Georgia Sports Communications

Sept. 30, 2023


AUBURN, Ala. – In its first road contest of the season, the top-ranked University of Georgia football team came from behind to defeat rival Auburn, 27-20, Saturday afternoon before 88,043 spectators at Jordan-Hare Stadium and a CBS national television audience.


Quarterback Carson Beck led Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) as he finished 23-for-33 for 313 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Brock Bowers led all receivers with eight catches for a career-high 157 yards, while running back Daijun Edwards rushed 19 times for a team-high 76 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Smael Mondon, Jr. tied his career high with 11 tackles, including seven solo stops and two tackles for loss, while defensive back Javon Bullard returned from injury for a career-best 10 tackles.


After forcing a three-and-out on Auburn’s (3-2, 0-2 SEC) opening possession, Georgia set up its first drive at its own 32-yard line and was able to reach the Auburn 48 before electing to punt on fourth-and-2. The Tigers worked quickly as quarterback Payton Thorne kept the ball for a 61-yard run to the Georgia 30, followed by a 13-yard rush from running back Jarquez Hunter before the drive eventually stalled, leading to a 27-yard field goal from kicker Alex McPherson.


The ensuing Georgia drive was short-lived as Beck was intercepted by cornerback Jaylin Simpson at the Bulldogs’ 48-yard line, the second pick of the season for the Bulldogs’ starter. Setting up in plus territory, the Tigers moved down the field, including a fourth-and-2 conversion, resulting in a 5-yard touchdown run from Hunter to make the score, 10-0.


The Bulldogs used a mixed attack as they took their time on the following possession, culminating in a 10-yard third-down completion from Beck to wide receiver Rara Thomas. Edwards capped off the drive with a 2-yard score, finishing off an 11-play, 56-yard drive that ran five minutes off the clock. On their next drive, the Bulldogs again rode Edwards to the Tiger red zone before kicker Peyton Woodring connected from 37 yards out, concluding a 10-play, 61-yard sequence.


Nearing the end of the half, Auburn began its drive with a pair of long completions before using its run game to reach the Georgia 12. The Bulldog defense came up with two critical stops, first from Mondon on third down before fellow linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson stopped Hunter on fourth-and-1. Both teams would come up empty on their final drives of the half, with each team’s Australian punters posting kicks of over 50 yards.


Coming out of the locker room, Georgia immediately turned the ball over as tight end Oscar Delp had the ball knocked out by defensive lineman Marcus Harris, giving Auburn possession at the Georgia 32. Following an 18-yard first down completion, reserve quarterback Robby Ashford ran up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown, restoring the Tigers’ lead at 17-10.


Georgia reached midfield on its next drive before a long incompletion intended for wideout Ladd McConkey on third down forced a punt. Auburn then reached the Georgia 42-yard line, but a key breakup by defensive back Daylen Everette stopped the drive and resulted in a punt downed at the Georgia 2.


The Bulldogs answered with a terrific drive, ignited by a 16-yard gain by Edwards on first down, followed by a pair of clutch third down conversions from Beck to Thomas and McConkey. After Beck found Bowers for a 29-yard completion, Edwards closed out the 10-play, 98-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 17 heading into the fourth quarter.


Following an Auburn punt, Georgia continued to feed Bowers, finding him for completions of 37 and 28 yards to enter opposing territory. After coming up short on third-and-12, Woodring’s try from 38 yards went through the uprights to put the Bulldogs in front for the first time, 20-17, with under 11 minutes to play. The go-ahead scoring drive tallied 71 yards over seven plays and took over three minutes off the clock. Auburn responded with a 9-play, 51-yard drive finished off by a 42-yard field goal from McPherson, tying the game at 20 at the 6:21 mark.


Needing a score, Georgia again moved downfield on the strength of Bowers, crossing midfield with a 16-yard pass on third down before a 40-yard touchdown pass to the reigning Mackey Award winner. Bowers made the catch at the 25-yard line before evading the Tigers’ secondary for the winning score. On its final drive, Auburn neared midfield before defensive back Malaki Starks picked off Thorne on fourth down to seal the victory.


Georgia returns home next weekend as it plays host to Kentucky (5-0, 2-0 SEC) on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. The game will air on ESPN.