I’m not going to pretend that this will be enjoyable. It may not be over quickly either, but we did this before the Georgia and Alabama games last year, and it seemed to work. It’s time to draw the poison from a wound to prevent any deep-rooted lingering effects from the initial injury.
We should’ve done this a long time ago.
With as much fun as the win over Georgia in Auburn was last November, it quickly came crashing down when Kerryon Johnson got hurt against Alabama, and he was clearly hampered the next weekend in Atlanta. With injuries to Tre Williams and Carlton Davis, Auburn’s defense took a hit as well and couldn’t stop the Bulldogs late, leading to a 28-7 defeat.
This game was like many more across the state line for Auburn. The Tigers scored first and ended up losing by double digits in the end. Georgia got their first SEC Championship in over a decade, and advanced the College Football Playoff. It stings even more because both the Dawgs and Alabama played for the national championship. An Auburn win in Atlanta last year prevents either team from getting in most likely, and the Tigers themselves would’ve been in the Playoff.
Now that that’s out of the way, we have to go back even further and remove scar tissue from previous injuries. We’re not trying to be a bunch of little Lance Harbors out here, getting band-aid shots to cover up what will end up being a career-ended injury.
Auburn flat out has been terrible against Georgia across the Chattahoochee River.
2016 - Sean White refuses to tell the coaching staff that he’s hurt, and Auburn scores one touchdown against a not-good Georgia team. Auburn loses 13-7 in Athens.
2014 - The Texas A&M butt-fumble hangover lasts an entire week. Auburn scores first and it looks like things are somewhat back to normal. Georgia proceeds to roll up 34 in a row thanks to Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb. Auburn loses 34-7 in Athens.
2011 - Before Auburn played both Georgia and Alabama on the road in the same season, the Tigers went to Athens after a national championship. The Bulldogs were clearly mad about Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, and they took it out on the Tigers in a 45-7 win. Auburn’s only touchdown came early on a C.J. Uzomah trick play pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Those are just the last three games in Athens. Auburn’s had tough luck going back over a decade. 2009 saw Demond Washington tie the game on a kickoff return early in the final quarter before Georgia drove late for the game-winning score. Two years before that it was Soulja Boy with Knowshon Moreno rolling up the Tigers in the fourth quarter. Auburn hasn’t beaten Georgia across the state line since the infamous 4th-and-11 completion to Devin Aromashodu in 2005. It’s been a long time coming.
And we’re not expected to get a win this weekend, either. Georgia’s a two-touchdown favorite at least. The only glimmer of hope that Auburn’s got is that maybe, maaaaaybe, the two-minute offense we saw in the comeback against the Aggies last week makes a 60-minute appearance on Saturday.
This is a series that used to be exceptionally even. It also heavily leaned in favor of the road team, but that’s gone out the window. Auburn’s dominance in Athens through the 1990s has ended, and Georgia’s won all except two games at Sanford Stadium against Auburn since the turn of the millennium. We’ve lost what used to be a nice cushion in the all-time series, and Georgia only looks to be on the upswing with the surge of talent in Athens.
For Auburn, there’s nothing to play for except pride. There’s no chance for an SEC Championship berth, no shot for the Playoff, or any thing of that nature. It’s all spoiler material from here on out. Beat Georgia, and their shot at a title goes up in flames. This is the kind of situation that Tommy Tuberville thrived in back in the day. No shot, on the road, top five opponent, world against you. It was his wheelhouse.
In talking about Gus Malzahn, this win would go a long way — a long, long, long, long way — to turning public opinion in his favor more and more. Thing is, it’s going to take maybe his biggest effort yet to make that happen.
Understanding what needs to happen on Saturday comes from learning from the past. Auburn hasn’t played well in Athens in more than a decade. Georgia has dominated the series as of late.
What’s the answer?
There is one thing AU absolutely must not do this week against UGA— AUNerd (@AUSportsNerd) November 5, 2018
The team to score first has lost 5 straight times
4 of those times it's been Auburn....
3 of those times it was the only points Auburn scored all day
Just don't do it Gus, it's not worth it
I don’t know if that holds any water, but it’s interesting. Either way, hardly any of us expect wins this weekend, but it sure would be nice to ruin something for Georgia.
I promise we’ll get something more positive to counteract this post later on in the week.