AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs had their unblemished season snapped with a 40-17 loss to 10th-ranked Auburn Tigers Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Bulldogs fall to 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn (8-2, 6-1) used a heavy dose of Kerryon Johnson and a stifling defense to earn the victory. Johnson tallied 167 rushing yards; marking the first time a Georgia opponent had surpassed the 100-yard mark in a nation-best last 12 games.
“Lesson were learned that they have a good football team,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “They whipped us up front, they whipped us on the back end, and they whipped us on the edges. They were more physical than us on both lines of scrimmages. We did some dumb things, and we helped them. You can’t help good football teams. We gave them two or three extra possessions, which you can’t do.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs finished with 230 yards of total offense, 184 yards in the air. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm went 13-of-28 for 184 yards and a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Javon Wims had a team-high 96 yards on three catches. The Auburn defense kept the Georgia rushing attack at bay as senior running back Nick Chubb had a team-high 27 yards.
For the seventh time leading the team in tackles this season, junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith collected 12 tackles. Redshirt sophomore J.R. Reed followed with a career-high 11 tackles. Sophomore return specialist Mecole Hardman compiled 185 yards on punt and kicks.
In the game’s opening possession, Georgia orchestrated an eight-play, 70-yard drive capped by a direct snap Nick Chubb one-yard touchdown rush. In the drive, Fromm went 3-of-3 passing for 56 yards including a 28-yard pass to Wims on a 3rd down.
Auburn took its first lead 9-7 at the 12:08 mark of the second quarter on three consecutive Daniel Carlson field goals. Later in the quarter, the Tigers hit on a 42-yard Darius Slayton touchdown catch to go up 16-7, which stood until halftime.
Two third-quarter Auburn touchdowns strengthened the Tiger lead to 30-7, before the Bulldogs responded. Redshirt sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship booted a 47-yard field goal to make it 30-10 at the 5:23 mark in the third quarter.
After Auburn notched a field goal and another touchdown, Georgia put up a touchdown in the final minutes of the game. Sophomore wide out Riley Ridley caught a 14-yard pass from Fromm to end a 14-play, 74-yard drive.
“It’s life,” Smart on moving on from the loss. “Life’s that way. Life’s going to knock you down and you’ve got to get up and go fight. These guys have to understand that. They’ve got to be able to get up and go fight. It’s going to be like that all their life. They’re going to have situations they don’t like, or don’t do well, and they’re going to come back and fight.”
The Bulldogs conclude their conference schedule against Kentucky next Saturday, Nov. 18. Kickoff is slotted for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.