In a matchup featuring the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, No. 2 Georgia handled their cross-division rival Auburn 42-10.
The Bulldogs scored more points tonight than they have in either of the past couple games.
The running game proved to be one of the biggest emphases this week for Georgia. All six of Georgia’s touchdowns came on the ground by four different ball carriers. Not including the two kneel downs at the end of the game, the Bulldogs ran for 295 yards on 37 carries. That is an average of about eight yards per carry for a Bulldogs team that was seeking more explosive run plays.
Daijun Edwards had three of those six rushing touchdowns himself, and he ran 12 times for 83 yards. True freshman Branson Robinson started with two big runs in the first quarter but didn’t see much action after that until the end of the game. Robinson ran the ball 12 times for 98 yards on the night, and scored the last touchdown of the game from 15 yards out.
Kenny McIntosh ran the ball eight times for 37 yards and a touchdown. McIntosh once again was a reliable target in the passing game with four receptions for 13 yards.
Despite all of the running backs’ success, Stetson Bennett was the ball carrier that excited everyone the most. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Bennett took off on a quarterback draw and outran multiple Auburn defenders for a 64-yard touchdown. The crowd was brought to their feet, and social media blew up when “The Mailman” made a speedy delivery.
Bennett was frustrated after the second drive of the game when the offense had to elect to punt again. He underthrew the receiver towards the sidelines on that third down, and immediately went to the ball boys to check all of the footballs used for the offense.
Bennett brushed off those first couple scoreless drives and made plays when Georgia needed him too. Even though he didn’t have with a single passing touchdown, Bennett finished with a 69% completion percentage and a 123.4 quarterback rating.
Defensively, the Bulldogs allowed less points than they have in the past couple of games. They held Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford to 34% completion percentage and he only threw for 165 yards.
62 of the passing yards came on a pass out of the flat to running back Jarquez Hunter. Hunter caught the ball near the line of scrimmage took it all the way to the end zone. Three Bulldogs defenders were there to make the play near the sideline, but Hunter broke out of it to score.
Outside of that play, Georgia gave up less than 200 total yards and kept Auburn in tough third down situations on the road.
The Bulldogs got back in their groove this week, and now they prepare for a home contest against Vanderbilt next week.
Offensive Player of the Game- Daijun Edwards: 12 rushes, 83 yards, 3 TD
Defensive Player of the Game- OLB Nolan Smith: 3 solo tackles, 1 TFL; made fourth down stop on Auburn fake punt
- The running game is much improved
The offensive line was able to open up more holes for this running game today compared to the past couple of weeks. Everyone in the Georgia backfield brings a different style of running and ability to the table. Kenny McIntosh is the change-of-pace back that provides an elite receiving option for Stetson Bennett. Kendall Milton is the bruising back that is strong in between the tackles. Daijun Edwards is the shiftier back that can make anybody miss with his short-area quickness. Newcomer Branson Robinson is proving to be a back that can break tackles and take off for big runs. After this show out performance, there should be more touches available for Robinson going forward.
- Health is key for this team’s postseason success
AD Mitchell, who is arguably Georgia’s No. 1 wide receiver did not play today despite suiting up in full pads and going through warmups. Mitchell suffered an ankle injury versus Kent St., and apparently sustained a thumb sprain injury in practice according to Kirby Smart. The offense will need Mitchell when they need to put some points on the board against more explosive offenses like Tennessee.
Projected top-10 NFL draft pick Jalen Carter was also out today with an MCL sprain. Even though Georgia’s defensive line held up today, they will need Carter and his disruptiveness on the inside. Inside linebacker Smael Mondon was also in full pads, but was still ruled out with an ankle injury. Georgia was able to stay relatively healthy last season, and was a big reason why they were able to bring home the National Championship. Every piece on this team is key going forward.