It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry — Auburn vs. Georgia.
The historical record sits at 56-55-8, narrowly in Georgia’s favor. It doesn’t get much closer than that, but Auburn can tie up the series with a road win in the rivalry’s 120th edition.
Since the 1950s, every decade has been relatively even. Auburn held a steady advantage throughout most of the 20th century, but Georgia has taken some control of the series since 2000. In the last 16 seasons, Auburn is 6-10 against Georgia.
No matter the winner, several of these matchups have been instant classics. Here’s a review of the five best Auburn-Georgia games since 2000. The best news for Auburn fans: Most of the close, big games have been Tigers wins.
5. Auburn 24, Georgia 6 (2004)
On Auburn’s end, this was a major victory. The teams entered the game as No. 3 Auburn and No. 8 Georgia. The Tigers ended up cruising to the victory, which helped set the stage for the school’s undefeated season.
Trying to crack the top 2, Auburn put on a dominant performance against a top-10, rivalry opponent. Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams did what they did all season — tear apart opposing run defenses. The backfield combined for 260 total yards with a touchdown each. Williams also threw for an iconic touchdown.
The highly-anticipated encounter lost its luster pretty quickly, as Auburn leapt out to a 17-0 halftime lead. Georgia didn’t even score its first — and only — points of the games until the under 3-mintue mark in the fourth quarter. It was a classic game with Auburn firmly in control.
Jason Campbell remained steady and deadly accurate, completing 18-of-22 passes for 1 touchdown.
4. Georgia 24, Auburn 21 (2002)
Mark Richt’s second year began Georgia edge in the rivalry. It also began the Bulldogs’ hope that Richt would take them to the promised land. The Auburn game was a big reason for that, and it’s the only Georgia win that cracked the top 5 of this list.
Georgia entered the rivalry game with a 9-1 record and 6-1 in conference. The Bulldogs were the No. 7 team in the country, and the Tigers made it hard on them. Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown & Co. set the stage for future successes with a strong start against the seventh-ranked team in the land. Auburn held a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter, and a Georgia scoop-and-score changed the complexion of the contest.
Still, the Tigers led 24-21 late in the game. Georgia quarterback David Greene connected with Michael Johnson on a fourth-and-long (notice a theme?) with 1:25 remaining to give Georgia the lead. The Bulldogs wouldn’t relinquish that advantage and ultimately went on to win the SEC Championship, the Sugar Bowl and finished 13-1 overall.
Some might say it was Richt’s most successful season at Georgia, ending with the Bulldogs the consensus No. 3 team in the nation.
3. Auburn 29, Georgia 26 OT (2000)
This might be one of the more overlooked great games in the history of the rivalry. Neither school considers the 2000 season to be a majorly successful season. Auburn finished in the middle of the top 25, and Georgia cut ties with head coach Jim Donnan. However, both teams were ranked when the programs met up for the yearly rivalry game.
Georgia staged a late-game comeback. Terrance Edwards caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and Billy Bennett connected on a field goal with 41 seconds to go to send the game into overtime at Jordan-Hare Stadium. In the nine meetings prior, the home team had lost, and it looked like the stars were aligning for that trend to continue. Auburn made sure to eliminate that narrative in the opening overtime period.
The Bulldogs settled for a field goal on the first possession, so the Tigers did what they needed to do to secure the overtime victory. Quarterback Ben Leard reached the end zone with a 1-yard scamper to claim the rivalry win over Georgia. The Leard touchdown was set up by Rudi Johnson, who was the star of the night. Johnson rushed for 152 yards.
2. Auburn 31, Georgia 30 (2005)
This was fourth-and-long No. 2. In this instance, No. 15 Auburn trailed No. 9 Georgia, and it looked like the Tigers were all out of options. On fourth-and-10 — on the Auburn 34 — quarterback Brandon Cox dropped back and delivered a pass to Devin Aromashodu for 63 yards. It’s one of the most iconic plays in the history of the rivalry.
The excitement wasn’t over, however. Aromashodu lost control of the ball at the end of the big play and the fumbled ended up in the end zone. His teammate Courtney Taylor found a way to fall on it, though the rules forced the ball to return to the 3-yard line with 1:32 remaining. In many ways, that rule sealed the Auburn victory.
The Tigers handed the ball off to Kenny Irons three times, and they were able to drain most of the clock. John Vaughn connected on a 20-yard field goal with 6 second remaining. It clinched the narrow Auburn win.
Georgia went on to take the SEC Championship Game over LSU, but the Bulldogs only finished ranked 10th in the country. The second loss of the season to Auburn contributed to an especially painful end of season for the Bulldogs.
1. Auburn 43, Georgia 38 (2013)
Really, Ricardo Louis should be the one telling you the story. You can read his version of events here.
Georgia looked out of reach, when the Bulldogs trailed 37-17 early in the fourth quarter. Then, Auburn seemed like it might be unable to recover after Aaron Murray’s controversial fourth-down touchdown with 1:49 left. Sitting at fourth-and-18 from its own 27, Auburn set up for an unlikely attempt at converting.
Nick Marshall channeled his inner-Auburn magic and found Louis for a 73-yard score (hat tip to Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons). It might be the most memorable moment in Auburn history, if not for a pretty big play in the same building one week later. The combination of the two made for one of the most unpredictable, unforgettable seasons in college football history.
But again, give Louis’ side of the story a read. It’s more important.