Dawgs try to move pass loss

AUBURN, Ala. -- Georgia's thoughts of a national title survived an early, narrow loss to Tennessee.

They did not make it through Saturday's 24-6 whipping at the hands of No. 3 Auburn. The No. 8 Bulldogs themselves are lucky they made it out alive.

"When you get beat like that, there's not much you can say other than they whipped us and congratulations," Coach Mark Richt said.

Only a touchdown pass with 2:13 left kept it from being the worst loss of the Richt era and Georgia's first shutout since 1995.

"They were the better team tonight," defensive tackle Kedric Golston said. "I'm not going to sit here and say if we played them they'd beat us 9 out of 10 times, but they are a good football team and they whipped us tonight."

The only other time the Bulldogs (8-2, 6-2 SEC) have been handled so thoroughly was in a 34-13 loss to LSU in last year's SEC title game. And, just like that time, Georgia missed a golden opportunity early and never recovered.

In last year's game, running back Kregg Lumpkin dropped an early pass that would have resulted in a big gain and possibly a touchdown.

Saturday it was quarterback David Greene, who had Reggie Brown wide open for a touchdown but threw off his back foot and had the pass picked off by Carlos Rogers. A touchdown would have tied the game at 7-7 early in second quarter.

Instead, Auburn quickly marched 80 yards to go ahead 14-0 and rolled from there.

"It killed a drive, but it happens," said Greene, who had thrown an SEC-record 214 passes without an interception before that play. "If you play the game long enough, that happens."

The ball should have been thrown either harder or deeper, Greene said, and Richt added his quarterback waited too long to let it go.

Whatever the case, once the Bulldogs blinked, it was over. When Auburn was done, it had 404 yards to Georgia's 279. It was the Bulldogs' second-lowest yardage total of the season, and it was 87 fewer yards than Tiger tailbacks Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams accumulated by themselves.

"It was the same style of game (as the LSU game)," linebacker Odell Thurman said. "We just got outplayed tonight."

The Bulldogs faced their biggest deficit of the season by halftime as they trailed 17-0. Georgia trailed just 7-0 after the first quarter but it had almost three times as many penalty yards (29) as offensive yards (10) in the second quarter, and Auburn scored 10 points in the final 5:11 of the half.

"They were in pretty good control from the beginning," fullback Jeremy Thomas said. "We had our shots on offense. We did some things to hurt ourselves, but they whipped us, man."

Georgia now has an off week before finishing its regular season Nov. 27 against Georgia Tech in Sanford Stadium.

"You've got to have a short memory in football," Thurman said. "We're not a team that's going to sit around and dwell on this because if we do, we'll slip up and let Georgia Tech beat us."

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