As dramatic as Cadillac's performance was, the home team had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. Inexplicably, Bulldog quarterback David Greene, known for being a smart play caller, did an imitation of a border collie on the final play of the game. He said after the game he thought the Georgia offense would need just running play to score. Dumb Dawgs! Dumb, dumb dawgs!
On a do-or-die-drive after getting the football back at the Auburn 45 with 1:10 to play, a 22-yard pass to Terrance Edwards put the Bulldogs first and goal at the Auburn one with no timeouts left. If UGA had elected to pass the ball, Greene would have had more than one chance to score a TD with 16 seconds left when he handed the ball to Jasper Sanks at left guard. Sanks is normally a guy who wouldn't be your team's first option, or even second option, to win a football game on one play. Dumb Dawgs! Dumb, dumb dawgs!
Sanks, the former prep All-American from Columbus, Ga., never had a chance as he was slam-dunked by the Tiger defense before he got anywhere near the goal line. It was one and done as the Tigers celebrated their third straight victory over Georgia and nine victory in the last trips to Sanford Stadium. They also improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. A victory over Alabama next week or LSU on Dec. 1 will send the Tigers back to the Georgia Dome to represent the SEC West at the SEC Championship Game.
"Strategically, it was the wrong thing to do," said UGA's first year head coach Mark Richt on UGA's final play of the evening. "We could have run a play throwing it in the end zone or throwing it away. We could have gotten more plays."
After the mental lapse to end the game, there was more than a little tension among the red and black fans and players to close the 105th Auburn vs. Georgia contest. While it is probably too early to say the honeymoon is over for the new UGA head coach, Saturday's developments certainly put some serious stress on his relationship with the Dawg Nation.
Meanwhile, Tiger fans celebrated their team's continued dominance at Stanford Stadium with Williams leading the way. The old record for most running plays was shared by Bo Jackson (38 vs. Ole Miss in 1985 for 240 yards) and Stacy Danley (38 for 172 yards vs. Georgia in 1988).
"When they told me I had 41 carries, the first thing that came to mind was I had never carried the ball 31 times in high school, middle school or pee wee," said Williams. "By the end of the third quarter, I was getting kind of tired. Those legs were getting heavy. I just told myself this is the time to suck it up the second half."
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had high praise for Carnell and liked the overall effort of his team. He said he was proud of the defense for limiting a good Georgia offense to 17 points even though the Bulldogs had good field position much of the night. "I thought our defense played outstanding," Tuberville said. "They gave up a couple of big plays early, but you take away those I thought they played just outstanding. It was a well-balanced team on both sides. Offensively, we turned into one of Coach (Pat) Dye's old teams--three yards and a cloud of dust."
A pair of blocked field goals by defensive end Alton Moore aided the visitors as did the ability to stop the run. The Bulldogs managed just 73 yards on 27 carries. "That was a big part of our game plan," said Moore, who also noted that so was trying to block field goals. The former All-State basketball player said that Coach Don Dunn had put in a middle field goal block for the game because of Billy Bennett's tendency to kick low field goals. "We stayed late after practice to do extra work on it," said Moore, who proudly showed a pair of welts on his arm where he took two for the Tigers.
Georgia got in the first big blow of the battle and did it early. The Bulldogs scored on the third play from scrimmage after winning the opening toss. Greene hit freshman Fred Gibson on a 67-yard bomb. The closest Tiger on the play, cornerback Carlos Rogers, did not get a hand on the speedy wideout. That gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 edge just 58 seconds after the opening whistle.
Auburn had a chance to tie the game on its second offensive possession but Cobb overthrew Jeris McIntyre after he had gotten behind the secondary on a pump and go route. Three plays later, b>Damon Duval missed a 47-yard field goal.
The Tigers scored on their next possession after Rogers recovered a fumble by backup UGA running back Kenny Bailey. Auburn moved 59 yards on nine plays for the touchdown. Carnell Williams scored at right guard from a yard out on a second and goal call after he just missed putting it in the end zone from the two. The big play in the drive that covered 59 yards on nine plays was a third and eight pass to McIntyre for 27 yards to the Georgia 12.
Georgia pulled back ahead on another long pass by Green. This one was a beautifully executed fourth and two call. Green faked a handoff into the line of scrimmage, hid the ball from the defense on his hip and waited for Terrance Edwards to get open downfield. The only defender in the neighborhood was Roderick Hood, who couldn't catch Edwards on the 54-yard scoring play.
Auburn averted even more trouble on the next possession. On the first play from scrimmage after the UGA score, Deandre Green caught a short pass and fumbled it at the Tiger 21. The Tiger defense then took control of the situation by forcing a third and long. Karlos Dansby made an acrobatic interception at the Georgia four-yard line with 4:54 left in the half. However, that was not the end of the excitement.
On the next play, Williams barely escaped the end zone on a handoff but the Tigers managed to get off the goal line with a classic Tuberville gamble. With fourth down and two inches to go for a first down, Cobb picked up the yardage with a one-yard sneak. Then, after the drive apparently had stalled at the Tiger 28 on fourth down and eight, Duval faked a punt and raced around right end for 12 yards and a first down.
The Tigers got the ball to start the second half and drove 80 yards after converting two third down passes to Joe Walkins and then riding the running of tailback Ronnie Brown deep into Bulldog territory.
The touchdown came on a beautifully executed third down call at the Georgia three. Cobb rolled right and every Bulldog defender did, too. He stopped and threw a pass back across the grain to uncovered tight end Robert Johnson for the touchdown. That tied the game at 14-14 with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
Auburn got the ball back at the 7:41 mark when free safety Donnay Young, making his first college start, intercepted an overthrown Green pass and returned it 16 yards to the AU 49. Alton Moore and Mark Brown pressured the QB on the play.
However, Georgia got the ball back three plays later when Cobb was intercepted by Tim Wansley, who returned the pigskin to the Tiger 36. After a first down, Georgia had to settle for a 38-yard field goal attempt. In almost an identical play to the first field goal try, Moore leaped high and blocked the ball. Hood picked up the ball and returned it six yards to the Tiger 37.
Auburn then sent Campbell back into the game at QB. The Tigers quickly moved into UGA territory on a 21-yard run by Williams. The Tigers first had to settle for a 53-yard Duval field goal attempt that fell well short, but the Tigers got a second chance when Wansley ran into the kicker. The five-yard penalty gave the Tigers a first down. AU again stalled at the 16 and this time Duval was on target from 32 yards out with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tigers blew a golden opportunity to add some insurance by driving into UGA territory on their next possession with conservative running plays. Faced with a fourth and four at Georgia 31, Campbell was sacked by Grant for a nine-yard loss.
Five plays later the game was even on a 43-yard Bennett field goal. The field goal tied it at 17-17 with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter.
After a Hood return from the end zone, the Tigers started at their own 22 with Cobb back in the game at quarterback. On the first play from the shotgun, Williams burst through the middle for 18 yards.
A 61-yard screen pass from Cobb to Williams put the Tigers first and goal just inside the three. On second down from the one, Caddy went airborne at left guard for the TD with 6:47 left in the game. The five-play drive put the Tigers on top 24-17 with 6:47 to play and proved to be the winning margin.
Although there were no more points scored, there was plenty of drama.
The Bulldogs drove 11 plays from their own 20 before running out of downs on fourth seven from the Auburn nine. Auburn took over with 2:21 left and Williams gained six yards and then three before he was stopped for no gain on third down. After that play the Bulldogs burned their third and final timeout and got the ball back with 1:10 to play at the Tiger 45. With less than stellar clock management, the home team was only able to run five more plays before they came up one yard and seven points short to fall to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the SEC.