Throwback Thursday: 'Georgia beats Auburn 23-23'
Not to be confused with the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” between North Carolina and Virginia, Auburn and Georgia have been playing each other since 1892 in what is known as the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.”
The series record between the Bulldogs and Tigers is 55-55-8, so this weekend’s meeting between the two teams will break the tie.
Speaking of ties, the last one of those between these schools occurred Nov. 12, 1994. But the outcome of that game really felt like a loss for Auburn.
The Tigers were on NCAA probation that season and were ineligible for the SEC and national championship games. But Auburn still had the opportunity to make 1994 a memorable season for its football program, that is, until Georgia came along and decided to play spoiler.
Dating back to the previous season, the 9-0 Tigers had won 20 consecutive games under coach Terry Bowden and were ranked No. 3 in the country. If Auburn would have come out of the game with Georgia still undefeated, it would have set up just the second Iron Bowl (Auburn’s rivalry game with Alabama) between two unbeaten teams.
Not many people were giving the Bulldogs a chance entering this game. In their three games leading up to their visit to Auburn, the Bulldogs were unimpressive.
Georgia lost to Vanderbilt 43-30 on its Homecoming, then escaped with a 4-point win against a Kentucky team that would finish 1-10 that year, and then was dismantled the next week by Steve Spurrier’s Gators in the Swamp 52-14.
But somehow, some way, the Bulldogs pulled off the miracle tie, snapping Auburn’s 20-game win streak and ruining the Tigers’ perfect season.
The game ended with Auburn driving down the field into scoring position with eight seconds left on the clock. But on a play that would have won the game for the Tigers, kicker Matt Hawkins missed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The next day, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer echoed a famous headline from the 1969 Harvard-Yale game that also ended in a tie. The newspaper printed the headline, “Georgia beats Auburn 23-23.”
Of course, this was all before the current college football overtime rules were implemented in 1996, preventing a tie from ever happening again.