Connect with us

UGA Football

Georgia crowned SEC champions, defeats Auburn 28-7

UGA Football
Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA, Ga. – The sixth-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs claimed their first SEC Championship since 2005 and the 13th in program history with a 28-7 victory over the second-ranked Auburn Tigers at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in front of a capacity-crowd of 76,534.

Georgia claims the 2017 SEC title in the second year of the head coach Kirby Smart era, improving to 12-1 on the season, and 8-1 in the conference. Auburn fell to 10-3, and 7-2 in the SEC. Georgia’s 13 SEC titles is tied for second most in league history as Alabama has 26 and Tennessee also has 13.

The Georgia defense held Auburn scoreless after just one touchdown in the Tigers’ opening drive. Auburn was blanked for the remainder of the game, with senior linebacker Roquan Smith, the SEC Championship MVP, collecting a career-high 13 stops (10 solo) with one sack, two tackles for lost yardage and two fumble recoveries.

The Bulldog offense totaled 421 yards, including 238 on the ground. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm completed 16-of-22 passes for 183, using six different Georgia receivers. Senior running back Nick Chubb moved up to second in SEC history behind Herschel Walker with 77 rushing yards on 33 carries on the night.

“The seniors mean everything to this program,” Smart said. “The leadership that he (Nick Chubb) and Sony Michel and the rest of these seniors have provided for us is impeccable. I mean this is an awesome win for our program, our university and a lot of people in the state of Georgia.”

With 13:04 remaining in the second quarter, senior linebacker Davin Bellamy disrupted the Auburn offense on the 16-yard line, forcing the ball out of sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s hands. Smith recovered the fumble, setting up a 7-play, 83-yard Georgia scoring drive.

The following play, Chubb ran for 16 yards to position the Bulldogs on its own 32-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, Fromm completed back-to-back completions to sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman for respective 13 and 34 yard passes. Poised on the Auburn 2-yard line, Fromm faked a pitch to the backfield and connected with sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta in the end zone to knot the game at seven.

The Georgia defense capitalized on the scoring drive, forcing Auburn to punt after three plays. Senior running back Sony Michel controlled the next offensive possession, combining an 18-yard rush with a 32-yard pass from Fromm to place Georgia on the Auburn 14-yard line. Junior Rodrigo Blankenship capped the drive with a 27-yard field goal for the 10-7 Georgia edge.

With 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Auburn offense faced third-and-five on Georgia’s 38-yard line. Smith sacked Stidham for a loss of 11 yards, sending the Tigers back to midfield to close out the half at 10-7.

In the third quarter, the Georgia defense interrupted a second Auburn drive in the red zone, as junior defensive tackle DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle extended at the line of scrimmage to block a Daniel Carlson 31-yard field goal.

On the next Tiger possession, the Georgia defense held Auburn to three-straight incompletions. The stop set up a 7-play, 62-yard drive for the Georgia offense, highlighted by a 31-yard completion from Fromm to junior wide receiver Terry Godwin and a 20-yard carry from Chubb. Blankenship lengthened the Georgia lead to six with a 35-yard field goal.

Senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter discontinued Auburn’s next drive at its own 47 yard-line, knocking the ball out of junior running back Kerryon Johnson’s grasp. Smith picked it up and returned it to Auburn’s 39-yard line. It took four plays, including a 17-yard Fromm run and a 7-yard touchdown pass, for Georgia’s second touchdown of the night.

Godwin followed up the touchdown to secure the two-point play, taking on sophomore defensive back Javaris Davis one-on-one in the end zone and reining in the 7-yard pass from Fromm.

The Georgia defense forced another Auburn punt, and freshman running back D’Andre Swift exploded for a 64-yard carry, the longest Georgia rush in an SEC championship game. The Blankenship kick secured the 28-0 lead.​

Georgia claims the 2017 SEC title in the second year of the head coach Kirby Smart era, improving to 12-1 on the season, and 8-1 in the conference, with Auburn falling to 10-3, and 7-2 in the SEC. Georgia’s 13 SEC titles is tied for second most in league history as Alabama has 26 and Tennessee also has 13.

The Georgia defense held Auburn scoreless after just one touchdown in the Tigers’ opening drive. Auburn was blanked for the remainder of the game, with senior linebacker Roquan Smith, the SEC Championship MVP, collecting a career-high 13 stops (10 solo) with one sack, two tackles for lost yardage and two fumble recoveries.

The Bulldog offense totaled 421 yards, including 238 on the ground. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm completed 16-of-22 passes for 183, using six different Georgia receivers. Senior running back Nick Chubb moved up to second in SEC history behind Herschel Walker with 77 rushing yards on 33 carries on the night.

“The seniors mean everything to this program,” Smart said. “The leadership that he (Nick Chubb) and Sony Michel and the rest of these seniors have provided for us is impeccable. I mean this is an awesome win for our program, our university and a lot of people in the state of Georgia.”

With 13:04 remaining in the second quarter, senior linebacker Davin Bellamy disrupted the Auburn offense on the 16-yard line, forcing the ball out of sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s hands. Smith recovered the fumble, setting up a 7-play, 83-yard Georgia scoring drive.

The following play, Chubb ran for 16 yards to position the Bulldogs on its own 32-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, Fromm completed back-to-back passes to sophomore wide receiverMecole Hardman for respective 13 and 34 yards. Poised on the Auburn 2-yard line, Fromm faked a pitch to the backfield and connected with sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta in the end zone to knot the game at seven.

The Georgia defense capitalized on the scoring drive, forcing Auburn to punt after three plays. Senior running back Sony Michel controlled the next offensive possession, combining an 18-yard rush with a 32-yard pass from Fromm to place Georgia on the Auburn 14-yard line. Junior Rodrigo Blankenship capped the drive with a 27-yard field goal for the 10-7 Georgia edge.

With 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Auburn offense faced third-and-five on Georgia’s 38-yard line. Smith sacked Stidham for a loss of 11 yards, sending the Tigers back to midfield to close out the half at 10-7.

In the third quarter, the Georgia defense interrupted a second Auburn drive in the red zone, as junior defensive tackle DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle extended at the line of scrimmage to block a Daniel Carlson 31-yard field goal.

On the next Tiger possession, the Georgia defense held Auburn to three-straight incompletions. The stop set up a 7-play, 62-yard drive for the Georgia offense, highlighted by a 31-yard completion from Fromm to junior wide receiver Terry Godwin and a 20-yard carry from Chubb. Blankenship lengthened the Georgia lead to six with a 35-yard field goal.

Senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter discontinued Auburn’s next drive at its own 47 yard-line, knocking the ball out of junior running back Kerryon Johnson’s grasp. Smith picked it up and returned it to Auburn’s 39-yard line. It took four plays, including a 17-yard Fromm run and a 7-yard touchdown pass, for Georgia’s second touchdown of the night.

Godwin followed up the touchdown to secure the two-point play, taking on sophomore defensive back Javaris Davis one-on-one in the end zone and reining in the 7-yard pass from Fromm.

The Georgia defense forced another Auburn punt, and freshman running back D’Andre Swift exploded for a 64-yard carry. The Blankenship kick secured the 28-0 lead.​

Up next, Georgia will be aiming to make its first appearance in the College Football Playoff, playing in either the Sugar Bowl or Rose Bowl as they play host to the CFP semifinals. Georgia last played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008, a 41-10 win over Hawaii and has only played in the Rose Bowl once, in 1943, a 9-0 win over UCLA.​

POST-GAME NOTES

*Bulldogs Claim 13th SEC Title: Georgia claimed its 13th SEC title in school history with a 28-7 win over No. 2 Auburn in the second year of the Kirby Smart era. The 13 SEC titles ranks tied for second most in league history as Alabama has 26 and UT also has 13. Today marked Georgia’s sixth appearance in the SEC Championship Game, its first since 2012, and the Bulldogs are now 3-3.

Up next, Georgia will be aiming to make its first appearance in the College Football Playoff, playing in either the Sugar Bowl or Rose Bowl as they play host to the CFP semifinals. Georgia last played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008, a 41-10 win over Hawaii and has only played in the Rose Bowl once, in 1943, a 9-0 win over UCLA.

*Series History: With today’s win, Georgia extends its edge in the series to 58-56-8 in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry in this the 122nd all-time meeting. Also, this is the fifth that Georgia and Auburn have squared off when both teams are ranked in the top 10 and this was Georgia’s first win.  In the first meeting this year, Georgia was held to 17 points, 230 yards of total offense including 46 rushing yards, all season-lows. Today, Georgia scored 28 points and had 421 yards of total offense. 

*Stout Defensive Performance Led By Smith: The Bulldogs came in ranked fifth nationally in Soring Defense, allowing only 13.8 points a game. Georgia carried a 10-7 lead at halftime as the Tigers had 136 yards on 32 plays. Auburn opened the game with a 10 play, 75-yard TD drive in 5:06 for a 7-0 edge. After that in the first half, the Tigers were held scoreless and gained 61 yards on their next 22 plays. Also, the Bulldogs forced a turnover at their 16 to stop a scoring threat.  The Tigers did not score again, blanked in the second half and ended up with 259 total yards on 63 plays. In the first meeting in Auburn on Nov. 11, the Tigers won 40-17 and tallied 488 yards of total offense on 71 plays. Bulldog junior WLB Roquan Smith, who came in with a team-best 100 tackles on the year, had a career-high 13 stops (10 solo) plus had one sack, two TFL and recovered two fumbles.

*Rushing Into History: Senior Nick Chubb had 77 rushing yards on 13 carries while senior Sony Michel had 45 yards on seven carries. Chubb moved up to second in SEC history with 4,599 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Chubb and Michel already rank No. 2 and 3 in school history for rushing yards. Michel has 3,359 for his career.  Freshman D’Andre Swift chipped in with 88 yards including a 64-yard touchdown for a 28-7 lead. 

*Fromm Leads Offense: True freshman Jake Fromm completed 16-of-22 passes for 183 yards and two TDs, directing the offense that finished with 421 yards on 63 plays. Georgia tallied 238 rushing yards. Georgia led 10-7 at the half. In the first half,  Georgia had 168 total yards (49-rush, 119 pass) on 26 plays. In the second quarter, Georgia forced a turnover and its own 16 and then turned it into a 7 play, 84-yard TD drive in 2:50 to tie the contest at 7. The drive was capped by a two-yard TD pass from Fromm to Issac Nauta. It was Nauta’s second TD catch of the year, the other coming against Miss. State that covered 41 yards. With 5:16 left, Rodrigo Blankenship made a 27-yard field goal for a 10-7 edge to end an 8 play, 58-yard drive. Fromm completed his last nine passes of the half to finish 9-for-10 for 119 yards and one TD. Georgia won the toss and elected to get the football to start the second half. In the second half, Georgia had a field goal drive of seven plays and 62 yards in 3:22 for a 13-7 lead with 1:26 in the third quarter. Also, freshman D’Andre Swift scampered 64 yards for a TD and a 28-7 advantage with 10:34 left. 

*Points to Ponder: The Bulldogs came in today averaging 35.5 points a game including leading the nation in Red Zone Offense, going 44-for-45 with 33 touchdowns.  Today, Georgia was 3-for-4 in the Red Zone with a TD, two field goals and turned it over on downs with a 28-7 lead with under three minutes left in the contest. 

*Points Off Turnovers: Georgia is +5 in Turnover Margin, scoring 77 points off 18 turnovers.  The Bulldogs got 15 points off a pair of Tiger miscues. Opponents have forced 13 turnovers and turned them into 41 points. Today, Georgia forced one turnover at its own 17 to stop a scoring threat as Davin Bellamy has a sack/forced fumble that was recovered by Roquan Smith. It led to a TD. In the second half, senior Lorenzo Carter forced a fumble that was recovered by Smith. The two fumble recoveries tied an SEC Championship game record. Georgia turned it into a touchdown and a two point-conversion and a 21-7 lead with 13:06 left in the contest. 

*Blocked FG: Junior DT DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle blocked a Tiger 31-yard field goal attempt with 8:13 left in the third quarter and Georgia leading 10-7. It was the first by a Bulldog since J.R. Reed did it against Samford this year.  Senior Dominick Sanders returned it 12 yards to the UGA 28. It was the third by a Bulldog in an SEC Championship game, joining Sean Jones (2003 vs. LSU) and Cornelius Washington (2012 vs. Alabama) and there have only been four in the history of the game.

 *For Starters: Senior strong safety Dominick Sanders made his 51st career start which ranks third in school history for non-kickers, trailing only QBs David Greene (52 from 2001-04) and Aaron Murray (52 from 2010-13). PK Blair Walsh started a record 53 games from 2008-11.  On offense, sophomore Elijah Holfyfield and freshman Trey Blount made their first career starts while junior Jayson Stanley made his first of the year and sixth of his career.

*Blankenship Booming Kicks: Redshirt sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship had six kickoffs with five touchbacks. For the year, Blankenship now has 82 kickoffs including a school record 60 touchbacks. Also, he had a 27-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead with 4:59 left in the half. He added a 35-yard field goal for a 13-7 advantage with 1:26 left in the third. 

*Captains: Today’s captains were seniors Sony Michel and Nick Chubb and junior Roquan Smith.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More in UGA Football