Athens, Ga.—It wasn't quite a repeat performance for quarterback Brandon Cox and the Auburn offense, but the similarities between the 2006 and 2007 performances are too much to overlook as the Tigers were again dominated by the Georgia Bulldogs in a 45-20 loss in Athens.
Despite running three more plays than Georgia for the game, Auburn was outgained 417 to 216 as the Bulldogs again put a whipping on the Tigers on both sides of the ball. While it was Matthew Stafford making plays on offense, for Auburn it was again a lack of plays that kept it from making a run at its Eastern Division rival.
"It was one of those nights," Cox says. "We just didn't execute offensively and there at the end our defense didn't stop anybody. We really haven't gotten beat like this since I can remember. It was a tough night."
That is an understatement for Cox and the entire offense as the senior completed just 14-30 passes for 133 yards with four interceptions. It started early as well as Georgia's Kelin Johnson stepped in front of his first pass of the day for a pick. The turnover led to three points and was a sign of things to come.
"It was just another tough night," Cox says. "We couldn't get anything going. Everything went Georgia's way and nothing really went our way. It was just bad luck. It was another tough one. I seem to have them every year. I can't really do anything about it now."
While Cox's numbers aren't very pretty, it was an ugly game from just about every perspective on defense. Numerous dropped passes and lost yardage plays kept the offense from getting a rhythm, something Cox says is just tough to overcome.
"It (Georgia's defense) was nothing different, we were just hurting ourselves," Cox says. "They did every thing we knew they were going to do. We just couldn't execute."
Trailing Georgia by two touchdowns in the first half, Auburn mounted a serious rally as the Tigers scored on an eight-play, 65-yard drive to cut things to just seven with 6:13 left in the half. Auburn answered in the second half as well with a four-play, 27-yard drive capped off by a Mario Fannin touchdown reception.
Another drive, this time 11 plays, resulted in field goal to give Auburn its only lead of the game with 6:47 left in the third quarter. From that point on it was all Georgia. While the Bulldogs were running up and down the field on the Tigers, Auburn managed just 44 yards on 19 plays on its final five possessions with three ending in interceptions.
"I thought we got something going," Cox says. "Our defense was starting to play well. I didn't figure they would really give up much the rest of the game. We got something going offensively and I thought we would put some more points up. It turned around pretty quickly."
"We let the doggone game get away from us a little bit," offensive coordinator Al Borges says. "We did a good job of getting back in the game when it was 17-3. We did a really nice job of getting back in the game. We made some nice plays and took advantage of some opportunities. We came back in the second half feeling good about ourselves and somehow we let it slip away."