No. 5 Georgia used a dominating rushing attack and ran through, around and over No. 23 Auburn, 27-10 to win the 123rd edition of The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Sophomore running back D’Andre Swift rushed for a career high 186 yards on 17 carries and his running mate Elijah Holyfielid had 15 carries for 93 yards as the Bulldogs’ power game racked up 303 rushing yards. Quarterback Jake Fromm completed 13 of 20 passes for 193 yards with two clutch touchdown passes and an interception.
Georgia’s defense held Auburn (6-4, 3-4) to a total of 274 yards and shut the Plainsmen out in the second half. Linebacker Monty Rice paced the Dawgs’ defense once again with eight tackles. Sophomore cornerback Mark Webb and safety Richard LeCounte each contributed six tackles.
Auburn’s hope of derailing Georgia’s playoff aspirations fell short for the second time in less than a year. The Dawgs beat the Tigers in last season’s SEC Championship Game.
The game opened with Auburn driving to midfield before being forced to punt. After a 10-play, 80-yard drive stalled on the Dawgs’ first possession at the four yard line, Georgia settled for a 22-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Auburn took a 7-3 to lead after a 75 yard drive for the game’s first touchdown. That came on an option pass from running back Jatarvious Witlow.
After an exchange of field goals, the Bulldogs trailed 10-6 with the first half winding down. Mecole Hardman Jr. returned the kickoff 41 yards and Fromm hit Tyler Simmons on a 14-yard pass for his first career touchdown.
Blankenship’s conversion made the score 13-10 and after a three and out, Georgia had the ball back with two minutes remaining on its own 30-yard line. With the help of a 24-yard run by Swift, Georgia moved to the Auburn 38 with 21 seconds remaining. On fourth down and 3, Fromm hit wideout Terry Godwin on a slant pattern and the senior raced 38 yards to the house and a 20-10 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as neither team was able to sustain a drive.
The Bulldogs put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Swift sprinted for a 77-yard touchdown run.
With the Sanford Stadium sellout celebrating and singing along to the piped-in music, Kirby Smart dug into his back of tricks late in the game. Fan-favorite Rodrigo Blankenship lined up for a field goal attempt with 3:20 left in the game, but instead, the ball was direct snapped to the kicker and he lofted a pretty spiral to Isaac Nauta in the end zone but the ball was slightly out of reach. Maybe it was a good thing Nauta didn’t come down with the ball because Sanford Stadium may have crumbled a bit.
Georgia (9-1, 7-1) hosts FBS UMass (4-7) on November 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.