Athens, Ga.--The one-two punch of running backs Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley led the Georgia Bulldogs to a 34-7 SEC football victory over the Auburn Tigers as the visitors were dominated up front much of the night.
“I think it is fair to say they won the line of scrimmage and that is disappointing,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, whose Tigers lost any hope of defending their SEC title with their third conference loss.
“Congratulations to Georgia,” Malzahn said. “They played well. They beat us in all three phases tonight.
“Special teams-wise, the fumbled punt I thought was a big play in the game. I think they scored right after that. We had the running into the kicker. We tried to block a punt, came close right there and I believe they scored points after that.”
The Auburn coach noted his Tigers “didn’t get it done offensively” and added, “We had first downs and we sometimes we would have holding penalties that brought it back. At the start of the third quarter we had two (pass) drops back-to-back that kind of hurt momentum.
“Defensively, we had trouble stopping their run,” Malzahn said. “We knew they were going to be a strong running team and they wore us down in that third to fourth quarter.” The Bulldogs ran the ball 52 times for 289 yards averaging 5.6 per carry.
Auburn extended its school-record streak to five games in which the Tigers allowed 30 or more points. Chubb was a big factor in making that happening with 19 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Todd Gurley carried the ball 29 times for 138 yards and one TD on a night the Bulldogs out-gained Auburn 412-292 in total yards.
Georgia improved to 8-2 with the victory while Auburn fell to 7-3 with a second consecutive victory.
“It hurts to lose period and especially because we have so many Georgia guys on the squad,” Artis-Payne said. “We really wanted to get this one. We just didn’t play well at all.
“We didn’t do what we were supposed to do in all three phases of the game and it showed,” the senior added. “We can turn it around. We will back home and can get a win next week and head into the Iron Bowl with some confidence.
The game was the lowest point total for the Tigers with Malzahn as head coach and the lowest overall since being shut out by Alabama to close the 2012 season.The Tigers got off to a promising start. After Corey Grant nearly broke free on the opening kickoff, Auburn drove 70 yards on 10 plays to take a quick 7-0 lead.
Artis-Payne scored the touchdown from 26 yards out on a run at right tackle.
The Bulldogs came close to tying the game on a kickoff return by Gurley that went the distance, but a penalty negated the big play.
However, another special teams mistake by the Tigers did lead to points. Quan Bray mishandled a punt, giving the Bulldogs great field position at the 19-yard line.
The Bulldogs pulled ahead on an 83-yard drive that covered 11 plays. On fourth and less than one at the nine, Chubb found a big hole up the middle and raced into the end zone to put the home team up 14-7 with 8:48 left in the second quarter.
Another special teams error, a roughing the punter penalty on walk-on Gray King who just missed making a big play, kept a possession alive for the Bulldogs, who cashed in the mistake with a 32-yard field goal with 29 seconds left before intermission.
Halftime Numbers: The Bulldogs held a 204-158 total offense advantage at the break. The Tigers rushed for 96 yards on 19 carries while Nick Marshall hit 8-13 passes for 62 yards. UGA ran the ball 36 times for 204 yards and Mason completed 7-15 passes for 83 yards.
Dropped passes and penalties sidetracked the offense in the third quarter as Georgia extended its lead with a three-yard TD run by Gurley to cap a 57-yard drive and a 28-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan late in the period. The other points in the second half came on an 11-yard run by Chubb with 6:34 to play.
Chubb had high praise for the play of his offensive line. "Those are some bad boys up front. They make running a lot easier for us."
Cassanova McKinzy led the Tigers in tackles with eight solos and one assist while Jermaine Whitehead added six solos and three assists.
Cassanova McKinzy tackles quarterback Hutson Mason.
Worth Noting, Part 1: UGA star Gurley, in his first game back from a four-game suspension, suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
Worth Noting, Part 2: The Bulldogs were six-of-six scoring points on trips into the red zone.
Stat Of the Game: Auburn finished minus three in turnover margin with two lost fumbles and one interception.
Up next is Auburn’s final home game of the season as Samford visits for a 6 p.m. CST kickoff next Saturday.