That is not what Georgia was hoping for out of a trip to Auburn.
What started out as a dream for the Bulldogs turned into an unbelievable nightmare against the Tigers. Georgia took the opening kickoff and promptly marched 70 yards to a game-opening score to go up 7-0. The defense also forced Auburn to settle for field goals early on in what was shaping up to be a defensive struggle.
Unfortunately, another win during an incredible season under Kirby Smart was not meant to be. Auburn forced Georgia to punt on five straight possessions while gaining control of the game. The Tigers rolled to an impressive victory with RB Kerryon Johnson capturing SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors on Monday.
The loss is a tough one to stomach for the Bulldogs, and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn added a little insult to injury after the game, saying that Auburn “whipped the dog crap out of them.”
Smart responded to Malzahn’s comments on Monday, and he said that Auburn earned the right to say that:
“I’ll be honest with you, when you perform the way they did on the field you earn the right to say really whatever you want,” said Smart, “So I don’t get into what Gus says and he probably doesn’t get into what I say.”
Many fans are now wondering how the Bulldogs will respond to their first loss of the season, but Smart believes the team will respond the right way. He said the team showed up ready to work and prepare for the Kentucky game:
“First thing I have seen is guys came in here with a good attitude yesterday ready to work, good spirits, leaders talking and communicating,” said Smart. “I got to be around the players and eat with them yesterday. These players they will respond the right way. They are made of the right stuff and that is all we can ask them to do is to come in with a really good attitude, get to work. I expect them to do that. I am excited about moving on getting a chance to go get to work on Kentucky today. That is what they have to do. The focus for us is totally on the Big Blue because we have to go out here and stop these guys.”
Smart also addressed whether this game was a wake-up call for the coaching staff. He believes it is simply another opportunity for the coaching staff to improve with some adjustments to be made:
“It was not like they went out there and whipped us in special teams,” Smart explained. “It’s a situation where we have to continue to get better. We think of special teams as one of our best weapons and we want to be aggressive in our special teams and use it as a weapon. Well, today is a chance for us to go out and get better on special teams, and we are going to try to improve that. It’s the same thing on offense and defense — today is another opportunity for us to go out and improve and get better and develop our team to get better so that we play better in this next game.”
Georgia will return home to take on Kentucky. Saturday’s kickoff against the Wildcats is set for 3:30 pm EST on CBS.