Upfront and personnel: Auburn takes 7th straight loss in Athens
There was a game between Auburn and Georgia in week 2, but it was not much of a competition.
The Bulldogs established that they were the more physical team in the first quarter and never looked back, eventually winning 27-6. Athens continued to be a house of horrors for the Tigers as they have now lost seven contests in a row at Georgia’s Sanford Stadium.
Auburn did force a three-and-out from Georgia on the first possession, which gave hope that the Tigers were ready to play.
However, Auburn returned the favor and had to punt the ball back after their first offensive drive ended in three plays, as well. After those first two drives of the game, the momentum was clearly in the Bulldogs favor.
The Georgia offensive line did an outstanding job of pushing around an overmatched Auburn defensive front, averaging nearly five yards per carry. That was pretty surprising considering that the Bulldogs averaged less than three yards per rush against Arkansas last week. The Bulldogs powerful line also did an outstanding job of providing protection for quarterback Stetson Bennett IV who was making his first career start. The strength of the Georgia rushing attack and the effective pass protection allowed Bennett to settle into his new job and play clean football.
Just like last week versus Kentucky, the Auburn defense struggled to get off the field on third down as the Bulldogs had converted 8/13 attempts by the time Georgia brought in their second string quarterback. Unlike in week one, the Tigers defense was unable to create any turnovers or many negative plays for the Bulldogs offense. The combination of those circumstances led the Auburn defense to wear down over the course of the game.
Offensive line puzzle
As tough of a night that the Auburn defensive front had, the Auburn offense may have had it even worse. It was no secret coming into the game the the Georgia defense is one of, if not the best, defenses in the entire country. The talented Bulldog defenders completely overwhelmed the Tigers all night.
Auburn continued to shuffle offensive linemen in and out of the game hoping to find the right group of guys to create running lanes and also protect quarterback Bo Nix. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were unable to construct a unit capable of generating room for backs and receivers to operate effectively. Auburn averaged only two yards per rush and quarterback Bo Nix was somewhere between uncomfortable and completely flustered all evening on passing attempts.
Air attack grounded
It was expected that the Tiger passing attack would need to be strong in order to open up some running lanes for the Auburn tailbacks. But, Georgia did a great job of keeping star wide receiver Seth Williams under wraps the whole game. With Williams closely covered and Georgia defenders harassing him all night, Bo Nix was unable to lead the offense to a single touchdown.
Auburn is sure to be disappointed with their performance against Georgia, but that feeling can’t linger too long. The players and coaches must learn what they can, correct mistakes and prepare for the rest of this SEC-only schedule. Auburn must continue to improve and get ready to face an Arkansas Razorbacks team that just won its first SEC game in two seasons.
Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @z_m_shaw