Georgia beat Auburn 27-10 on Saturday in its last regular season conference game. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:
In a top-25 matchup, the first quarter presented an interesting dynamic for Georgia. Both the offense and the defense saw key moments of success but also important missed opportunities. From the second quarter on, both saw a stronger performance and helped Georgia regain the lead and pull away from Auburn.
The Georgia defense’s start was not the cleanest. It let two big plays slip on Auburn’s first drive of the game and the Tigers earned a first down. The Bulldogs responded with a tackle for loss by Tae Crowder, D’Andre Walker and Tyler Clark, which forced Auburn to punt. They fixed the holes early on, and held Auburn to 32 rushing yards in the first half, and 102 yards overall. The defense then dominated throughout the remainder of the game, as they held Auburn scoreless after a field goal in the second quarter.
The offense moved the ball down the field well on its first drive, which ended with a field goal. Head coach Kirby Smart referenced earlier in the season the importance of scoring on the offense’s opening drive. Rodrigo Blankenship hit a field goal from the 25-yard line, but the offense struggled to convert in the red zone.
Red zone conversions continued to be a problem throughout the first half. The drives down the field were strong, but both the passing and rushing attempts to score touchdowns were unsuccessful and Georgia settled for two field goals. It wasn’t until there was less than three minutes left in the second quarter that Georgia scored its first touchdown. Tyler Simmons caught the pass from Jake Fromm, his first career touchdown catch.
Even with the early red-zone struggles, Georgia fixed the problem with the success outside the red zone. A 38-yard touchdown catch from Terry Godwin in the second quarter and a 77-yard touchdown run from D’Andre Swift in the fourth quarter helped Georgia pull away from Auburn.
Freshman quarterback Justin Fields also played a role for Georgia’s offense. He sporadically came in for snaps throughout the game, but played a drive during the fourth quarter. He completed 100 percent of his passes, two-for-two, for 20 yards, after his third pass to Jeremiah Holloman was recorded as a pass interference and also had five carries. He was sacked on his last carry for a loss of 16 yards.
Players who mattered
Terry Godwin: Godwin was a key receiver throughout the first half, ending Georgia’s last drive of the half with a 38-yard touchdown. His two catches were important plays that helped to move the offense down the field. He had three catches for 84 yards in the first half alone, with each catch being more than 20 yards.
Jake Fromm: Fromm led a successful offense against Auburn. He was 13-of-20 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, completing 65 percent of his passes. However, he threw one interception in the third quarter. It turned out to be not as significant, because although Auburn earned a first down, it was forced to punt.
D’Andre Swift: Swift led the offense in both rushing and receiving yards. He had his third consecutive game of over 100 rushing yards, breaking his record again with 186 total rushing yards. He scored a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter to secure Georgia’s win.