Auburn Rewind: How sweet it is as Dogs bury the Tigers and head back to the Georgia Dome and SEC championship game
Posted on Nov 11, 2012 by Murray Poole |
AUBURN – Two years ago on this very field, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray took some questionable hits in the back by Auburn All-America nose guard Nick Fairley as the national champion-bound Tigers steamrolled the Bulldogs by 49-31.
Well, Murray, you might say, extracted sweet revenge while making the Tigers pay in a big way here Saturday night. With the Georgia junior passing for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, and the running game complementing him pretty well also, Georgia (9-1, final 7-1 SEC) buried the Tigers 38-0 to lock up its second consecutive SEC East Division title and will play Alabama in the SEC title game Dec. 1 at the Georgia Dome. That is if the previously-unbeaten Crimson Tide, which was stunningly upset by Texas A&M 29-24 Saturday, sews up the West crown by bouncing back and defeating hapless Auburn (2-8).
And going hand-in-hand with the Bulldogs’ offensive fireworks was a Georgia defensive unit that continued to play lights out for the third straight game, not only limiting the Tigers to 238 total yards but also, of course, not allowing Auburn to put a single point on the Jordan-Hare scoreboard the night long.
“Oh, it’s awesome (to clinch the East again),” said Murray. “After that game at South Carolina, to every week be praying that a team will lose and luckily they did. This is the SEC. Like I’ve been saying all year, you just never know who’s going to win. We just knew we had to do our job, and that is to continue to win and continue to put ourselves in position. If teams did lose, we would be able to get back. And, like I said, South Carolina lost a couple and we’ve won out the rest of the way. We’ve continued to get better every week. I’m just extremely proud of our guys.”
Murray said he didn’t really use his adversity against Auburn and Fairley two years ago as extra motivation for this year’s game.“Oh, I try not to remember that,” he said, smiling. “I was just walking by the training room and I looked in there. I was like, ‘Man, I never want to be in there ever again.’ I do remember that two years ago but it’s just a completely different feeling, a completely different team now. And like I said, I’m just extremely proud of our guys.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt was just very thankful after the big victory, happy the way his team battled back from the adversity of the South Carolina loss and did everything it took to get back to Atlanta and the SEC championship tilt.
“Obviously, we played well,” said Richt. “I was really proud of everybody. It was a very outstanding performance by everybody—offense, defense, special teams. It was a great crowd for Georgia tonight. The Redcoat Band was there and it was a very nice field celebration (of our) victory with our fans and our band and our families and our team. I’m just very thankful to have the opportunity to go back to Atlanta.
“ I’m very excited about winning the East,” Richt continued. “I’m very excited about going to Atlanta. There’s no doubt about that. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then. We have a couple of games to be played. We have Georgia Southern coming up this week that we know is going to be a challenge, and we’ve got to work hard to prepare for them, and we also have to work hard in just getting better as a football team as we progress throughout the year. I think we’ve been improving as we go, and hopefully we keep it going.”
The Bulldogs marched to touchdowns on their only two possessions of the first quarter, going 76 yards on their first score and then wheeling 80 yards for the second. A 49-yard run by Todd Gurley down the left sidelines sparked the first drive, which was capped by Murray’s 6-yard pass to Chris Conley. Malcolm Mitchell ignited the second excursion with a 16-yard end-around run and Murray connected on four consecutive passes before then taking the ball himself to the Auburn 5 on a 15-yard run. He then passed to Mitchell for the touchdown with 1:19 left in the period and after Marshall Morgan added his second PAT kick, Georgia was off and running at 14-0.
And Murray would continue to riddle the Auburn secondary in the second period, throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to King, who made a sensational catch just inside fair territory in the right side of the end zone. That pass came immediately after Murray had to leave the game for one play following an Auburn hit. Georgia would then blink the board to 28-0 with 5:09 left to halftime when Gurley surged in from the 6-yard line. Gurley’s score was set up by a 55-yard Murray pass to King and capped a quick 90-yard, five-play drive. When the half ended, Murray had completed 16-of-20 attempts for 186 yards and the three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs then received the second-half kickoff and drove down to the Tiger 2-yard line before having to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Morgan, thus increasing the lead to 31-0 with 8:18 in the third. The Bulldogs then bumped the lead to 38-0 when Keith Marshall finally got to show his sprinter’s speed once again, breaking through the Tiger secondary and jetting 62 yards for the score. That run made it 38-0 with still 4:34 to go in the third quarter. But that was to be all the scoring this night as the Auburn fans exited the stadium in droves throughout the final quarter and the Georgia faithful started to kick into celebratory mode.
Let’s keep this simple. Every single facet of the Bulldogs’ game worked this night with the biggest factor being that Georgia came out with the motivation it needed to put the Tigers away quickly and coast to the easy victory that takes them full throttle into the final games against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech and the SEC championship game. Georgia finished the night with 497 yards of offense while limiting the Tigers to just the 238 yards, only 57 of that coming on the ground.
What Didn’t Work
Nothing, absolutely nothing, goes into this category.
Playing just three quarters before giving way to Parker Welch and Christian LeMay, Murray finished the night with 18-of-24 completions for 208 yards and the three scores. The receivers were many with Malcolm Mitchell snaring five passes for 47 yards, Chris Conley stepping up with four receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown and Tavarres King, who wore the No. 15 jersey in honor of his injured buddy, Marlon Brown, showing three catches for 73 yards including the spectacular 17-yard touchdown grab plus his 55-yard reception that set up another Bulldog score.
Rushing-wise, Gurley rambled for 116 yards on 11 carries and thanks to his long run, Marshall joined him in the century club by racing for 105 on eight trips, each of course converting a touchdown. Defensively, junior linebacker Alec Ogletree again led in tackles with 10, including one sack and two tackles-for-loss. Senior safety Bacarri Rambo had eight tackles and an interception, which gave him a career total of 15 picks and left him just one away from matching the school record of 16 held by former great, Jake Scott. Shawn Williams recorded five tackles while All-America Jarvis Jones contributed four tackles, including two-for-loss, and also added two more sacks to his career total. Freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins also recorded a sack of Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace.
Eagles, Jackets and then a Tide
Georgia will look to cap off an 11-1 regular season with wins over Georgia Southern and the state-rival Jackets between the hedges before confronting what should be an upset Alabama team in the Georgia Dome.
“We just still got to take it week by week,” said Jarvis Jones. “Just keep executing and keep trying to get better. Alabama losing, we can’t control that. We just got to control ourselves. We don’t want to lose the next two weeks. We know that’s a good team (Georgia Southern) we got next week. They gave Alabama a good game last year so we’ve got to keep executing and making plays.
Tagged: georgia football, auburn tigers, aaron murray, todd gurley, keith marshall, tavarres king, jarvis jones, chris conley, marshall morgan, mark richt, sec championship game, alec ogletree, bacarri rambo, alabama crimson tide, georgia southern eagles, georgia tech yellow jackets
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