After a beginning that made me hate the two and a half hours that would follow, the Dawgs pulled together for a possibly season saving comeback. There is lots to talk about in this game so let’s get to it!
The first several minutes of the game made me certain that what was to follow was a brutal beatdown at Sanford courtesy of of our biggest rivals. Two perfect touchdown drives by the Tigers were followed up by two perfectly inept drives by Georgia. Then, something happened. Something changed. The defense made an ADJUSTMENT! Coach Martinez has been called out all season (and rightfully so) for the defense’s inability to change its scheme to better defend what the other team is doing, fill in the holes in the defense, and then attack the weaknesses that the coaches see in the other team. After Auburn gained 156 yards on its first two drives, they were only able to muster 197 yards the rest of the game.
Pressure had a lot to do with the defense’s success after those first two drives. Chris Todd was sacked three times and the Dawgs added 9 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. Speaking of INTs, ladies and gentlemen Georgia won the turnover battle for the first time this season! The two interceptions were complimented by no turnovers of our own. Georgia is now 16-0 under Mark Richt when the team doesn’t commit a turnover. Just more evidence as to why turnover ratio is Georgia’s most important stat this season (last in NCAA). Also, it helps when Rennie Curran has 12 tackles. How great is this kid? He is a machine and its a great backstory considering how close he came to playing at Auburn. Bacarri Rambo layed a game saving his in the 4th quarter that reminded me of the Georgia defenses that fans have been used to for years. Junkyard defenses were known for playing with reckless abandon and punishing anyone who dared to catch a ball in the secondary and Rambo certainly qualified in both of those categories. More on this topic later.
The Bulldogs not only won the turnover battle for the first time but the penalty battle as well. The most penalized team in the nation committed 3 penalties in the first quarter then only 1 more in the second half! Coach Richt said in his post game conference that he accidentally abandoned his plan to pull players each time they caused a penalty but it apparently worked out anyway. The crowd did its part in making sure that the Tigers weren’t on their toes. A few times the Tigers had penalties that seemed to have resulted from being unable to hear the snap count.
The past two weeks, the run game has been very encouraging and it was the cornerstone of everything the offense was able to do. Ealey and King combined for 3 touchdowns and the Georgia offense finally got its spark when Bobo started letting them run. Naturally, when the run game picked up, Auburn had to move in to stop it which opened up the pass. Cox finished with 173 yards through the air with 1 TD and two much needed catches to keep drives alive. One of those catches made Georgia seem destined for victory. Facing 3rd and 8 from their own 20, Joe Cox threw a pass that was tipped high into the air by an Auburn defender directly into the arms of Orson Charles for an eventual gain of 34 yards, followed by Wahaun Ealey’s 1 yard TD run. Coach Richt has said several times that the ball just hasn’t been bouncing Georgia’s way this season, well it certainly did this time and it was Huge.
I love beating Auburn and I sang “To Hell with Auburn” all night, but this really is a great rivalry. There is a lot of mutual respect between the two schools and there are hundreds of years of history and more connections than any two schools in the nation. Every year is a nail biter no matter the rankings and after 117 years only one game separates the record between Georgia and Auburn! This is why i was so shocked to realize that this was the fourth win in a row for the Dawgs over Auburn. I was in attendance for 3 of those wins and watched every second of the other game, but it still doesn’t feel like the fourth win in a row. This is a testament to how great this rivalry is and that every year it is going to be a battle and anything can happen. The Bulldog’s current steak is the first 4 wins in a row in The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry since 1948.
Just to be fair, there were a few things in the game that were not very good. AJ Green will be out until the bowl game with a shoulder injury. It was great to see the team succeed without him but it will hurt not to have a number 8 on the field, especially against Tech. The fifteen minutes that Bacarri Rambo was on the ground felt like 15 hours. When the team huddled and the stretcher came out, football became the last thing on everyone’s mind. Thankfully, Rambo has movement in all of his limbs and it is only as bad as a concussion which is good considering what could have happened. It was a great moment when the stadium was chanting “Rambo, Rambo.” It was great to let him, and in the team know how much the fans love the players and the team and it was a nice bonus for all the recruits to be able to see that. With that being said, the boos in the beginning of the game were unbelievable and uncalled for. They were premature considering that Georgia competed all game and eventually won, but that should never happen at any time in a game. It is not productive and a member of the greatest institution in the world should NEVER conduct themselves in such a manner. Only people with no understanding of tradition and “fair weather” fans boo, but i digress.
All in all it was a phenomenal game and I’m sure that I will remember it for a while. The Dawgs still have a lot to play for including moving up into a better bowl game and that all starts with Kentucky next Saturday! Go Dawgs!