Auburn traveled to Athens hoping to even the all-time series in the South’s Oldest Rivalry and strengthen its case for the College Football Playoff committee. The Tigers couldn’t do either.
With top rusher Kamryn Pettway sidelined with a leg injury, Auburn lost its seventh straight game in Sanford Stadium on Saturday night.
Two key linebackers rejoined the Tigers defense — Deshaun Davis was ejected during the first half of last week’s Vanderbilt game, while junior Tre Williams was sidelined with an ankle injury — but it wasn’t enough to stop the Bulldogs and true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. The Auburn offense was plagued by struggles for most of the night, but especially during the second half, when the Tigers failed to collect a first down.
- Montravius Adams has improved every time he’s taken the field this season and he continued that trend in this critical rivalry game. The senior had a monstrous first half in his home state. He recorded 5 total tackles (4 solo), including 2 for loss, and a thunderous sack. At times it appears Adams ignites Carl Lawson.
- Defensive back Tray Matthews, who started his college career at Georgia, downplayed the importance of this game in the week leading up to the Tigers’ trip to Athens. The junior put an exclamation point on his return to Sanford Stadium, however, with an interception in the end zone on Georgia’s second drive. It was exactly the spark Auburn needed to start the road matchup. Matthews finished the game as one of the Tigers’ leading tacklers once again.
- Sophomore linebacker Deshaun Davis, the quarterback of Auburn’s defense all year, came up with an enormous stop with just under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Georgia took a risk and tried to throw into the end zone on third down, but came away with a field goal that put the Bulldogs up 13-7. Davis kept the Tigers’ hopes alive and gave them a chance to score with 2:25 left.
- Sean White has been a consistent force for the Auburn offense and a huge reason for his team’s turnaround this season. It’s unclear if the sophomore was struggling because of a shoulder injury he was reportedly dealing with or simply not playing well. Either way, the passing game was atrocious against Georgia. White threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown just as the third quarter began and nearly tossed a few more immediately after halftime. About halfway through the fourth quarter, Auburn had amassed less than 30 passing yards. White (6 for 20, 27 yards) couldn’t come up with a first down in the second half. In many ways, this resembled Auburn’s loss to Clemson in its home opener. The defense did all it could to keep the Tigers in the hunt, but was stopped by the Auburn offense.
It just wasn't Auburn's night. pic.twitter.com/k6S9Kt0ijr
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 13, 2016
- All of Auburn’s corners had their hands full trying to stop Eason from the outset. The true freshman picked on Markell Boston and Carlton Davis a bit, but he bullied Javaris Davis often. The redshirt freshman had a tough time in the Tigers’ early-season games, but seemed to have improved as Auburn got into SEC play. Davis looked as if he had taken a step backward against the Bulldogs. He allowed Eason to complete some long throws and also escaped an obvious pass interference call. Davis made a solid attempt at a pick after he was too slow on the previous play early in the fourth quarter.