Georgia vs Auburn: A Look Back at Every Game During the Mark Richt Era

Dr. SECAnalyst IINovember 8, 2011

Georgia vs Auburn: A Look Back at Every Game During the Mark Richt Era

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    This weekend, the University of Georgia and Auburn University will square off for the 115th time. There will be much on the line for both teams, and it is sure to be a great game.

    For Georgia, they will be trying to avenge last season's loss and heated ending. With a win, they can all but lock up their first trip to the SEC championship game since 2005.

    Auburn, on the other hand, is trying to build on success that many did not expect. If they can get a win in Athens, it could not only upgrade their bowl game, but be a building stone for next season.

    How close is this series? Consider these points.

    • Auburn leads the series 54-52-8 lead.
    • Georgia leads the cumulative score 1,809-1,771.
    • Georgia leads the per-game average of 15.86-15.53.

    Under Mark Richt, the Bulldogs have won six of 10 games. However, this series has been so close either team could have several more wins during Richt's tenure.

2001: Georgia vs Auburn

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    The 2001 game was not only the debut of Mark Richt to the Georgia-Auburn series, but it was also the debut of future Auburn star running back Cadillac Williams. Williams was only months removed from his days as an Etowah Blue Devil but took over the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

    Williams rushed for 167 yards on 41 carries and caught four passes for an additional 71 yards as he led the Tigers to a 24-17 win. However, games do not get much more competitive than this one. Both teams finished the game with 375 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs were led by freshman quarterback David Greene, who had 294 yards passing and two touchdowns.

    The difference in this game was the run defenses. While Williams torched the Bulldogs, the Tigers held Musa Smith, Verron Hayes and Jasper Sanks to 77 yards on 20 carries and zero touchdowns.

    The key defensive stop of the game was when Georgia fielded the punt with 1:10 remaining  and down seven points. The Bulldogs moved the ball to the 1-yard line before Auburn stopped the Bulldogs on the final play of the game. Dontarrious Thomas and the Tiger defense stopped Georgia's Jasper Sanks short of the goal line as time expired.

2002: Georgia vs Auburn

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    Mark Richt would lead his Bulldogs into Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time during the 2002 season. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 4 in the nation, while the Tigers were ranked No. 22.

    The Bulldogs were heave favorites because the Tigers would be without Cadillac Williams. However, they still had Jason Campbell and Ronnie Brown—and it showed.

    The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 233-63 in total yards in the first two quarters as they marched out to a 14-3 halftime lead. Auburn was being led by Brown, who had already tallied 103 yards.

    Fortunately for the Bulldogs, things would not remain bleak, as Georgia rallied back to within four at the end of three quarters.

    The fourth quarter of this game will live in the minds of the Bulldog faithful forever. The Bulldog defense stifled the Tigers and held them to six straight three-and-outs. However, the Bulldog offense had been unable to capitalize.

    They would get one more shot when they got the ball back on their 41 with 1:58 left and no timeouts. Georgia quarterback David Greene would complete a 41-yard pass to a leaping Fred Gibson to give Georgia a chance.

    Greene, however, would miss on his next three attempts and the Bulldogs got a false start penalty to leave the Bulldogs with a 4th-and-15. There was more than just a win on the line. If the Bulldogs won this game, they would be able to play for their first SEC championship in 20 years—that is a lot of pressure.

    Greene and the Bulldogs would not fold to the pressure. Instead, he pump-faked and lofted a pass into the left corner of the end zone. Michael Johnson would out jump Horace Willis for the touchdown with 1:25 left.

    A Boss Bailey sack later, the Bulldogs would clinch the East and eventually win the SEC championship.

2003: Georgia vs Auburn

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    The second half of the 2002 Georgia-Auburn game ended with a dominant performance by the Bulldogs defensive unit. The 2003 was simply a carry over.

    Cadillac Williams would return back to Athens, where he had dominated the Tigers two years prior. However, this game would be much different for Williams and his Tigers. He was held to 45 yard on 12 carries and was ineffective most of the night.

    Georgia dominated from the start with a 13-0 halftime lead and 19-0 third-quarter lead. The Bulldogs offense was stagnant, but their defense was ferocious.

    Auburn, however, would attempt a fourth-quarter comeback of their own. The Tigers were finally driving with just under 12 minutes still remaining in the game. Jason Campbell rolled right and appeared to have an open receiver in the end zone.

    Campbell would release the ball, but it was tipped and intercepted by Odell Thurman at the 1-yard line. Thurman intercepted the ball and took off running—he would not stop until he reached the end zone on a 99-yard return.

    Auburn would add a late and meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Georgia won 26-17.

2004: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    Mark Richt would make his second trip to Auburn to face the Tigers. However, he would not leave the stadium with the same joy he had in 2002.

    The Bulldogs entered the game ranked No. 5 in the nation, but Auburn was undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation. The high rankings led to a much-anticipated game.

    The excitement was over by halftime, as Auburn ran out to a 17-0 lead.

    Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown would combine for 270 yards, and the whole Bulldog team only had 279 yards. The Tigers would win the game, 24-6, but when Georgia did finally score a touchdown, there was only 2:13 remaining.

    The Tigers would finish the season undefeated, but hosed out of the National Championship game.

2005: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    In 2005, the Bulldogs were looking to rebound from their first loss of the season the week prior against the University of Florida. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Tigers would leave Georgia limping home in defeat. 

    This game played out like so many in this series.  The game featured a total of eight lead changes. At the end of three quarters, Auburn led Georgia, 21-20. The fourth quarter would continue to be a back and forth battle. However, it appeared that the Bulldogs were going to win it.

    The Tigers were down to a 4th-and-10 at their own 34. Brandon Cox dropped back and found Devin Aromashodu breaking free across the middle. Aromashodu would be off to the races, but 62 yards later, he was caught by Georgia defender Paul Oliver, who caused Aromashodu to fumble. Auburn would recover in the end zone.

    It would be ruled that the ball could not advance and was placed at the 3-yard line. This would end up being a bad break for Georgia, as Auburn was able to run the clock out before hitting a game winning field goal.

    Kenny Irons would lead the Tigers with 179 yards on 37 carries. DJ Shockley played well for Georgia in the loss by completing 20-of-36 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns.

    All was not lost—UGA would still end up winning the SEC championship over LSU.

2006: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    Heading into the 2006 Georgia-Auburn game, Georgia was on their worst slide under the leadership of Richt. The Bulldogs had dropped four of their previous five games. Their only win during this stretch was a three-point victory over Mississippi State.

    Auburn, on the other hand, was ranked No. 5 in the nation with a 9-1 record.

    Georgia’s decline, in part, was because Richt was determined to allow freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford to play through early struggles.  The results would start to pay dividends in this game.

    Stafford would complete 14-of-20 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. Running back Kregg Lumpkin would rush for 105 yards on 21 carries.

    However, it was Tra Battle's three interceptions in the first half that was the difference.This game was never close, as Georgia rushed out to a 30-7 halftime lead.

    It was not just the upset that was so shocking, but how easily they did it. Georgia would finish the season with three straight wins over top 15 teams.

2007: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    You cannot mention the 2007 Georgia-Auburn game without hearing two words, “The Blackout."

    The game started off close, as Georgia lead 17-10 at the half. The Tigers would open the third quarter with 10 straight points and captured a 20-17 lead.

    It was from that moment on that the “Blackout” turned into a knockout. Freshman running back Knowshon Moreno would take over the game with back-to-back touchdowns, and Georgia was not done.

    Behind the balanced attack of Matthew Stafford (237 yards passing) and the running game (180 yards rushing) led by Moreno, the Bulldogs ran away to 45-20 win.

    Georgia held the Auburn offense to only 216 yards in a truly dominating performance. It would not be the last time the Bulldogs would wear the black jerseys that season. They would again wear them in the Sugar Bowl, where they dismantled Hawaii 41-10 and finished No. 2 in the nation.

2008: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    The 2008 team was ranked as the preseason No. 1. However, after an early loss to Alabama after a tough stretch of road games against South Carolina and Arizona State, the Bulldogs never seemed to be completely focused.

    Heading into the Auburn game, the Bulldogs had needed a fourth quarter comeback to beat Kentucky. Georgia, once again in this game, plays with fire. Fortunately for Richt and company, they were able to escape with a win.

    Georgia was trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter before Matthew Stafford connected with AJ Green on a 17-yard touchdown pass.

    Knowshon Moreno rushed for 131 yards on 22 carries, and Stafford threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

    Georgia would finish the season 10-3 and ranked No. 10 in the nation.

2009: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    After three straight defeats, Auburn came out swinging in the first quarter of the 2009 game. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and to make matters worse for Bulldog fans, AJ Green went out with an injury.

    The Bulldogs would fight back to tie the game 17-17 at the end of three.

    The fourth quarter was going to be one of the most exciting quarters in the series history. Georgia running back Caleb King would score an 11-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs the lead early in the fourth.

    However, on the ensuing kickoff, Desmond Washington tied the game with a kick 99 yards return for a touchdown.

    Georgia would gain the lead again, this time on a 24-yard run by King, but the game was far from over.

    Auburn would get the ball back and move the ball successfully attempting to force an overtime. Auburn would attempt a pass on 2nd-and-11 on the Georgia 22. Chris Todd lofted a pass over the middle for Mario Fannin, who was hauling it in at the goal line.

    However, out of nowhere, Bacarri Rambo sacrificed his body to knock the ball away. The pass was broken up, but Rambo was knocked unconscious. After a 10-minute delay, the Bulldogs played inspired defense because of the effort of their teammate. Georgia would stop the drive and win the game.

    The win was the fourth in a row.

2010: Georgia Versus Auburn

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    Coming into last season’s Georgia-Auburn game, there was plenty to play for on both sides. Georgia was trying to get back above .500 and win their fifth straight in the series. Auburn, on the other hand, were trying to make it to the BCS national championship.

    Georgia would come out strong, led by the arm of freshman quarterback Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs would jump out to a 21-7 lead.

    Despite all of the off-field-issues surrounding Cam Newton, he and his Tigers would fire back to tie the game at 21-21 at the half.

    At the start of the third quarter, Gene Chizik would call perhaps the play of the game. The Bulldogs were set to receive the ball at the start of the second half, but Auburn had different plans. The Tigers successfully attempted an onside kick.

    Ontario McCalebb would score on a two-yard touchdown, and it was an uphill battle from there on. The Bulldogs would trade out scores in the third until Coach Richt made a questionable decision.

    It was 4th-and-5 from the 11, and he decided to kick a field goal. That would have been the right call against other teams, but not this potent Auburn offense. As a result, Auburn would score and put the game out of reach.

    Auburn tacked on another touchdown for good measure with just over two minutes to go. The 49-31 win would end the Bulldogs' four-game winning streak.

    Georgia was trying to win one for the thumb, but Cam cut it off.