The "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" between No. 1 Georgia and No. 10 Auburn turned into a victory lap for the homestanding Tigers, who dominated the Bulldogs 40-14 in a game that kept the hosts alive in the SEC West and College Football Playoff race while simultaneously putting an end to the Bulldogs' dream of an undefeated record.

Tiger running back Kerryon Johnson was a monster, rushing for 167 yards on 32 carries and catching two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was 16-for-23 passing for 214 yards with three touchdowns and no picks in a solid performance for the Baylor transfer. Meanwhile, Georgia's vaunted rushing attack was held to just 46 yards on the game -- 1.6 yards per carry -- by a swarming Tigers defense that was incredibly disruptive.

What did we learn from the dominating Auburn win? 

1. Gus Malzahn came of age: The knock against the fifth-year coach heading into this stretch run is that he wasn't a big gamer. Conservative or odd play-calling cost the Tigers in both of their losses this year -- road defeats to LSU and Clemson. It cost them the 2014 Iron Bowl when they couldn't capitalize early in the red zone, the national title game the previous season against FSU when they built a big early lead on Florida State and even in the famous "Miracle on the Plains" against Georgia in 2013 when they blew a three-score, fourth-quarter lead before being bailed out by Ricardo Louis and Nick Marshall.

He's not scared anymore. Malzahn coached the game of his life in the win, including in the second half when Auburn was up 30-10 in the fourth quarter and, instead of running Johnson -- who was doing work -- ran a reverse to wide receiver Eli Stove that went for 30 yards to extend a drive that led to a field goal. Then after Georgia punted, he went for the jugular -- a 55-yard screen pass later in the fourth to Johnson to extend the lead to 40-10 with 6:13 to play. Malzahn coached to win. Not to lose. As a result, Auburn moves on to a massive game against Alabama in two weeks in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

2. The Iron Bowl is one of the biggest in the rivalry's history: That game against Alabama is going to be as big as "The Kick Six" in 2013, when Chris Davis returned a missed Alabama field goal 109 yards for the win with no time on the clock to clinch the SEC West for the Tigers. That was the first time since the divisional split that the Iron Bowl served as the de facto SEC West title game, and Nov. 25 will serve as the second.

Everything will be on the line. A stretch run by two-loss Auburn that includes wins over No. 1 Georgia, likely No. 1 Alabama and then a highly-rated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game will almost certainly result in a ticket to the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, Alabama will have its fourth straight SEC West, SEC and College Football Playoff berth on the line when the two rivals tee it up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Get your popcorn ready.

3. All is not lost for Georgia: Before everybody starts saying that Georgia is a fraud, a paper tiger and not worthy of the praise it received for the first two months of the season, just stop. There's no doubt, the Bulldogs got whipped -- primarily by an Auburn defense that was absolutely suffocating to the typically dominate Georgia rushing attack that came in averaging 279.33 yards per game on the ground. But the Bulldogs get a mulligan.

A ticket has already been punched to the SEC Championship Game. Georgiaonly has one loss on the season; it also has a heads-up win over Notre Dame on its resume and still has a chance to beat either Auburn or Alabama -- either of which will be extremely highly ranked -- in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The biggest question isn't Nick Chubb or Sony Michel at running back. It isn't Jake Fromm at quarterback. It isn't the defensive front. It's an offensive line that was simply destroyed by a fast and physical Auburn front seven that didn't let the backs do anything in running downs, and teed off on Fromm in passing situations. It was their worst game of the year, but it was really their only bad game of the year. Now they have motivation.

4. Kerryon Johnson needs to be in the Heisman conversation: Johnson missed two games in September but has been the driving force behind Auburn's newfound place in the national spotlight. He's at 1,035 yards for the year with 15 rushing touchdowns -- two as a receiver -- and he's found his stride as an every-down back who always seems to fall forward despite a reputation of being more of a slasher early in his Auburn career. He's on a similar pat to former Tiger running back Tre Mason, who was a Heisman finalist during that 2013 season. He came on strong, led Auburn to an unlikely BCS National Championship Game berth and finished sixth.

Johnson will need some help to win -- most notably, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield stumbling in a big spot -- but this kind of performance on a big stage should earn Johnson serious consideration and a trip to New York during the second weekend of December. 

5. Auburn's defense is scary: Whether it was Jeff Holland off the edge, Derrick Brown in the middle or an underrated group of linebackers, the Tiger defense is next-level good. In his second season as the coordinator of a once-maligned unit, Kevin Steele has not only transformed Auburn's defense into a force -- but one that's a consistent force. This matters, because at times when the offensive line breaks down -- a problem that has popped up at times -- the Tigers have been able to stay in games. Can they stop the Crimson Tide in two weeks? We'll see, but at this point, can you doubt this crew? Nope.

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