Raise your hand if you had Auburn by 23. 2.5-point underdogs at home, the Tigers answered an early Georgia touchdown with 30 consecutive points stretching into the third quarter. They controlled the whole game from that point on.
The Tigers turned in their best performance in over three years — a 40-17 rout of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Needing a win over the number one team in the nation, Auburn turned the Iron Bowl into a winner-take-all contest for the SEC West title and threw a wrench into the College Football Playoff picture in one sweeping motion.
Beating this Georgia team was easily Gus Malzahn’s biggest win at Auburn since the 2013 Iron Bowl, and it has given the Tigers exactly what they need to tangle with Alabama in two weeks: confidence and momentum.
Players of the Game
It was truly impossible to choose which one had a greater impact on the game.
Johnson ran for 167 yards on 32 carries and caught two passes for 66 yards and the game-sealing touchdown, becoming the first player to run for 100 yards on Georgia’s defense in 12 games.
On the other side of the ball, Holland continued his disruptive habits, logging five tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. He now has nine sacks and three forced fumbles on the season.
Game Recap and Analysis
Everything worked for Auburn. The Tigers lit up a defense that gave up 11.7 points and 254.1 yards per game. Auburn was balanced with 251 passing yards and 237 rushing yards, averaged 6.8 yards per play, picked up 25 first downs, and never turned the ball over.
Jarrett Stidham was as sharp as ever (16 of 23, 214 yards, three touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown) while Kerryon Johnson (167 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, 66 receiving yards and a touchdown) outplayed the vaunted tailback duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel (48 yards and 2.4 yards per carry combined).
Auburn’s receivers came up with big plays as well, with Darius Slayton (two catches, 43 yards and a touchdown) catching the game’s signature deep bomb and Ryan Davis taking a tunnel screen 32 yards to the house.
In other words, it was the best game Auburn’s offense has played all season.
And as they have all season, the defense held up their end of the bargain. Against a Georgia offense that, in retrospect, hadn’t been challenged by an elite defense all season, the Tigers were unrelenting.
After giving up a quick score on the game’s opening drive, Auburn adjusted and forced five straight punts from UGA. On the afternoon, Georgia only managed 17 points (seven of which came in garbage time) and 230 total yards.
Most shocking was Auburn’s complete dismantling of the Georgia run game, an attack that averaged an SEC-leading 279.3 yards per game. They managed 46 yards on 1.4 yards per carry against the Tigers stout defensive front. Jake Fromm had little time to throw against the likes of Jeff Holland and Dontavius Russell, both of whom registered a sack.
What was just a 16-7 lead at halftime turned into a 30-7 blowout by the middle of the third quarter, and it was all because Auburn flexed its muscle in a way it hadn’t all season.
The Tigers have shown repeatedly that they’re capable of dominating opponents all season. However, this is the first time they’ve done it on the biggest stage possible. Against Georgia, Auburn showed the college football world thatthey can do it all. The Tigers featured an explosive passing attack, a punishing run, and a smothering defense.