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ABOUT LAST NIGHT: #2 Georgia 34, #18 Auburn 10

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Anything to take away?

NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, Auburn lost to Georgia by 24 yesterday, and while it sucks to get bludgeoned like that, there’s quite a bit to take away from the game itself. Let’s dive right in and see what we can glean from the loss.

Much of the talk in the loss centers around Auburn’s offense, and rightly so, after the Tigers mustered 10 points, but had good drives left and right and just couldn’t finish. Unless there’s a more glaring issue that nobody’s seeing, Auburn’s receivers (and backs and tight ends) just can’t catch the ball in clutch situations. Apparently Stan White mentioned that Auburn had 12 drops on the radio broadcast yesterday, but I think the actual total was something more like 7-8, which is still UNREAL.

Let’s just figure it out...

  • Auburn’s 17-play opening drive would have netted a touchdown to start, and would’ve ended up being a huge momentum boost to begin the game if John Samuel Shenker didn’t drop Bo Nix’s pass in the end zone before the Tigers settled for a field goal. The drop cost Auburn 4 POINTS.
  • On Auburn’s second drive, a third down pass for Shaun Shivers skipped off his hands and into the grasp of Nakobe Dean. Auburn was still deep in its own territory, so we can’t guarantee points there, but Georgia was immediately in field goal range and they converted a kick to tie the game.
  • The drive that saw Auburn start at their own 35 with 6:45 left in the half ended with a Shedrick Jackson drop at midfield. Again, Auburn doesn’t get guaranteed points if that ball is caught, but you never know.
  • I don’t really know if you can count it as a drop, but on Auburn’s final play of the first half — the 4th down at the goal line that turned up incomplete to Ze’Vian Capers — cost the Tigers 7 POINTS

After the first half, if Auburn had capitalized on the missed opportunities, it could have potentially been a 17-14 Georgia lead, or even a tie or better for the Tigers if that interception hadn’t happened.

  • On Auburn’s first drive of the second half, the Tigers got all the way to the Georgia 40 and faced another 4th down, but Demetris Robertson dropped the pass that would’ve given the Tigers the first down. On the next play, Georgia scored a 60-yard touchdown kill shot. Again, we’re not assuming anything, but a conversion there likely puts Auburn in field goal range and Georgia doesn’t hit that deep shot on the next play.

Really, those are the ones that stand out. They were all big, momentum-shifting plays, and Auburn needed to be able to convert all of them, but they got none. In the end, that only puts Auburn neck and neck with Georgia, and the Bulldogs absolutely dominated the fourth quarter on the ground. It’s unlikely that the Tigers could’ve won, but it puts you in position for Jordan-Hare magic down the stretch.

As for reaction from the team, Bo Nix wasn’t happy.

To be fair, the officials seemed blase about making any sort of call against Georgia. Beginning with the Kearis Jackson punt return, where he was clearly down immediately while facemasking Smoke Monday, but was allowed to get up and return the ball near midfield before a sniff of a review, and ending with that no-call in the end zone, an orange-tinted viewer would say that a call was made from Birmingham to keep the top contenders in fighting shape. A neutral observer would say that it was careless officiating at best.

Auburn will need to be able to compete in December and February, and in snagging recruits in general before they’re able to compete with the Georgias and Alabamas of the world on a regular basis.

(That doesn’t seem to be an issue with Bruce Pearl and the basketball team)

We’re going to lose pretty much the entire offensive line unless they use their COVID years for 2022, and even if that happens we’ll be seeing a slightly improved version of what we have now, which isn’t great. 2022 will likely see the last season of Tank Bigsby, but we will start to get some Bryan Harsin recruits onto the field, and the transfer portal is going to be hit hard for horses.

Moving forward this season, everything that Auburn wants in the SEC is still on the table, especially since Alabama lost yesterday —

— and they don’t seem to be trending in the right direction at the moment. Of course, they get Mississippi State on Saturday, and that’ll be a hilarious exercise in Nick Saban doing that thing that Mel Gibson did to the Redcoat in the creek in The Patriot.

There’s not much to say after that game, though. Auburn’s coaches put them in a pretty good position to compete and win the game, and we just didn’t have the talent on the field to be able to withstand a four-quarter onslaught from the most talented team in the country per capita.

Kirby’s not so imaginative that you’ll ever just be so far behind like you would’ve been against LSU 2019 or Alabama last year. If you can shut down the run fairly well (which Auburn did for three quarters), or if you can force a couple of turnovers (which Auburn didn’t do), then you can match up with Georgia.

We’ll move forward and keep going through the grinder. Now we get a deflated Arkansas team that lost on the final snap yesterday, but one that’s going to be super angry about what happened last year in Jordan-Hare. It’ll be another Super Bowl for Auburn’s opponents, so enjoy that.