Coach Gene Chizik said his team was dominated every way a football team can be dominated. He was correct. The Bulldogs controlled play on the line of scrimmage, quarterback Aaron Murray riddled the Auburn secondary and the Tigers didn't outperform Georgia in any phase of the SEC rivalry game.
"I don't think there is a whole lot I can tell you that you didn't see," Chizik said in his postgame press conference. "It was a very disappointing loss for us."
When the final whistle blew the Tigers had been out-gained 528 to 195 in total yardage.
"I didn't feel like we blocked anybody all night in pass protection or trying to run the football," Chizik said. "I didn't feel like defensively we covered many people all night. We had a hard time stopping the run."
On top those issues, the Tigers finished the game with three turnovers, something the coach said his team couldn't afford to do on the road vs. a team on a winning streak.
Auburn turned the ball over twice in the second quarter and finished with negative five total yards in the period while giving up 21 points and 244 yards. At intermission the Tigers had been out-gained 326-89 in total yardage.
Auburn's inability to run the football in the first half (12 carries for minus 12) yards was matched by its problems throwing the football and allowing Georgia quarterback Murray to pick apart the pass defense.
Murray completed 13-16 passes for 216 yards and four scores in the first half and finished the game with 224 yards in the air as he only threw two passes after intermission as the Bulldogs were able to move the football on the ground with Isaiah Crowell rushing for 132 yards on 24 carries and Carlton Thomas gaining 127 yards on 15 carries.
Most of that yardage for the UGA backs was clear sailing with the Auburn defensive front being consistently blocked by the UGA offensive line. The time of possession was telling. UGA held the football for 40 minutes and 55 seconds. Auburn kept the ball for only 19 minutes, five seconds.
Auburn fell to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. Georgia improved to 8-2 and kept the inside track to winning the SEC East with its 6-1 record in the league.
Auburn netted just 51 yards on 25 carries and gained 144 passing yards. Clint Moseley was 11-22 passing for 140 yards. "I really can put a finger on it," he said when asked why the Tigers played so poorly, noting there weren't pre-game signs that his team would struggle. "I really thought that this was the best week of practice we have had all season."
Freshman defensive tackle Gabe Wright said he didn't see the one-sided loss coming. "Of course not," he said. "You really hate to go down like this--anyone would. Give credit to Georgia. They came out with a good plan."
Junior running back Michael Dyer, who gained 48 yards on 13 carries, said he wasn't expecting what happened, especially with the Tigers having an extra week to prepare for the Bulldogs. "With two weeks I thought we were better prepared," he said. "They came out there and played better than we did...Georgia just came out and beat us. That is all I have got to say about it."
Georgia coach Mark Richt said, "We just played great. I am trying to think of another game where we played this well in a situation that was so important to us. We knew South Carolina had won its game so we had to win."
Auburn won the toss and deferred setting up a busy first quarter for the scoreboard operator.
The Bulldogs didn't waste any time getting points on the board. After taking the opening kickoff UGA marched 70 yards on 12 plays with Tavarres King catching an eight-yard pass for the score.
Just a bit more than two minutes later the Tigers tied the score with a four-yard pass from tight end C.J. Uzomah to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen on third down. The play capped a drive that covered 76 yards on eight plays and was set up by a 45-yard pass from Clint Moseley to Emory Blake.
The rest of the first half was a nightmare for the Tigers with the offense, defense and special teams all contributing to the their team's demise.
At halftime the Tigers had netted just 89 yards of total offense to 326 for the Bulldogs, who enjoyed a 35-7 edge. The Bulldogs built that lead with the help of three more touchdown passes by Murray and an interception return of a Moseley pass for a touchdown.
Georgia took the lead with 3:02 left in the first quarter when Michael Bennett caught a perfectly thrown 27-yard pass from Murray to Michael Bennett, whose diving catch beat Neiko Thorpe in the end zone.
The Bulldogs then scored three uncontested touchdowns in the second quarter to take total command of the game. The first came with 10:36 before halftime on a 15-yard pass to Bruce Figgins
The Bulldogs only had to drive 40 yards after the teams exchanged fumbles. Eltoro Freeman fell on a fumble by Crowell at the 45-yard line, but on the next play Onterio McCalebb fumbled a pitch and the Bulldogs made the Tigers pay.
Linebacker Eltoro Freeman recovered two fumbles for the Tigers and made eight tackles.
Less than a minute later the situation went from bad to much worse as Moseley's third down pass was intercepted by Baccari Rambo and returned 24 yards for a touchdown.
Auburn's offense continued its struggles in the third and fourth quarter. Georgia added a 26-yard field goal with 7:32 to play in the third period and a nine-yard TD run by Crowell with 5:59 left in the final quarter.
Georgia's quarterback said the Bulldogs played a complete game vs. Auburn. "The defense was making it impossible for them, special teams played great and the offense was clicking," he said. "It all starts with the offensive line giving me time and opening up huge holes."
Daren Bates led the Tigers with eight solo tackles and Neiko Thorpe made six solo tackles with six assists.
Offensively for the Tigers, Blake led the way with six catches for 101 yards.
Next up for the Tigers is a noon Homecoming game vs. the Samford Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium.