No. 1 Georgia needed another second-half comeback and a heroic effort from tight end Brock Bowers to avoid its first loss in nearly two years.
In a 27-20 road win over Auburn, Georgia overcame two ill-timed turnovers and a punishing Auburn running game to win its 22nd consecutive game and 32nd consecutive regular season game. And just like the South Carolina win from a few weeks back, Georgia had to play from behind.
Georgia trailed 10-0 after the first quarter and 17-10 for most of the third quarter, but Kirby Smart’s team remained composed. First-year starting quarterback Carson Beck had a rough first half in his first career road start, but settled in and made some big throws in the second half. Bowers, UGA’s surefire first-round pick at tight end, was his favorite target.
Bowers caught eight passes for 157 yards and the game-winning 40-yard touchdown with just 2:52 remaining in regulation. The game was tied 20-20 when Beck found Bowers in the middle of the field for a highlight reel catch-and-run touchdown.
Bowers showed off his entire package of skills on the play. He ran a crisp route, showed soft hands and then his combination of speed and physicality as he broke away from the Auburn secondary.
Bowers had just two catches for nine yards in the first half as Auburn jumped out to an early lead. But the second half was a completely different story as Bowers brought in seven receptions for 148 yards and that all-important touchdown.
Many of his catches came in clutch situations, too.
Bowers had a 29-yard catch on the late third-quarter drive that tied the game at 17 apiece. On the next drive, Beck connected with Bowers for gains of 37 and 28 yards to set up the go-ahead 38-yard field goal with 10:57 to play.
And after Auburn tied the score at 20-20 with 6:21 to play and looked like it would get the ball back with a chance to win the game, Beck found Bowers for a 16-yard gain on a pivotal third-and-12 from just inside midfield.
Beck had some rough moments early but made play after play when it mattered. He finished the day 23-of-33 for 313 yards with one touchdown and an interception as the Bulldogs went 8-of-13 on third down. Daijun Edwards had a strong game as well, rushing for 76 yards and two scores. Edwards’ 13-yard touchdown tied the game at 17-17 late in the third quarter.
Auburn, in its first season under Hugh Freeze, is severely limited with its passing game but found ways to matriculate down the field. Rotating quarterbacks Payton Thorne and Robby Ashford and steadily feeding running back Jarquez Hunter, the Tigers took advantage of two Georgia turnovers as they built a lead.
Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as Georgia’s defense stiffened in the second half and found a way to pull out a road win on the Plains. Thorne finished the day with 82 yards passing and 92 yards on the ground, but his interception with 1:28 to play ultimately sealed the win for Georgia.
Now 5-0, the top-ranked Bulldogs will return home to face Kentucky next Saturday. UK is also undefeated and coming off an impressive 33-14 win over No. 22 Florida earlier Saturday.
Auburn, meanwhile, is now 3-2 heading into a bye week. After the off week, the Tigers will go to Baton Rouge to face LSU.