Stetson Bennett, Zamir White Guide No. 4 Georgia to 27-6 Win over No. 7 Auburn

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 4, 2020

Georgia wide receiver Kearis Jackson (10) celebrates after a catch during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Zamir White scored two touchdowns, Kearis Jackson amassed nine catches and 147 receiving yards and Georgia's dominant defense stymied Auburn as the No. 4 Bulldogs defeated the visiting No. 7 Tigers 27-6 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

Georgia began the game with scored 24 unanswered points off a pair of one-yard White runs, a chip-shot field goal and George Pickens' 21-yard touchdown reception. White's second touchdown helped give Georgia a 24-0 lead with 6:26 remaining in the second quarter.

Auburn hit a field goal before halftime, and the two teams traded field goals in the second half to close the scoring.

UGA, which opened its season with a 37-10 road win over Arkansas, sports a 2-0 record. Auburn, which started 2020 with a 29-13 home win over Kentucky, is now 1-1.


Notable Performances

Auburn QB Bo Nix: 21-of-40, 177 passing yards, 1 INT

Auburn RB Tank Bigsby: 8 carries, 31 rushing yards; 7 catches, 68 yards

Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz: 8 catches, 57 yards

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett: 17-of-28, 240 yards, 1 TD

Georgia RB Zamir White: 19 carries, 88 rushing yards, 2 TD; 1 catch, 10 yards

Georgia WR Kearis Jackson: 9 catches, 147 receiving yards


Kearis Jackson Introduces Himself to National Audience

Jackson, a sophomore, entered Saturday with 11 career receptions for 141 yards.

He wasn't featured in the deep and talented Bulldogs offense last year as future NFL players like running back D'Andre Swift and wide receiver Lawrence Cager amassed much of the team's touches and targets.

If Saturday is any indication, however, Jackson will star in this year's offense after dominating the nation's No. 7 team under the lights. Of note, Jackson nearly matched his career production in the first half alone:

Justin Felder @Justin_FOX5

How's this for wide receiver Kearis Jackson, per UGA: in the first half tonight, he already has career highs for yards in a game (104), catches in a game (7) and longest reception (49 yards).

He wound up eclipsing his career yardage total by the game's end anyway.

Daniel Shirley of The Athletic provided a succinct and accurate subjective point of view:

Daniel Shirley @DM_Shirley

Kearis Jackson is dominating this game. Not sure what Auburn is trying to do on either side of the ball.

Jackson's presence forces opposing defenses to give more respect to the aerial attack.

Leading 2019 wide receiver George Pickens, for example, doesn't have to worry about receiving extra defensive coverage, thereby freeing him on plays like on this 21-yard touchdown to give his team a 16-0 edge:

ESPN College Football @ESPNCFB

Right in the bread basket to George Pickens 🍞 https://t.co/xbZJjOSrTB

For his part, Jackson hauled in a 49-yard pass to set up White's second touchdown run. Jackson was wide-open but had to adjust after quarterback Stetson Bennett underthrew the pass.

Still, Jackson caught the pass and absorbed a big hit to put Georgia in the red zone. Shortly thereafter, the Bulldogs went up 24-0.

Jackson added more explosive plays in the form of a 17-yarder on Georgia's first touchdown drive and a 21-yard catch to set up a field goal in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 27-3 edge. His last catch went for another 22 yards.

Georgia ultimately cemented its status Saturday as a Top Five team by any measure. Jackson played a big part in that regard, as he helps form an explosive dimension to the Bulldogs' passing game.

That, in turn, helps Georgia stake a claim as the most well-rounded team in the country thanks to a strong run game, the aforementioned pass game and a dominant defense that has been a nightmare for the opposition thus far.


Georgia's Defense Beats Auburn's Offense via 1st-Round Knockout

Give credit to Georgia's defense for its oppressive power and speed, which overwhelmed the Auburn attack.

However, much more was expected of the Tigers going into the night, especially after they largely excelled in a 29-13 win over No. 23 Kentucky in their opener.

Instead, Auburn couldn't get anything going.

The Tigers possessed the ball six times before halftime. The first three ended with three-and-outs, and the fourth went just 22 yards prior to a punt.

The fifth finished with a chip-shot field goal, and the sixth ended with a failed trick play from Auburn's own 15-yard line that lost four yards.

Georgia's defense ultimately called game in the first half. Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put the unit in good perspective:

Dave Matter @Dave_Matter

If you told me Georgia is playing with 12 players on defense every snap, I'd believe you. Absolutely smothering.

Ex-NFL player and SEC Network analyst D.J. Shockley credited the Bulldogs' speed in particular:

DjShockley @DjShockley3

The speed of this Georgia defense is so evident evident it’s putting so much pressure on this auburn offense

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix didn't have his best game, but he didn't have much of a chance. The Georgia front seven overwhelmed Auburn's protection, as ex-NFL wideout Harry Douglas tweeted:

Harry Douglas @HDouglas83

Auburn gone have PROTECTION meeting after PROTECTION meeting next week...QB Bo Nix fighting for his life out there

In the end, Auburn vs. Georgia went much like how ESPN described it on Twitter:

ESPN @espn

Recapping the first half of Auburn-Georgia: https://t.co/3vcOEp7jYr

Auburn's offense is far better than what it showed Saturday, but Georgia's loaded defense may cause problems for every single team it faces if its dominant win over the Tigers is any indication.


What's Next?

Both teams will play at home on Oct. 10. The Bulldogs will host Tennessee, and the Tigers will welcome Arkansas to Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.