ATHENS, Ga. — Against Tennessee earlier in the season, Georgia made a memorable last-minute march down the field with the help of one timeout.
Against Auburn Saturday, Georgia fell one yard short in its last-minute attempt to force overtime, and its players and coaches could not help thinking about how much one timeout would have helped.
Georgia had no timeouts when it took possession at the Auburn 45 with 1:10 left to play, but with 13:22 left in the fourth quarter it was charged with what proved to be a controversial and costly timeout.
After Auburn's Carnell Williams rushed for 9 yards on a first-down play, Georgia defensive tackle David Pollack needed help with his chin strap.
"I was trying to fix it and one ref was helping me fix it,'' Pollack said.
"He fixed it and we're about to start a play and then the other ref came in and said ‘That's a timeout.' ''
Georgia was charged with the timeout but believed it should have been an equipment timeout.
"That was a critical issue,'' said Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner. "The officials were even trying to help (Pollack) fix his helmet.''
The streak continues: Georgia now has lost five straight home games to Auburn since last beating the Tigers in Athens in 1991. Overall, Auburn now is 17-8 in the series in Athens, while Georgia is 11-8-2 in Auburn.
"I'm not superstitious,'' said Georgia coach Mark Richt. "I just think they played better than us tonight.''
Radio blues: As he began to leave the postgame interview room, Richt managed a smile as he asked: "Anybody want to do my show (Sunday)?''
Richt was referring to his weekly radio call-in show on the Georgia radio network on Sunday night. With back-to-back losses to Florida and Auburn, Richt may have been anticipating more difficult questions from callers who to this point have generally been easy on the coach in his honeymoon period of his first year on the job.
Record for Gibson: With two catches for 111 yards, freshman Fred Gibson became the first Georgia player to have four 100-yard games in a season.
Gibson has recorded four straight 100-yard games.
Worth noting: Georgia last had two field-goal attempts blocked in a 1995 game against Clemson. ... Terrence Edwards' 56-yard touchdown reception gave him 17 for his career, giving him sole possession of second place in the Georgia records. Brice Hunter set the record with 19 from 1992-94. ... Tim Wansley intercepted his first pass of the season after sharing the SEC lead with six last year. He also caused a fumble, his third of the year.
Hello champ: Long-time Georgia fan and heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield spoke to the team before the game and was on the sideline, wearing a No. 5 Georgia jersey. Why No. 5? Holyfield says he's making a try for his fifth boxing championship.
... And another Champ: Also visiting on the Georgia sideline was former Georgia cornerback and receiver Champ Bailey, now with the Washington Redskins, who are off this weekend. Joining Bailey was former Georgia running back Robert Edwards.
... And another No. 5: Former Georgia kicker Kevin Butler was introduced at midfield prior to the game and presented a plaque by his former coach, Georgia athletics director Vince Dooley, in recognition of Butler becoming the first kicker inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. Butler will be inducted in December at the Waldorff Astoria Hotel in New York City. Butler was Georgia's honorary captain Saturday.
Butler was a two-time All-American and three-time All-SEC pick. He set the school career scoring record with 353 points and kicked the longest field goal in school history, a 60-yarder against Clemson in 1984.
Butler's long NFL career included 11 years with the Chicago Bears.
Recruiting update: Georgia had a big recruiting weekend for the Auburn game. Among the recruits making official visits were running back L.A. Adams of Charlotte, N.C.; defensive end Preston Pannell of Crisp County High School and Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, and offensive lineman James Redmond, a 2001 Georgia signee who has left Fork Union Military Academy.
Oconee County safety Tony Taylor, the son of former Georgia linebacker Nate Taylor, became Georgia's fourth verbal. Quarterback Joe Tereshinski III of Athens Academy and two offensive linemen — Josh Brock of Cartersville, Ga., and Bartley Miller of Marist High — also have said they will sign with Georgia.
The latest on video: It didn't take the Georgia promotions department long to come out with a video of highlights from the Bulldogs' win at Tennessee. The video, complete with the play-by-play calls of Larry Munson, is available by calling 1-800-993-2947 or can be ordered at www.georgiadogs.com.
Charles Odum can be reached at CEOdum@aol.com.