Rapid Reaction: Never any doubt as No. 4 Georgia crushes No. 7 Auburn
It turns out that first half against Arkansas was an anomaly.
Georgia used the legs of Zamir White and a dominant offensive line to cruise to a 27-6 victory over Auburn in the country’s first matchup of top-10 teams. The Dawgs improved to 2-0 and put the whole country on notice that they are for real.
They beat Auburn for the 4th consecutive time.
Much of the buildup revolved around Georgia’s quarterback conundrum as to who should start, a question rendered irrelevant Saturday night when all that was needed was someone to hand the ball off.
Stetson Bennett IV got the first start of his career and looked impressive enough finishing 17-of-28 for 240 yards and 1 TD, but it was his teammates in the backfield that paved the way to the easy win.
The Bulldogs needed less than 2 quarters to surpass the 121 yards of rushing they racked up in all of Week 1, thanks to a heavy workload from White and James Cook. The duo took it to the Tigers early, combining for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 1st half on 21 combined carries.
Cook was taken to the locker room in the 2nd quarter with an apparent hand injury, but White never relented, frequently driving the pile an extra 2 or 3 yards on seemingly every carry.
While the Georgia offense continually bulldozed its way through the Auburn defense, aided by great field position that allowed the Bulldogs to run 28 of their first 40 plays in Tigers territory, Bo Nix and the Auburn offense had little to no success moving the ball.
Auburn didn’t pick up its 2nd first down of the game until 5:42 remained in the 2nd quarter, and Seth Williams wasn’t even targeted until the Tigers’ 5th drive of the game. The Tigers finished with 39 yards rushing, a total hurt by sacks.
Nix never looked comfortable facing relentless pressure, as he was consistently flushed from the pocket and forced to throw off his back foot. The sophomore QB had just 54 yards at the half and finished with 177 on 40 throws.
The Tigers were a bit more successful in the second half moving the ball, but settled for a field goal and tossed an interception on their 2 most productive drives in the 3rd. The turnover ended a streak of 251 passes by Nix without an interception.
Despite Bennett only needing to rely on his backs, he had great success finding sophomore wideout Kearis Jackson. Jackson was targeted a game-high 11 times, catching 9 passes for 147 yards, including a 49-yard strike that set up Georgia’s 3rd touchdown.
The impressive display by Georgia on both sides of the ball silences any reservations stemming from the Arkansas game and sets up what should make for an exciting Cocktail Party on Nov. 7.
The SEC East might still run through Georgia.