3 things

1. How one play can change a game’s momentum?: Auburn played solid football in the first quarter and trailed 13-10 with 2:07 left in the first half. The Tigers faced a third-and-2 from their own 25 when Jarrett Stidham overthrew a wide open JaTarvious Whitlow.

If Stidham makes the simple completion — one of his five incompletions in the first half — Auburn is in position to at least get in field goal range to tie the score heading into the locker room. However, Auburn is forced to give it back to the Bulldogs.

On the ensuing drive, Georgia decides to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the Auburn’s 38-yard line. Jake Fromm connects with Terry Godwin for a touchdown 21 seconds before halftime and a 20-10 lead.

Georgia was never threatened again in winning its sixth straight in the series against Auburn in Athens dating back to 2005.

2. Tigers’ defense has no answers for D’Andre Swift

Georgia sophomore D’Andre Swift’s skill set matches his surname. The Bulldogs’ elusive running back ran inside, outside and up the middle to terrorize Auburn’s defense to the tune of 229 yards.

Swift carried the ball 17 times for 186 yards, including a game-breaking 77-yard touchdown run that gave the Bulldogs a 27-10 lead. He also caught four passes for 43 yards including a 25-yarder on third down.

Swift, a 5-foot-9, 215-pounder, looks to be in the similar mold of recent star Georgia running backs Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams), Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns) and Sony Michel (New England Patriots).

3. Was Georgia’s fourth-quarter fake FG attempt rubbing it in?

With 3:20 left in the game, Georgia was leading 27-10. The Bulldogs were lining up for a 31-yard field goal attempt. But instead of having Rodrigo Blankenship kick the field goal, Georgia coach Kirby Smart called for a fake field goal attempt.  

Blankenship’s pass to Isaac Nauta was incomplete, but was the decision by Smart an attempt to stick it to Gus Malzahn and the Tigers? It makes you wonder, and it’s something to consider as the rivalry between the two schools continues.

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Grades

Rushing offense — C: Tigers still can’t run the ball (20 carries for 102 yards) but compared to last week’s effort against Texas A&M (21 carries for 19 yards) it was a noticeable improvement.

Rushing defense — F: Georgia battered away at Auburn front seven with the duo of Elijah Holyfield (15 carries for 93 yards) and D'Andre Swift (17 carries for 186 yards) while averaging more than 6.6 yards per carry.

Passing offense — C: When given time, Jarrett Stidham was accurate with a decent completion percentage, but the Tigers were unable to get anyone open downfield, averaging only 4.6 yards per attempt.

Passing defense — C: One of the biggest plays of the game came on a fourth-and-3 before halftime, when Jake Fromm connected with Terry Godwin for a 38-yard touchdown and a 20-10 lead.

Special teams — B: Arryn Siposs is proving to be an effective weapon, averaging 40.3 per punt on six attempts and downing the Bulldogs once inside the 20. Anders Carlson keeps improving on his high success rate inside 50 yards.

Coaching — C: The touchdown pass by running back JaTarvious Whitlow (first career attempt) to John Shenker (two career receptions prior to touchdown) certainly caught Georgia’s defense off guard.        

Overall — C: Auburn came out with a spirited effort on offense and defense in a rivalry game but were unable to sustain it on the road against the team headed to face No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game.

— Brad Zimanek

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