Film Don't Lie: Dawgs vs. Auburn

ATHENS - Dawg Post's Jonathan Branch breaks down the key plays during Georgia's 20-13 win over Auburn.

The Joystick

1. The TV broadcast really missed the formation with a tight shot from the end zone on the punter and protector (literally, the worst view possible), so we pick things up with the ball in the air. The punt forces McKenzie to travel to his left. If the punt were cornered, or buried close to the sideline, Auburn's coverage team may have a chance to corral McKenzie. But the punt drifts over the middle of the field and comes down near the hash. Notice McKenzie’s two options here based on the coverage unit. He can split the dangerous defender in front of him and can also use Chuks Amaechi to set up a block. Either way, he has two sizable lanes to take. 2. As the coverage team gets downfield, McKenzie fields the punt and his two options are still viable. Georgia’s blockers aren’t in perfect position, but that’s where McKenzie’s ability makes everyone look better. 3. McKenzie lets his momentum carry him toward the boundary, forcing Auburn’s gunner (matched up with Amaechi) to try and contain him. Only Auburn’s gunner has overrun the edge and must now get his hips turned around to defend McKenzie. 4. As the defender adjusts to McKenzie’s dart to the sideline, Amaechi is able to get in position to cut the gunner out of the play. In doing so, he will eventually take the chase defender (behind McKenzie and also in the yellow circle) out of the play, as well. Notice the room McKenzie has to work with. Only two Auburn defenders can truly make a play on him. One of them, at the 40-yard line, is taking an angle to cut McKenzie off if he continues to the boundary. But joysticks move in any direction at any given moment… 5. McKenzie sees a cutback lane (and blockers), so before the Auburn defender can cut him off near the numbers, he cuts back to the middle of the field. 6. Notice Amaechi’s block (really he’s just playing speed bump) has now taken the trailing defender out of the play. In the meantime, he’s picking up another key block inside from Ben Souther. This gives McKenzie the alley he’s looking for to the inside. 7. Michael Chigbu (circled) seals the outside of the alley with a key and, most importantly, legal block. 8. McKenzie is ahead of most of the defenders at this point. The only threat left is the punter, who is covered by Aaron Davis. 9. It’s essentially an iso play with McKenzie vs. the punter. 10. McKenzie decides to continue to the opposite side of the field, cutting across the face of the punter, who gives a valiant effort at bringing down McKenzie... 11. …But he comes up a bit short. Now he has a blocker in Ryan Rankin and an Auburn punt protector/offensive lineman left in front of him. Again, he has two lanes to choose from. 12. He has plenty of room on either side of the remaining defender and whole lot of speed to burn. 13. He kicks it into another gear and runs to green grass, outrunning the remaining Auburn defenders all the way to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. 

Dawgs Get the Strip

1. Here, Auburn trails Georgia 20-10 and needs a score to have a real shot at winning the game/forcing OT. This is a third-and-2 for Auburn at the Georgia 5. Ricardo Louis motions to the strong side of the field, showing the common jet sweep/option play that Auburn employs. I’ve identified the majority of members of Georgia's defensive backfield. 2. The arrows here aren’t so much as where the players end up… The red indicates the blocks that should be carried out in order for the play to have a chance, but there’s some confusion/missed assignments or reads by the Tigers. The yellows indicate the keys for the defense. Sanders is over the top of the defense keying on Louis and the jet sweep across the field. If he sees Louis take the ball, his role is to fill the empty gap and cut down the ball carrier (Louis). Aaron Davis protects the backside edge which, along with a stout defensive line push, takes away the QB keep if the option is in play. 3. Here’s where things get hairy for Auburn. Melvin Ray is the wideout on the bottom side of the screen. He’s lined up against Malkom Parrish, but as the play ensues, he turns in and blocks down on Sanders, whose role is to shadow the jet sweep. That allows Parrish to come free and set the play side edge. At the same time, Auburn’s H-back elects to block Mauger, leaving the running back to pick up Parrish OR the most dangerous defender. In this case, Lorenzo Carter becomes the most dangerous, as he is in position to meet Louis in the backfield. That forces the back to pick up Carter and leave Parrish on the edge free, with help inside to clean up. 4. The red arrow here indicates where the play is designed to go. Parrish is there on the edge, taking the designed run away. Now let’s key on Carter, who will eventually force the fumble, and Kimbrough who helps maintain gap integrity and helps recover the aforementioned fumble. Carter is already positioning himself to shed the block from Auburn’s tailback. Kimbrough knows he has frontside help so he maintains his position so as to not over run the play and leave gaps on the weak side. 5. Louis bails on the plan, as Auburn is outflanked to the right. 6. Louis has two options—take it all the way to the boundary and up or cut up the middle of the field. Georgia is in position to take away both. Jordan Jenkins is now unblocked and can set the edge, while Davis is still downfield in wider position to set the edge. Kimbrough and Michael Barnett Jr. can protect the cutback to the middle, as Ganus gives chase from the backside. Carter is also circled here. 7. Kimbrough continues to read the ballcarrier and fit himself in position. Carter on the other hand is getting down the line to cut Louis off. His closing speed on this play was impressive. 8. Carter makes impact, and as he wraps Louis up, he jostles the ball loose. 9. With Kimbrough in position up the middle, he’s the first Bulldog with a chance to recover, while Auburn has a lineman in position to recover, as well. However, Kimbrough makes a heads-up play. He is either trying to scoop it himself or (and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) he’s pulling a Lucy and the Auburn lineman is Charlie Brown. Kimbrough’s keep-away ends up moving the ball to several Georgia defenders coming in to the scrum and prevents the Auburn lineman from getting the ball. Georgia would recover, albeit it in the shadow of its own goal line, and forced Auburn to burn all three of its timeouts on consecutive plays. 

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