Auburn at Georgia

Georgia shuts down No. 8 Auburn in 2nd half for 13-7 win

By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
  •  

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Auburn's championship dreams disappeared in a deluge of three-and-outs.

Rodrigo Blankenship kicked two fourth-quarter field goals, Maurice Smith returned an interception for a touchdown and Georgia's defense shut down No. 8 Auburn in the second half to beat the Tigers 13-7 on Saturday.

The loss ended Auburn's Southeastern Conference championship hopes and knocked the Tigers out of consideration for a spot in the playoff.

Auburn (7-3, 5-2 SEC, No. 9 CFP) had been in control of its hopes to win the SEC's Western Division, with one conference game remaining at No. 1 Alabama. Instead, Alabama clinched the division.

Auburn was held to 32 yards with no first downs in the second half, and 164 yards overall.

''The offense didn't get it done today. It's a simple as that,'' said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who said he stuck with struggling quarterback Sean White because ''Sean is our guy.''

Georgia held the ball about 39 minutes, almost doubling Auburn's time of possession.

The Tigers couldn't overcome the loss of star running back Kamryn Pettway , the nation's No. 4 rusher who hurt his left leg on a long run in last week's win over Vanderbilt. Pettway was with the team but not in uniform.

''This is the SEC. People get hurt,'' said Kerryon Johnson, who filled in for Pettway. ''That's no excuse for us to not have a productive day. We just got outplayed.''

Malzahn said an undisclosed injury prevented White from throwing in practice for the second straight week.

White couldn't find a passing game to complement Johnson's 99 yards rushing, including a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. White completed only 6 of 20 passes for 27 yards with an interception.

Georgia (6-4, 4-4) earned its biggest win under first-year coach Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs controlled the clock on two fourth-quarter field goal drives of 13 and 14 plays.

''We told ourselves a few weeks ago we were going to run the ball and we were going to be successful,'' said Georgia running back Nick Chubb, who had 23 carries for 101 yards.

Jacob Eason completed 20 of 31 passes for 208 yards without an interception.

After Blankenship's 21-yard field goal with 2:25 remaining, Auburn was stopped on four downs, triggering a celebration in the stands and on Georgia's sideline.

Blankenship, the Georgia walk-on kicker who wears black-rimmed glasses under his helmet, barely cleared the cross bar on his 45-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 10-7 lead. Blankenship was short on a 49-yard attempt about three minutes later before kicking a 21-yarder late in the game.

Auburn had only 25 yards passing in the first half and opened the second half with three straight passing plays - two incompletions and a third-down pass intercepted by Smith and returned 34 yards for a tying touchdown.

''He looked like a receiver on the play,'' Smart said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Auburn: The Tigers likely will be headed for a sharp drop in the Top 25. The inability to compensate for Pettway's injury revealed Auburn's lack of offensive balance and inability to retain its spot as a championship or playoff contender.

HAPPY RETURN

Auburn strong safety Tray Matthews, who began his career at Georgia before he was dismissed from the team in 2014, delivered the key defensive play of the first half. Matthews picked off a pass from receiver Terry Godwin, who took the snap in the wildcat formation, in the end zone for his first interception of the season.

Auburn took advantage of the turnover with an 80-play touchdown drive capped by Johnson's 3-yard scoring run.

FAMILIAR RIVAL

Smith transferred to Georgia from Alabama, Auburn's top rival.

''The team I am with right now, we have been counted out, and for us to get this win is big,'' Smith said. ''This makes it definitely worthwhile. It's a blessing. For me to be part of this team and be able to help the team, I just love it.''

UP NEXT

Auburn: The Tigers will play their final home game against Alabama A&M next Saturday as they hope to gain momentum for their Nov. 26 game at Alabama.

Georgia: Georgia hosts Louisiana Lafayette next Saturday before closing its season with another home game against in-state rival Georgia Tech on Nov. 26.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Auburn #9  (7-3)70007
Georgia  (6-4) «007613
Players of the Game
Tigers

K. Johnson
Rush 22
Yds 99
Avg 4.5
TD 1
Bulldogs

N. Chubb
Rush 23
Yds 101
Avg 4.4
TD 0
Scoring Summary
AUBURNKerryon Johnson 3 yd run (Daniel Carlson kick)
UGAMaurice Smith 34 yd interception return (Rodrigo Blankenship kick)
UGARodrigo Blankenship 45 yd FG
UGARodrigo Blankenship 21 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 AUBURNUGA
First Downs1021
Third Down Efficiency2-127-17
Fourth Down Efficiency0-10-1
Plays-Net Yards54-16476-343
Rushes-Yds32-12743-135
Passing Yds37208
Kick Return Yds140
Punt Return Yds520
Passes8-22-120-33-1
Punts8-3536-202
Fumbles-Lost1-01-0
Penalties-Yds3-365-30
Time of Poss.20:5139:9
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
AUBURN: Kerryon Johnson 22-99, Eli Stove 1-12, Chandler Cox 1-6, Stanton Truitt 2-5, John Franklin III 1-4, Sean White 4-3, Team 1--2
UGA: Nick Chubb 23-101, Sony Michel 10-55, Riley Ridley 1-14, Isaiah McKenzie 1-7, Brian Herrien 2-2, Jacob Eason 2--18, Team 4--26
PASSING
AUBURN: Sean White 6-20-27-1, Kerryon Johnson 2-2-10-0
UGA: Jacob Eason 20-31-208-0, Terry Godwin 0-2-0-1
RECEIVING
AUBURN: Eli Stove 2-13, Kerryon Johnson 2--9, Tony Stevens 1-14, Ryan Davis 1-9, Stanton Truitt 1-6, Marcus Davis 1-4
UGA: Isaiah McKenzie 4-35, Terry Godwin 4-11, Riley Ridley 3-89, Isaac Nauta 3-43, Sony Michel 3-18, Jeb Blazevich 1-5, Charlie Woerner 1-4, Nick Chubb 1-3
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Auburn2nd SEC West5-38-5
Georgia2nd SEC East4-48-5

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