Tigers Looking To End Bulldog Streak

Georgia has won two in a row over the Tigers including last year's "Blackout" game in Athens.

Auburn, Ala.--Last year's loss to the Georgia Bulldogs was one that many Auburn players won't soon forget. In addition to the humbling 45-20 score in a game that the Tigers led 20-14 in the third quarter, it was just as much about the atmosphere surrounding the game that sticks with the players heading into Saturday's showdown.

Instituting the first "Blackout" game for the Bulldogs, coach Mark Richt got his fans and team riled up into a frenzy heading into the game. Things didn't really take a turn for the worse until the fourth quarter though. With the game in hand the Bulldogs began to dance on the field and on the sidelines, even featuring choreographed routines with Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown. Senior receiver and Georgia native Rod Smith says it's something he still thinks about to this day.

"That has been on my mind for the whole year, the memory of that," Smith says. "Whoever was calling the game (CBS with Verne Lundquist) those guys were up in the press box doing the dance with them. That just got to me. It's just another opportunity coming into this game we can try to get them back for what they did to us last year. I have definitely been looking forward to this game. This is the game that has been marked on my calendar since last year."

Georgia players and coaches living it up on the sidelines and on top of the benches last season in Athens.

Everyone looks differently at every situation and that's the case with the current Auburn team. While Smith was up front with his feelings about last year's game, junior cornerback Jerraud Powers says he didn't take things personal because he understands what message Richt was trying to get across to his team.

"It was a lot of fun from their point of view," Powers says. "It was exciting just because of the atmosphere they brought because of the blackout. They were having fun because they were winning towards the end of the game. We wish we were in that position. We didn't take that personal because we know coach (Mark) Richt does things to get his players motivated sort of like last year when they scored the first touchdown against Florida and everybody rushed the field. He just knows ways to get his team motivated. We didn't take it personal."

While Powers says that Smith thinks it actually may be just the opposite. Remembering back to that game one year ago may very well bring back some painful thoughts for the Tigers to deal with this week. Senior linebacker Chris Evans says it was more than just the blackout last season, it was about the defense giving up 28 second half points in the loss.

"You've got to think about stuff like that," Evans says. "Last year left a bitter taste in our mouth. It was because of the loss. It was the other stuff too, but mainly because of the loss."

For Smith though the message resonated loud and clear. He says it's time to get the upper hand against Georgia once again and no better time than the present for the senior and Georgia native. He says he can't think of a better way to start out what he hopes is a magical end to an otherwise disappointing season.

"I'm sure it didn't sit well to many of the guys on the team," Smith says. "It was just a hurtful feeling sitting on the sidelines and to see those guys over there dancing. It hurt. We have an opportunity to get those guys back.

"It's going to be a great atmosphere," he adds. "As seniors this is our last chance to play Georgia. They've got the best of us the last two years. It's an opportunity for us to go out on top and get a victory. What better way to finish up the season than with two big wins starting with Georgia this week."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories