Auburn's Marcus Davis (above) drops a pass vs. the Bulldogs.
Athens, Ga.--An inept performance by the Auburn offense was responsible for a 13-7 SEC football loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday that ended a six-game winning streak and any chance the Tigers had of winning the SEC West title.
How bad was it? Consider these numbers for the Tigers, who dropped to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the SEC.
*Auburn finished the game with 10 first downs, but not a single one of them came in the second half.
*Auburn finished the game with 164 total yards with a measly 32 combined in the third and fourth quarters.
*The Tigers completed just 8-22 passes to its own receivers. A pass that Sean White threw into the arms of Georgia defensive back Maurice Smith provided the only touchdown of the game for the home team when he returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.
*Auburn converted just 2-12 third downs for the game with the Tigers going 0-7 after halftime.
“It is a real tough loss,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. “We came over here and our defense played outstanding. Our offense didn’t get it down to today. It is simple as that.
“We didn’t get a first down in the second half today,” Malzahn said. “Give them credit. They had a good plan. We didn’t do a great job of executing the things we need to do.
“The 2-12 third downs, that was obviously the worst of the year,” Malzahn added. “We didn’t make any explosive plays. They did a good job stopping the run.”
Auburn finished the game with 31 carries for 127 yards. With Kamryn Pettway unable to play due to an injury, Kerryon Johnson was the main ball carrier with 22 runs for 99 yards.
Johnson’s backup, Stanton Truitt, was injured in the game and only carried the ball twice for six yards.
With White struggling to throw the ball, Malzahn was asked why he didn’t make a change at quarterback. “Obviously, we will look at things after this game and have a plan moving forward.
“Sean has been our quarterback and done a good job up to this point,” said Malzahn, who noted that the redshirt sophomore was still bothered by a shoulder problem. “He is not 100 percent,” the coach said. “He didn’t practice this week throwing the football, but he is a tough guy. He brought us here and that who is got us here and who we went with today.”
Auburn led 7-0 at halftime, but the momentum changed on the pick-six play early in the third quarter.
Georgia took the lead on a 45-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blakenship with 13:44 to play in the final quarter. He missed a 49-yarder after that, but hit an insurance score from 20 yards out with 2:25 left.
Auburn got the ball for one do-or-die drive at its 14-yard line, but back-to-back incomplete passes on third and fourth downs with two yards to go ended AU’s chances of pulling off a comeback.
Asked if former starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson is “benched for the year,” Malzahn said, “He is ready to play if he needs to play. Like I said, Sean’s our guy.”
The Tigers scored on their second possession. Auburn held the football for 15 plays as it move 80 yards in six minutes and two seconds.
Kerryon Johnson converted the only two third downs on the possession with runs of three and 15 yards. The sophomore scored on first and goal from three yards out when he took a direct snap from Austin Golson and ran up the middle.
The Tigers completed three of four passes on the possession, including a six-yarder to Truitt from Johnson.
That play produced the only points of the first half that featured big plays from the Auburn defense. The biggest was an interception in the end zone by Tray Matthews on a halfback pass by Terry Godwin on UGA’s second possession after the Bulldogs hit a 57-yard pass to Riley Ridley.
The defensive front got into the action with second quarter sacks by Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson. For the game Adams made six with two for lost yardage. Lawson was in on six tackles with three for lost yardage.
Montravius Adams makes a sack in his last game vs. the Bulldogs.
“We came together, we tried to fight as hard as we could and we lost as a team,” Lawson said. “It was a very disappointing loss. We have to put it in our past and rebound.”
Georgia out-gained Auburn 343-164 with Nick Chubb leading the way. The junior ran for 101 yards on 23 carries while Sony Michel added 55 yards on 10 runs. QB Jacob Eason hit 20-31 passes for 208 yards for the Bulldogs.
Worth Noting, Part 1: Tray Matthews led the Tigers in tackles with three solos and five assists.
Worth Noting, Part 2: Auburn has now lost three consecutive games to its oldest rival and hasn’t won at Sanford Stadium since 2005.
Stat of the Game: UGA helped its caused by converting 7-17 third down plays, which led to a huge time of possession advantage of 39:09 to 20:51.
The Tigers return to action with a 6:30 p.m. home game next Saturday vs. Alabama A&M.