Sunday, November 11, 2007
Georgia 45, Auburn 20 (And We Were There!)
Earlier this week, word came that the University of Georgia Bulldog seniors wanted their fans to come decked out in black for Saturday’s game against the Auburn Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen. Immediately speculation began as to whether or not the team would wear black jerseys. Coach Mark Richt played it coy all week, never saying that the team would or would not wear black and remarking that it would be nearly impossible to acquire such jerseys on such short notice.
So, as we fans arrived for the game, 99% of us decked out in black (yep, Debra and I joined the throng), we were all wondering if the Dawgs would be wearing black. They were wearing red in warm-ups but we all knew that they could change in the locker room just before they came out for the game. Then, the team captains came out for the coin toss wearing red jerseys. But, when the rest of the team came out of the tunnel, they were wearing black. Following the coin toss, the captains came over to the sideline where they removed their red jerseys to reveal the black ones they were wearing underneath. The place went crazy.
On the Georgia post-game radio show, Coach Richt revealed that the jerseys were actually ordered last summer and, if I understood him correctly, that his plan all along was to have the team wear them in the Auburn game. No matter. The ploy clearly helped to ratchet the emotions up for the game.
But, they still had to play the game and the Bulldogs played it well.
Georgia piled up 417 yards in total offense to 216 for Auburn. The Dawgs’ running game worked very well. Knowshon Moreno rushed 22 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Thomas Brown rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown. It was good to see the oft-injured Brown, who had missed the last few games with a broken collarbone, have a big game. It will be good to have both of these excellent backs playing for the rest of the season, barring injury to either.
Matthew Stafford was effective, completing 11 of 19 passes for 237 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Since the Florida game Georgia has really gotten the downfield passing game going and that has opened up the running game. Senior Sean Bailey was the leading receiver, catching four passes for 96 yards and one touchdown.
The defense played well, too. They held Auburn to just over 200 yards in offense and intercepted Brandon Cox four times.
This game was great fun and it was a privilege to be there. It’s a great series. Georgia and Auburn have now played each other 111 times in this oldest rivalry in the South that dates back to 1892. Auburn leads the series 53-50-8. Over those 111 games Georgia has now outscored Auburn 1730-1685. You might say that it’s been close.
What now? Well, Georgia can win the SEC East if they beat Kentucky next week in Athens and if Tennessee loses one of its two remaining SEC games against Kentucky or Vanderbilt. Even if UT does not lose again, Georgia is still looking at a New Year’s Day bowl game if they beat UK and Georgia Tech. Both will be tough games and there is reason to be concerned following a three-game stretch in which UGA has defeated Florida and Auburn in very emotional games and Troy in a tough homecoming contest.
My excellent scores of the week come from the world of NCAA basketball, to which I admittedly usually pay little attention. But, let’s give the Atlantic Sun Conference some applause because of these two scores: Gardner-Webb 84, Kentucky 68 and Mercer (my alma mater) 96, University of Southern California 81. Go Baptists! Amazing.