Auburn’s freshman quarterback almost saved the day.
(AP Photo/John Reed.)
War Eagle everybody. It’s time now for the Acid Reign Report on a tough 21–14 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. Despite holding Georgia to just 251 yards of offense, Auburn managed only a couple of late touchdowns and had to try to pull to a tie near the end of the game. It was said before the game that the Tigers would have to run the ball effectively to win this game. Unfortunately, they finished with just 84 yards on the ground.
It was certainly a punters’ duel in the first half. Aside from one blown coverage, Auburn shut Georgia down and appeared to be headed to halftime only a single touchdown behind. Instead, some questionable strategy backfired. Earlier, Auburn erred on the side of conservatism, missing a 47-yard field goal instead of trying to pick up the first down. Late in the half, Auburn had Georgia pinned deep with about a minute and a half to go. Georgia handed off and appeared to be willing to run the clock out on the half. Despite the Bulldogs gaining over 5 yards on the play, Auburn called timeout, hoping to get the ball back one more time. There was little to gain by that strategy as Georgia still would have been able to run the clock down under a minute before punting, and the Auburn offense was struggling mightily. The next play, Auburn gambled on an all-out A-gap blitz. Unfortunately, Georgia had a quick outside pitch called, and no one from Auburn had contain on the edge. Georgia picked up a big chunk of yards and marched smartly downfield against a dazed Auburn defense to take a 14–0 lead into halftime. The timeout call was especially risky as Georgia was also going to get the ball first to start the second half.
Auburn stopped Georgia twice in the 3rd quarter, but the 3rd time was the charm for the Bulldogs. Auburn’s defense had some miscues, being flagged for personal fouls twice on the drive, and tried to cover 3 receivers with 1 man near the goal line. Georgia had an easy short screen pass completion with 2 blockers out front and got its 3rd touchdown of the day.
Down 21–0 to start the 4th quarter, Auburn finally started running some hurry-up offense. The result was a long touchdown drive. Auburn appeared to recover an onside kick attempt, but the officials reviewed the play and added a penalty that was not called on the field for an illegal block. I was furious, as I didn’t think a penalty could be assessed after the fact. Unfortunately, I was wrong. There are a few penalties that can be added on review. Those include targeting, number of players on the field, illegal touching on pass plays, players offside on kicking plays, and the one that got Auburn, blocking before a kickoff travels 10 yards.
Georgia was only able to run about a minute off the clock before giving it back to Auburn. Tigers hurried up again and scored quickly. Georgia again went 3 and out, helping Auburn with 2 clock-stopping incomplete passes. Auburn got the ball back with 6 minutes left and plenty of time for a tying touchdown. The drive stalled on a not great throw and not-caught-on-4th-down play. Auburn got the ball back a last time but after burning all of its timeouts and forcing Georgia to go 3 and out again. A trio of incomplete passes and a sack ended the day for the Tigers. A good defensive and special teams day was wasted.
Unit grades after the jump!
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Saturday’s contest against the Rebels was the Tigers’ first home game since the end of September. You would think fans would be ready to be loud and proud. However, as I sat in the stands the atmosphere seemed subdued. Not anything like the reputation that Jordan-Hare Stadium has earned as one of the SEC’s historically toughest venues ...Read Full Story