Loss drops Dawgs in rankings

After a heartbreaking 24-17 Southeastern Conference loss to Auburn last Saturday, Georgia fell from No. 19 to No. 23 in the latest Associated Press football poll and out of the coaches poll. Meanwhile, Auburn moved from No. 24 to No. 17.

Miami is still No. 1 in the AP media poll. The Hurricanes (8-0) beat upstart Boston College 18-7 on Saturday, then held off No. 2 Nebraska (11-0) in Sunday's balloting by the 72 sports writers and broadcasters on the AP panel.

Miami wasn't as lucky in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, where Nebraska took over the No. 1 spot, with the Hurricanes second.

In The Associated Press Top 25, Miami received 44 first-place votes and 1,768 points, with Nebraska collecting the other 28 first-place votes and 1,756 points.

Last week, Miami led Nebraska by 36 points. The Huskers are just 12 points behind now. Nebraska beat Kansas State 31-21 on Saturday after trailing by a point at halftime.

The Bowl Championship Series standings, which had Nebraska first and Miami second last week, will be released on Monday. The final BCS standings on Dec. 9 determine which teams play for a national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.

The AP media poll and the coaches poll are part of the BCS formula, which also uses computer ratings and strength of schedule to come up with its top teams.

Georgia still needs one win to become bowl eligible. The Bulldogs (5-3 overall, 4-3 conference) have remaining games at SEC rival Mississippi this Saturday and at Georgia Tech on Nov. 24 before returning home to play Houston on Dec. 1. The Ole Miss game will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and is being televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot.

Auburn, now 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference, will play in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 8 in the Georgia Dome if the Tigers beat either Alabama this week or LSU.

All three of Georgia's losses have been decided in the fourth quarter, including two in the final 1:22.

The decisive play of the Auburn game was an ill-advised first-down run out of the Bulldogs' jumbo formation. It's a play Georgia head coach Mark Richt says the Bulldogs have had perfect success with on short-yardage situations this season.

With 16 seconds remaining, and Georgia on the Auburn 1-yard line and out of timeouts, the Bulldogs lined up in a power-I, two-tight end set. Quarterback David Greene took the snap and handed off to tailback Jasper Sanks for a run off left tackle. But Sanks never had a chance to score. He was met at the line of scrimmage, swarmed by a host of Auburn defensive players. Georgia could not get off another play before time expired.

Richt second-guessed himself for calling for a run. Had Georgia not run the ball, the Bulldogs could possibly have gotten off two, three or even four plays. Given another opportunity, Richt probably would have called for a fade pass to 6-foot-4 wide receiver Fred Gibson. If incomplete, the Bulldogs likely would have had time for another pass or two, including a running pass. The lead off tackle play would have been better to use with two or three seconds left. Instead, it was late-game time mismanagement similar to that in the Bulldogs' 14-9 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 8.

Auburn coaches said they devoted extra time preparing for the play last week in practice, and several Auburn players said Saturday night they knew what play Georgia was going to use.

Still, Richt said he thinks Georgia could have scored had the play been executed properly.

"We did not block it well at all and Auburn did a good job stopping it," he said. "It (the lead off left tackle play) should've been called on the last play of the game after we had passed the ball. Unfortunately, I made it the last play."

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