*Another Stout Defensive Effort In The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Fourth-ranked Georgia held seventh-ranked Auburn to just a pair of field goals in a 27-6 victory. The Tigers were limited to 216 yards of total offense on 63 plays. It marked the fifth time in the last six meetings in the Kirby Smart era that Auburn was held to 14 points or less. It was Auburn’s lowest point tally since Georgia blanked the Tigers 38-0 in 2012 in Auburn and its lowest in Athens since 1967 when Georgia won 17-0. Georgia is now 9-4 against top 10 teams in the Smart era.
Senior Monty Rice led the Bulldogs with 7 tackles while junior Adam Anderson had two of the team’s three sacks and junior Azeez Ojulari had five stops with 3 TFL. At the end the third quarter, Georgia forced Bo Nix to his first interception of the year, ending a streak of 251 passes that was an Auburn record and ranked second nationally behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Bulldog senior Mark Webb notched his first career pick on the play. Senior Richard LeCounte was called for targeting with 3:49 left in the first half and missed the remainder of the contest.
Bennett Directs The Offense: Junior Stetson Bennett (17-for-28, career-high 240 yards, 1 TD) made his first career start and finished the first half 12-for-22 for 158 yards and 1 TD as the Bulldogs built a 24-3 lead with 288 yards of total offense on 46 plays. Georgia finished the night with 442 yards of offense on 73 plays in the victory.
Bennett had a career-long 49-yard strike to Kearis Jackson that helped set up Georgia’s third TD of the night. Bennett had a key 3rd down conversion on the first scoring drive. On a 3rd and 10 at the AU 32, Bennett fired a 17-yard pass to Jackson. Georgia would go 10 plays and cover 43 yards for the score. Bennett had another key 3rd down conversion on the next TD drive. On 3rd and 9 at the AU 21, Bennett hit George Pickens for a touchdown, his second this year and 10th of his career for a 17-0 lead with 11:08 left in the first half. The scoring drive went 11 plays for 84 yards in 5:26. Then, Georgia went up 24-0 following a six play, 72-yard drive in 3:27. Last week at Arkansas, Bennett entered with 10:07 left in the first half and finished the day 20-for-29 for 211 yards and 2 TDs, all career highs. Georgia was just 6-of-20 on 3rd down attempts versus the Razorbacks and fared much better tonight, going 9-for-14.
Huge Night For Jackson: RS-sophomore Kearis Jackson (9-for-147 yards) established career-highs in catches and yards tonight including a career-long 49-yarder in the first half. Last week in the road win over the Razorbacks, Jackson led the team with a then career-best six for 62 yards. It was the best night for a Bulldog receiver since George Pickens earned MVP honors for his 2020 Sugar Bowl performance in the win over Baylor with 12 for 175 yards and 1 TD.
Rushing Attack: Georgia gained 202 yards on 45 attempts. RS-Sophomore Zamir White finished with 88 yards on a career-high 19 attempts. He had posted a career-high 2 TDs in the first half. Junior James Cook added 41 yards in the first half before leaving with a right shoulder injury. White’s TD runs were aided by freshman Nose Jalen Carter coming in as a lead blocker. Georgia tallied 130 rushing yards on 24 attempts for a 5.4 average in the first half. True freshman Kendall Milton saw extended action in the second half and ended with 30 yards on six carries.
*Series History: With tonight’s 27-6 win, Georgia leads the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry 61-56-8. It is the second most played active series in the NCAA FBS. Georgia now has won nine of the past 11 meetings including four straight dating back to the 2017 SEC Championship Game. Saturday marked the sixth time in the series that it was a Top 10 matchup, and the Bulldogs have won the past two such meetings including winning the 2017 SEC title game. Georgia now has won seven in a row over Auburn in Athens. ESPN College GameDay was in town for the sixth time in school history and Georgia has won the game now on its last two visits, the previous one over No. 7 Notre Dame last year.
*Special Teams Summary: Junior Jake Camarda punted only twice (both in the first half) for a 51.5 average. His first punt went 63 yards, which tied his career long. Redshirt sophomore PK Jack Podlesny connected on a 21-yard field goal for a 10-0 edge in the first quarter and finished the first half with three PATs. He added a 25-yard FG in the 3rd quarter. Sophomore Kenny McIntosh had one kickoff return for 38 yards while redshirt sophomore Kearis Jackson had a pair of punt returns for six yards.
*For Starters: Junior Stetson Bennett (QB) and redshirt freshman Warren McClendon (RT) made their first career start. The longest active starting streak on offense belongs to center Trey Hill now with 20 while Richard LeCounte leads the defense with 20 straight. Also, tonight marked the latest home opener for the Bulldogs since the 1966 SEC Champions (10-1) beat Ole Miss 9-3 on Oct. 8. That year, Georgia played its first three games on the road. For the first time since 1936, Georgia and Auburn tangled outside the month of November in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. That year, they squared off on Oct. 24 in Columbus, Ga. (20-14 Tigers).
*Captains: Georgia senior Monty Rice, junior Tyson Campbell and redshirt sophomore Zamir White served as the captains. Auburn won the toss and elected to defer until the second half.
*Limited Crowd Due To Pandemic: Tonight’s crowd was a sellout but was limited to just 20,524 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is Georgia’s smallest crowd here since Sept. 28, 1963 when the Bulldogs beat Vanderbilt 20-0 in a driving rain before an estimated crowd of 17,000.
*Up Next: The Bulldogs (2-0) play host to Tennessee (2-0) Oct. 10 with the time TBA. The series dates back to 1899 with Georgia on a three-game winning streak to take a 24-23-2 lead. The Vols beat Missouri 35-12 today to extend their winning streak to eight dating back to last year.