Athens expected nothing less than a show on Saturday night and that is exactly what the Sanford Crowd and the nation received. A show.
The only action the Auburn Tigers showed was on their first possession. The rest was all Georgia as the Bulldogs welcomed back Tailback, Todd Gurley. After being sidelined for four weeks, nothing less than an explosive performance was expected from the early season Heisman hopeful.
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry contained all the elements that a good clean rivalry has. A rivalry must have a motivation to retaliate and of course, a motto to carry through. Georgia had both.
First of all, georgia’s motivation was fueled by the return of Todd Gurley returning from NCAA suspension and an impressive road game win to stir Georgia spirits to an all-time high. Georgia also had the upper hand returning to Athens after 42 days of road games while Auburn fumbled and crumbled to Texas A&M prior to Athens.
Second of all, Georgia was out for revenge afting having a year to relive the miracle catch from Auburn QB, Nick Marshall, to Ricardo Louis in the Plains. That thirst for revenge paid off and this year belonged to Georgia.
Georgia (8-2, 6-2 SEC) came out to a hyped-up and blacked-out stadium that demanded a lights out performance against Auburn (8-2, 5-1 SEC)
Here are a few take a ways:
Solid, Busted-up Defense:
Jeremy Pruitt’s defense was almost unrecognizable when compared to the Georgia-Florida Classic. Georgia’s front line held the top offensive unit in the country to the fewest yards of Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s tenure. Georgia held Auburn to a mere 292-yards of offense and seven points, Auburn’s lowest point total since being shut out in the Iron Bowl in 2012. Georgia adjusted by moving Leonard Floyd to the “star position”, leaving room for Lorenzo Carter to shift back into the line up opposite of Jordan Jenkins. In short, the line was stacked and the Auburn offense would have needed wings to get past the line.
Double-Trouble on the Running Game:
The dynamic was more intense than the season-opening Clemson game. Georgia came into the SEC match up with their backfield fully intact. Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley worked in tandum to lead the Dawgs to a dominant win over Auburn. Chubb collected 144-yards with two touchdowns and has migrated past the 1,000-yard mark while topping the 100-yard marker for the fifth straight game. Gurley notched 138-yards and a touchdown before leaving the game in the fourth quarter.
SEC East Title still Undeclared:
Georgia took care of the Auburn Tiger with ease, but relied on Missouri to fall to Texas A&M. Missouri however, was able to come out with the win, leaving Georgia still in hunt for the SEC East title and the ticket to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Georgia will need Missouri to lose to Tennessee or Arkansas in the next two weeks. Georgia would then take the top spot after won the head-to-head match up over Missouri.
Sad Moment in Athens:
Late in the fourth quarter, Gurley went down with a serious knee injury that removed the tailback from Saturday’s game. Gurley was taken to get X-rays which confirmed the worse possible news. Gurley suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Gurley anticipated declaring for the NFL draft after the end of this season. Hopefully, Gurley will have a speedy recovery enabling him to continue on into the NFL.
Georgia jumped back into the Top 10 of the Amway Coaches Poll ranks. Georgia moved up four spots from 14 to 10. Georgia also rose in the AP poll jumping up seven spots to the ninth slot. And finally, today Georgia moved to up to number 10 in the only rankings that matter at this point, the College Football Playoff Rankings.