Auburn fell at Georgia 27-10 last night, and after the first quarter, there wasn’t much good to go on. The Tigers led for much of the first half until Georgia got a couple of touchdowns in the second quarter, but Auburn had chances to make good on some situations.
It just didn’t happen, and as it stands now, the Tigers are 6-4 and have a pesky Liberty team coming in ahead of the Iron Bowl. Frustration is the word of the day after last night.
And here’s what Gus Malzahn said afterward, courtesy of AL.com...
It’s one of the shorter postgame pressers that he’s given, and the answers seem to suggest that in certain spots the coaches don’t really have answers. The offensive line wasn’t terrible last night, but the defense got gashed by a powerful running team, and Auburn’s skill players just didn’t make nearly enough plays to keep the Tigers in the game.
That said, we were teased early on when some good things happened, and there was one historic record set in the ballgame as well.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
In a contest where Auburn’s offense only gained 274 total yards, Ryan Davis caught 13 passes for 72 yards. That’s barely 5.5 yards per catch, but he was able to break the all-time career receptions record at Auburn. He only needed one catch to tie Courtney Taylor’s previous record of 153 receptions, but he ended up shattering it with the 13 grabs last night. Now, Davis sits at 165 career catches, with three games left this season to raise the bar even higher.
It’s been a bit of a difficult season for Davis, with 56 catches for 468 yards and no touchdowns on the year (he and Darius Slayton only have one touchdown combined), but it’s still nice to see his hard work pay off with a spot atop the record books.
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME
There wasn’t much to choose from last night, so we have to go with the lone touchdown of the game.
Halfback pass! Touchdown Auburn! pic.twitter.com/izs2W2Beia— Power of Dixieland (@PwrofDixieland) November 11, 2018
Auburn got the gadget play to work near the goal line. Boobee Whitlow in the Wildcat had Georgia thinking “run” all the way, and John Samuel Shenker was open in the back of the end zone for a pretty solid delivery from Whitlow. There was another chance near the goal line in the second quarter as the Tigers tried to extend the lead to 14-6, but they had to settle for a field goal after three plays inside the five failed. For the fourth straight game in Athens, Auburn failed to score a touchdown after the first quarter.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
For a second straight week, Daniel Thomas was all over the field with 9 tackles and a forced fumble, while Deshaun Davis had 10 tackles, including a sack and 2 TFLs, but both of those guys were having to tackle Georgia running backs way downfield, and both should have been a bit better near the line of scrimmage. Auburn missed a ton of tackles last night, with plays appearing as if they were going nowhere before a Bulldog ballcarrier slipped away for a big gain.
That’s why we’re going to give it to a guy who rotated in on the defensive line and made some big plays down the stretch despite the deficit. Andrew Williams had 3 tackles, a sack, and 2 TFLs in the trenches, and his help was much needed once the Tigers lost Big Kat Bryant and Nick Coe early on.
DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME
In a night filled with bad defense, there was one play that had the chance to reset the tone and allow Auburn to get right back in the ballgame. Jamel Dean had an interception midway through the third quarter as Georgia was driving, and immediately after that, Shaun Shivers blasted around left end for 27 yards to get the Tigers out near midfield.
It all went for nothing, though, as Auburn was forced to punt soon after that, and they’d never score again. Again, it was a frustrating game that presented many chances for Auburn to make it close, but little mistakes everywhere cost the Tigers a shot. This was the type of game that makes you look at the talent gap at key positions between our roster and theirs, and the coaching decisions as well. Kirby Smart didn’t try to get fancy except on the fake field goal at the end, while Gus didn’t trust his regular offense (yes, I know the gadgetry is his regular offense) to get the job done. Meanwhile, the defense allowed long drive after long drive and only stood tall when it had to at the goal line.
That’s twice now this season that Auburn’s allowed 300 rushing yards, so any talk of us having a truly elite defense this season has gone out the window at this point.
Up next, it’s Liberty, which is a team fully capable of making things annoying for Auburn next Saturday. Their defense is horrible, so the Tigers should be able to run the ball pretty well on their way to a win, but the Flames and Turner Gill (oh God, the storylines) have a fairly solid offense. If Auburn’s sleepwalking, they may find themselves in a close game for a little while.