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Social media reacts to Auburn's upset bid against Georgia

JD McCarthy

3–4 minutes

So close.

Auburn nearly pulled off the shocking upset over the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers stormed out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter but were unable to hold on and fell 27-20.

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Auburn’s offense was unable to put together enough drives as the Bulldogs held them to just 10 points in the final three quarters.

After shutting him down in the first half, Auburn’s defense was unable to slow down tight end Brock Bowers who caught several key passes on third down and scored the final touchdown of the day to seal the Georgia win.

Despite the loss, Auburn fans were proud of the effort and took to social media to react to the game, here is a look at some of the top reactions.

Auburn is close to being back fr 💙 give it time! War Damn always

— Chandler Wooten (@ItsMeWootang) September 30, 2023

Last week, Thorne needed to do more to help his teammates out.

This week, they needed to do more to help him

— Dan Peck (@DanielAllenPeck) September 30, 2023

Lost in the shuffle today will be that any doubt about Jordan-Hare being one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the sport should be gone.

— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) September 30, 2023

I hate Bryan Harsin so much for trying to make a statement with this program and giving us a middle finger on the way out

— Allie Davison (@Allie_Davison) September 30, 2023

I’ve seen enough. Jaylin Simpson is absolutely the best player in the nation.

— Nick Fairley’s Ghost (@SharifesGhost) September 30, 2023

Jaylin Simpson making lots of money today. Auburn moving him to safety was brilliant for all parties involved

— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) September 30, 2023

Hugh Freeze is gonna be a problem for the rest of the SEC

— Chris Beamguard (@ChrisBeamguard) September 30, 2023

Give Hugh Freeze the time to get players here.

— Weagle_01 🦅❄️ (@Weagle110) September 30, 2023

Auburn stuff is happening, and I don't mean a coup.

— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) September 30, 2023

Thorne threw some good balls on that last drive… WRs tho 😔😔😔

— Aubie’s son🦅 (@AubieSon) September 30, 2023

losing to them sucks more than losing to anyone else. Onward and upward.

— joshdub (@joshdub_) September 30, 2023

I’m not disappointed at all. We are a recruiting class away from competing with anyone

— CAPTAIN PAYTON THORNE (@hfreezeburner) September 30, 2023

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Auburn improves offensively against Georgia, but something still 'isn't clicking'

Nathan King

9–11 minutes

“I think swagger was missing last week on offense. I think that was a big thing that we focused on."

Whose Auburn offense is it anyway?

Hugh Freeze said all week that he needed to be more involved in all aspects of the Tigers’ offensive preparations for No. 1 Georgia. If that was indeed the case, it yielded some promising improvement in the 27-20 loss Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium — especially relative to the product Auburn put on the field the previous game.

Particularly on the ground, the Tigers were able to bounce back from a touchdownless offensive performance in their SEC-opening loss to Texas A&M, and played well enough to compete with the Bulldogs for four quarters.

“I mean, I was really active in the plan,” Freeze said postgame. “I approved every call that was on the call sheet. So it was — I thought our plan was solid. Got to make a few more throws and catches when we have to. I thought we missed some runs, particularly on third downs.”

Freeze said last week he thought “swagger” was still missing on the Tigers’ offense, and Auburn’s early momentum against Georgia went a long way in helping to fix that. The Tigers got an early turnover from Jaylin Simpson and turned a shortened field into six points — after an 84-yard field goal drive — and spotted the No. 1 team in the country a 10-0 deficit early.

Their success featured a heavy dose of the ground game, where Auburn’s offensive line, quarterback and running back got into a nice groove. By the end of the first quarter alone, Auburn had more rushing yards in a game against Georgia since 2018.

“I think swagger was missing last week on offense,” offensive guard Kam Stutts said. “I think that was a big thing that we focused on. Just coming out with a lot more energy and getting after it.”

Auburn ultimately ran for 219 yards, becoming the first team to cross the 200 threshold against Georgia since the 2018 season. Quarterback Payton Thorne’s dual-threat ability complemented a solid performance for the Tigers’ running backs. Thorne had a 61-yard gallop in the first quarter and finished with 92 yards, while Jarquez Hunter and Brian Battie combined for 94 yards, with Hunter scoring early. Backup QB Robby Ashford added 33 yards and a second-half touchdown.

The offense looked capable of not only creating momentum, but sustaining it — a significant difference from an ugly performance at Texas A&M. Of course, there were still plenty of issues — Auburn failed to pass for 100 yards for the third straight Power Five game this season, and went just 2-of-12 on third down — but it hopes it can zero in on the positives as it enters a bye week.

“We kind of ditched last week,” said Thorne, who went 10-of-19 passing for 82 yards and an interception on Auburn’s final play from scrimmage. “We threw it in the garbage and learned what we needed to, but we weren’t hanging our heads over one game. Most teams in the country, almost all teams in the country, are going to lose at some point in the year, so you can’t get defeated by just one. So we put our heads back down and went back to work this week and tried to fix to the best we could the things that were tripping us up. I thought we made progress on that.”

Though his increased involvement during the week was clear, Freeze did not indicate that he was any more of a play caller Saturday than he usually is, continuing to defer to offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery.

“Coach Freeze is always there in practice since fall camp,” running back Brian Battie said. “He’ll call his own plays every now and then. But Coach Mont, he’s still running the show.”

After Ashford scored off a short field in the third quarter to put Auburn up 17-10 after a fumble recovery, the Tigers weren’t able to ride out that momentum, punting their next two drives as Georgia worked to take the lead early in the fourth quarter.

Auburn was pleased with much of what it saw against the No. 1 team in the country on offense, especially from a response perspective from game-to-game, but knows there’s a ton of work to be done to beat the better teams on its schedule moving forward.

“Something is missing right now that we’ve just got to get to correct,” Battie said. “We’ve got the athletes. We’ve got the quarterback. We’ve got the arm. Something isn’t clicking, and we’ve got to get something going here pretty soon in order to be the offense that we want to be.”

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The dam broke for Auburn's defense against Georgia superstar Brock Bowers

“He’s an All-American for a reason."

“Unguardable” is often too sensational a term for an impressive football player.

It may have been an apt description for Georgia tight end Brock Bowers down the stretch of Saturday’s 27-20 Auburn loss.

Arguably one of the primary reasons the Bulldogs were able to complete a comeback at Jordan-Hare Stadium and hold off Auburn’s upset bid was because the Tigers couldn’t slow down Bowers. It felt, at times, like he was single-handedly keeping the Bulldogs’ offense on the field, as they scored 17 of the game’s final 24 points.

“He’s an All-American for a reason,” Auburn linebacker Eugene Asante said postgame. “(He was) put in different situations when different players were covering him and he did a really good job.”

Auburn didn’t allow Georgia quarterback Carson Beck to find much success looking Bowers’ way in the first half. Of course, Beck saw a massive uptick in production after halftime in all facets, but his ability consistently complete passes to Bowers was one of the most important.

Bowers, a preseason All-American nod at tight end, was targeted six times in the first half but came up with just two receptions for 9 yards. When Georgia went 61 yards down the field to tie the game 10-10 on a field goal in the second quarter, Beck looked Bowers’ direction on two straight passes — including a shot to the end zone — and was denied by two straight pass breakups by Auburn safeties Jaylin Simpson and Zion Puckett.

“Mixed up coverages,” Hugh Freeze said of the game plan for Bowers. “You know, don't just play him (in) straight man. Play some bracket coverage on him, and he still found ways to win in some tight quarters a couple of times. Got to give him credit. He made some good plays, but there were a couple, though, that we gave up that should have played it a little different and been underneath him and not on top of him.”

The dam broke late in the third quarter, and Bowers was a complete mismatch in the clearest definition of the word. Beck was continuing to surge — he completed 16-of-20 passes for 236 yards in the second half overall — as Georgia really started to hit its stride when Bowers took the game over.

Through the first 41:58 of the game, Bowers had just three catches for 7 yards on eight targets. The rest of the way, he was targeted six times, with five receptions for 150 yards — including Georgia’s go-ahead touchdown with 2:52 remaining.

The dam broke. Beck went after Puckett consistently, but Bowers couldn’t be defended effectively by anyone wearing orange and blue. The Tigers were also dealt a few injuries late in the game, including when Simpson went down but later returned.

"I think we did pretty good on assignment and alignment,” Puckett said postgame. “I think once you get farther down in the game people get fatigued and miscommunication I think is what happened for us in that second half."

On the 40-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead for good, Bowers slipped past Asante and freshman cornerback Kayin Lee in soft coverage, and Beck found him immediately. Then it was just a matter of Puckett and cornerback D.J. James being unable to wrap him as he barreled into the end zone.

As Freeze said postgame, third down was a big reason for Auburn’s loss — on both sides of the ball. The Tigers converted 2-of-12 attempts and allowed Georgia to go 8-of-13 — with Beck leading the way. He was 8-of-10 for 115 yards on third down alone, and three times Bowers moved the chains with a reception.

Auburn’s defense, however, still kept the Tigers in a four-quarter game against the No. 1 team in the country. A pair of takeaways — Simpson’s interception at midfield, and a Marcus Harris forced fumble on Georgia’s first play of the second half — led to 14 Auburn points.

“We weren't surprised,” pass-rusher Jalen McLeod said. “The preparation Coach Roberts put the defense through, Coach Freeze — they gave us the strength. We were in the film room. Our practice, we had a great practice the whole week. We knew it was going to be a dog fight, and we thought we were going to win. One hundred percent, we thought we were going to win. We thought that the whole game.”

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Auburn hopes emotional loss to Georgia shows program's potential

Nathan King

5–6 minutes

Perhaps a lopsided loss wouldn’t have been so emotional.

But there the Tigers were, dejected, understandably, after coming oh so close to what would have been one of their greatest upsets in recent memory. Auburn lost 27-20 to No. 1 Georgia inside Jordan-Hare Stadium — and not for lack of opportunities for the home team that was more than a two-touchdown underdog.

At the end, Auburn just didn’t have enough juice on either side of the ball to squeeze out a huge victory. Plenty of bright-orange-clothed Auburn fans hung around after the game and cheered players as they sulked to the locker room — while Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs celebrated in the opposite end zone.

By the clearest definition, this was a tough pill for Hugh Freeze’s first-year Auburn team to swallow — against a huge rival, with a chance not only to knock off the two-time defending national champions, but also to break a long losing streak. Instead, that mark now increases to seven straight losses for Auburn in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

“I'm really proud of our kids,” Freeze said. “But it hurts in there right now.”

It was a quiet locker room — with some sniffles. Linebacker Eugene Asante, who always wears his emotions on his sleeve, had tears in his eyes as he spoke to reporters about a half hour after the game ended. Frustrated quarterback Payton Thorne slammed the press room door on his way out.

“You see a couple boys in there crying,” pass-rusher Jalen McLeod said. “It hurt. It's a rivalry game. It hurt. That's all I need to say.”

Auburn hopes, though, that this is a sign of where Freeze’s program can soon ascend. Regardless of where the game is played, Auburn’s patchwork roster — still melding together, with plenty of clunkiness — shouldn’t be able to compete for four quarters against a team whose annual recruiting class hasn’t finished outside the top 3 nationally since 2016.

Yet the Tigers did. They led by 10 points in the first half and were in a tie ballgame in the fourth quarter. It may not be Saturday night — as a deflated team drives past unrolled oak trees — but the Tigers hope they can pick up the pieces next week and realize what Saturday signified. Moral victory? No chance. But possibly a peek at how quickly a previously downtrodden Auburn program can compete in a murderous conference.

“We played with the best team in the country,” running back Brian Battie said. “We showed that we can compete with them so if we can compete with the best team in the country, we can compete with everybody. And we made a few mistakes out there, and they just made a few more plays than we did.”

Auburn scored two touchdowns off turnovers — an interception at midfield by safety Jaylin Simpson in the first quarter, then a fumble recovery by McLeod on Georgia’s first play of the third quarter inside the opposing 35-yard line — and certainly had more of a pulse than its first SEC loss last Saturday at Texas A&M.

The Tigers failed to reach the end zone as an offense in College Station. They trashed that game, though, then came out and ran for 219 yards against the Bulldogs — the most allowed by Georgia in a game since 2018.

“I think we knew all along — we knew that Texas A&M game wasn’t our standard,” offensive guard Kam Stutts said. “... I think we showed a little bit more of what we’re capable of. Still opportunities to get better.”

They weren’t without fault, of course. Auburn went just 2-of-12 on third down, and failed to convert a third-and-short inside Georgia’s 15-yard line in the first half. Auburn still hasn’t passed for 100 yards as a team in its last six Power Five games. And Auburn couldn’t cash in with touchdowns on its most successful possessions; the Tigers’ three longest drives of the game ended with two field goals and a turnover on downs.

A banged-up Auburn defense was dissected by Georgia quarterback Carson Beck in the second half, as Beck threw for 236 yards and had just four incompletions after halftime. His preferred target — preseason All-American tight end Brock Bowers — was practically unguardable in the fourth quarter, with four catches for 121 yards and the go-ahead score with 2:52 left.

Fighting through tears, though, Asante had plenty of praise for his unit — a group that now has 10 takeaways through five games and has likely been a bit crisper than many expected.

“We can be the team that we say we want to be,” Asante said. “... We can be who we think we are, we can be who we believe we are. I think the biggest thing is just doing it consistently and just coming out there and playing the way we need to play.”

Auburn knows it has to make the bye week a positive at this point in the season, and not cause to dwell on what could have been against Georgia.

“That’s one thing I can guarantee right now: We’re going to continue to work hard,” Asante said. “And I swear by it. That’s one thing that I can guarantee.”

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Auburn report card: Grading Auburn’s near-upset against No. 1 Georgia

Published: Oct. 01, 2023, 6:30 a.m.
7–9 minutes


If you can’t get excited to host the No. 1 team in the country, then college football isn’t the right sport for you.

In front of an incredible Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd, Auburn pushed No. 1 Georgia to the very end before losing 27-20. It was a thrilling game down to the finish that seemed to show a lot about what Auburn can do now, but more importantly what recruits can bring to Auburn in the future after such a hugely important recruiting weekend.

Anyway, let’s get right into grades.

Offense: B-

All things considered, this was Auburn’s best offensive performance of the season. It wasn’t as statistically impressive as the win over Samford, but given the opponent and given the circumstances, this was pretty good.

Auburn ran the ball for 219 yards against Georgia. I don’t think that was on just about anyone’s bingo card after Auburn had around 200 total yards against Texas A&M a week prior. Quarterback Payton Thorne led Auburn with 92 rushing yards. Jarquez Hunter led the team with 19 carries, but only averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Brian Battie had a second straight impressive game on the ground in a backup role — as seemingly the top option behind Hunter after Damari Alston’s injury.

Auburn also cut down on the abysmal sack numbers from a week prior from seven allowed at Texas A&M to three against Georgia.

Auburn’s offense was also much better with regard to penalties. Auburn was only flagged once the whole game.

There were significantly fewer mistakes as a whole from this group.

But what keeps this grade down at a B- is that Auburn still doesn’t have a passing offense. Auburn hasn’t thrown for more than 100 yards against a Power 5 opponent this season and Saturday continued that streak. Thorne threw for 82 yards and Robby Ashford threw for six.

That failed Auburn because when it needed to move the ball late in the game with a legitimate chance to knock off the No. 1 team in America, it wasn’t able to do anything but run the ball to the perimeter.

Today was close to finding Auburn an offensive identity. But if Auburn is committed to having balance, this wasn’t that either.

Auburn still doesn’t have any target in the passing game it can rely on like Georgia can with its star tight end Brock Bowers. Speaking of which...

Defense: B+

Things were good for the first, almost, three full quarters. Auburn had Georgia on the ropes. Jaylin Simpson recorded his fourth interception of the year in the first quarter of this game. Marcus Harris had an incredible game forcing a fumble on Georgia’s first play of the second half and leading Auburn with two tackles for loss as part of seven total tackles.

Auburn only allowed 145 yards to Georgia in the first half. The crowd was exuberant and Auburn had life because of the big plays from this defense.

Ron Roberts devised another good game plan that for large portions of this game kept Georgia quarterback Carson Beck under pressure. Roberts has truly been an underrated MVP of this team so far in the 2023 season.

Largely Auburn held Georgia’s running game in check, too. Bulldog running backs only averaged 3.6 yards per carry — about a yard and a half fewer than Auburn.

And then Brock Bowers broke loose.

Here’s the thing, there isn’t much anyone can do about Bowers. He’s the best tight end in the nation and there isn’t an argument there. Auburn did very solid work to keep him as a non-factor in the first half.

But when the game was on the line, Auburn could not stop him. Bowers had four catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in just the fourth quarter. That score wound up as the game-winner.

While this loss is disappointing, it was a testament to the talent gap Hugh Freeze has discussed. Though everyone in the nation has a talent gap to the likely future first-round NFL draft pick.

The defensive effort was valiant, but not enough.

Special Teams: A

Another A for Auburn’s special teams which have been great all season.

Alex McPherson went 2/2 on his field goals — a 27-yarder and 42-yarder.

Battie was only given one chance as a kick returner but he did have a 32-yard run back which he seemed about a tackle or two away from getting loose all the way back to the endzone. He’s done that a few times this season. Feels like that breakthrough is coming.

The special teams star was Oscar Chapman. He averaged 51.2 yards per punt. That number is a bit skewed from a 71-yard punt at the end of the first half that Georgia allowed to roll all the way down to the goal line after coming full force to block the punt.

But it’s not as if Chapman only had one good punt. He pinned Georgia inside its own five-yard line twice. He had four punts downed inside Geogia’s own 20-yard line. He helped Auburn win the field position battle — albeit that only mattered so much when Carson Beck led a 10-play, 98-yard touchdown drive in the second half after a fantastic Chapman punt.

Coaching: B-

There were some big questions this week about who would call plays for Auburn. It seems like Freeze was the go-to guy during this game. He said he “approved” everything on the play sheet.

But there were some questionable choices. Auburn choosing to go for it on 4th down at the Georgia 12-yard in the line in the first half felt a bit aggressive. And the snap was bad, coaching can’t control that, but in hindsight, I wonder if kicking the field goal would make more sense.

There also seemed to be a bit more of the seemingly haphazard quarterback rotations. Not like the Cal game, but it seems to stray more into the area that Freeze didn’t want.

It begs the question of exactly how the playcalling structure worked because if Freeze was the only one making decisions, it would have seemed to make more sense that Freeze lived up to what he’s said.

The relationship between Freeze and offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery will be a big story during the bye week.

Overall: B

Coaches nor fans tend to like these things, but this was a moral victory. Auburn wasn’t supposed to compete, but it did. This doesn’t mean Auburn is back, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

For arguably the first time all season, Auburn has something it can build on going forward with its offense.

And most importantly, Auburn showed signs of life to the recruits in attendance. It makes that recruiting pitch easy. Come be the reason Auburn wins that game in the future.

Freeze is likely excited for the bye week. There is a lot of evaluating to do. But a moral victory is a better way to go into the bye week than the potential blowout would have been.

Matt Cohen covers Auburn sports for AL.com. You can follow him

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Instant Impressions Georgia 27 Auburn 20

Nathan King

7–9 minutes

Auburn had the No. 1 team in the country on the ropes most of the afternoon, but didn't have quite enough juice to squeeze out one of the biggest upsets in recent program history.

The Tigers led by double digits early and took advantage of a couple takeaways, but couldn't muster enough consistent offense or defensive stops down the stretch, as Georgia scored 17 of the game's last 24 points and pulled out a 27-10 win on the Plains — the Bulldogs' seventh straight win in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

Here are Auburn Undercover's instant impressions from a thriller in Jordan-Hare Stadium. 


After a couple punts in the third quarter, Auburn had one of its most impressive drives of the afternoon, including a third-and-6 completion from Payton Thorne to Rivaldo Fairweather, to put the Tigers in scoring position.

Auburn couldn't keep chugging and had to settle for the tying field goal, which Alex McPherson knocked through from 45 yards out.

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck got Georgia rolling on its ensuing drive with a nice throw across his body to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint for an 18-yard pickup, but Beck then faced a big third-and-12, with the crowd going ballistic. Beck once again found his favorite target, Brock Bowers, for a 16-yard pickup.

Then it was Bowers who put Georgia ahead with a tackle-breaking, 40-yard touchdown on second-and-long with three minutes left.

Payton Thorne found his own athletic tight end, Rivaldo Fairweather, for a 22-yard pickup on the ensuing drive. But Thorne and company eventually found themselves in a fourth-and-10, and Georgia safety Malaki Starks came up with the game-sealing interception.


Auburn defensive coordinator Ron Roberts threw everything he had at Beck in his first career road start.

The Georgia quarterback’s ability to answer is probably why his team won the game.

Beck shook off his early mistake and showed poise in the face of Auburn’s pressure — of which there was plenty. Harris and McLeod in particular had big performances, combining for two tackles for loss and three quarterback pressures.

But particularly on third down, Beck stood tall in the pocket and delivered a number of impressive throws. On third down for the game, Beck went 8-of-10 for 115 yards, and Georgia went 8-of-13 on third down overall.

Brock Bowers, the Bulldogs’ preseason All-American tight end, was basically showing off in the fourth quarter. In addition to a one-handed catch that was called off due to a flag, Bowers had six catches for 148 yards in the second half alone — including a 16-yard catch to move the chains on third-and-12 late in the fourth quarter, followed up by his 40-yard touchdown catch.

Georgia was also taking advantage of a depleted Auburn defense, as the Tigers had seen injuries in the second half to Harris, Simpson, McLeod and defensive end Mosiah Nasili-Kite. 


Keeping an orange-clad and venomous Auburn crowd in the game early and often had the potential to provide some assistance for the Tigers against the No. 1 team in the country.

They made sure that was the case by grabbing an early takeaway, then doing so again right out of halftime.

One play after a sigh of relief for the Auburn defense, when Beck overthrew tight end Oscar Delp on what would have been a big gain, Auburn safety Jaylin Simpson made an impressive play to win a jump ball at midfield against Rosemy-Jacksaint. Simpson was awarded possession and the interception after some deliberation.

Right out of the locker room, on Georgia’s first offensive play of the second half, Auburn D-lineman Marcus Harris punched the ball out from Delp, and Jalen McLeod recovered at Georgia’s 32-yard line. Backup quarterback Robby Ashford found the end zone three plays later.

Jordan-Hare Stadium absolutely exploded when it appeared Auburn forced its second fumble in as many plays on the following series, but it was ruled Daijun Edwards was down before losing the ball. 

Later in the third quarter, with McLeod pummeling Beck as he let go of it, linebacker Cam Riley nearly came up with the wobbly ball but couldn’t dive for the interception.

Auburn scored its only touchdowns of the game off the two Georgia turnovers.


Auburn knew it had more than its fair share of issues passing the ball in the early stages of the season. Georgia knew it, too,

Yet the Tigers found plenty of success keeping the ball on the ground, and it gave them a chance offensively against one of the best defenses in the country.

When Hunter scored toward the end of the first quarter, Auburn had its most rushing yards in a game against Georgia since the 40-17 win in 2017. Auburn finished with 219 yards rushing. Georgia hadn’t allowed a team to run for 200 yards in a game since 2018.

With Damari Alston out indefinitely after last weekend’s shoulder injury, Hunter was the lead ball-carrier for Auburn, and he totaled 59 yards and a score.

Thorne’s early 61-yard gallop wasn’t a fluke, either. The QB was more decisive taking off from the pocket than he was against Texas A&M, as he picked up five first downs in the game with this legs, and finished with 92 yards.

Ashford continued his role as a change-of-pace runner, contributing 33 yards and his touchdown.

The lack of effectiveness putting the ball in the air made things difficult for the Tigers on third down, sure. They didn’t convert their first third down of the game until the third quarter, after missing their first six attempts. Auburn was just 2-of-12 on third down for the game.

Auburn failed to score any points after getting all the way down to Georgia’s 12-yard line after Hunter was hit in the backfield on a fourth-and-1. It didn't come back to bite the Tigers per se, but it was another missed opportunity for Auburn.


Auburn led 10-0 early over the Bulldogs, thanks to a couple big plays on both sides of the ball. On Auburn’s second drive of the game, Thorne ripped off a 61-yard run on a keeper down the sideline — from his own 9-yard line. Freeze kept things conservative with three straight runs in the red zone, and the Tigers drew first blood with a chip-shot Alex McPherson field goal.

Simpson made his big interception on Georgia’s second drive of the game, and Auburn took over at midfield.

Thanks to continued success running the ball, Auburn scored seven plays later, as Jarquez Hunter plunged into the end zone.

Georgia was able to close the gap fairly quickly, though. Helped by a 40-yard kickoff return, the Bulldogs responded with an 11-play scoring drive, during which Beck made some nice throws in the face of pressure, including a third-down conversion in the red zone. Auburn quickly went three-and-out, and Georgia again got into the red zone — this time, though, Auburn safeties Simpson and Puckett got a couple nice pass breakups against Bowers to force a tying field goal to make it 10-10 in the second quarter.

Auburn Undercover will update this story. Check back for additional information.

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Takeaways: Auburn falls in a nailbiter against the Georgia Bulldogs

Zac Blackerby
~3 minutes

The Auburn Tigers gave Georgia everything they could handle.

In this story:

Auburn Tigers

Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers went toe to toe with the standard of college football for the past three seasons. 

Auburn fell to Georgia 27-20.

Hugh Freeze's first home SEC game on the Auburn sideline was electric. A loud Jordan Hare Stadium gave Auburn a shot as the Tigers were tied with the number one team in the country at the half and entering the fourth quarter. 

No such thing as a moral victory but it's hard to not be impressed with what this Auburn team did on Saturday.

Here are some takeaways from the action.

Auburn's offense found an identity

Brian Battie vs Georgia Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

The Auburn offense entered Saturday with more questions than answers. Against Georgia, the Auburn rushing game emerged. Despite missing Damari Alston, the rushing attack got production from several players. Payton Thorne proved to be a threat on the ground, Jarquez Hunter showed why he's considered a top-SEC back, Brian Battie excelled in space, and Robby Ashford continued to prove that he deserves reps in this system.

Georgia allowed 87 yards a game on the ground entering today. Auburn ran for 219 yards. 

This Auburn defense continues to show out

Marcus Harris vs Georgia Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

Auburn's defense continues to be the bright spot of Hugh Freeze's team. They continue to force turnovers to give their offense a chance. 

The Auburn Tigers showed different things up front to keep Georgia's offense guessing and off-balance. 

Also, Jaylin Simpson is incredible. Four picks in four games. He leads the SEC.

Third downs matter

Payton Thorne vs Georgia Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

Eric Starling/Auburn Daily

Money downs are important, especially in close games. 

Auburn's offense struggled on third down. The Tigers didn't convert a third down conversion until the second half. They ultimately finished 2-12. Auburn was 1-3 on fourth down.

Georgia finished 8-13. 

Auburn showed that they can belong in the SEC

Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) breaks free for a long run as Auburn Tigers take on Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2021.

© Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Going into a bye week, Auburn has to feel better than where they were a week ago. Now cloaked with an identity on both sides of the ball, some confidence, and proof that you can keep up with anyone, as of right now, I like Auburn's chances for the rest of the season even more.

On to LSU.

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Kirby Smart has message for Auburn fans after Georgia survives at Jordan-Hare Stadium

Updated: Sep. 30, 2023, 10:23 p.m.|Published: Sep. 30, 2023, 6:04 p.m.
~2 minutes

Kirby Smart called it a composure mission.

Moments after No. 1 Georgia defeated Auburn 27-20 on the road in Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Bulldogs coach couldn’t say enough about the atmosphere for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

“This is a special atmosphere,” he told CBS right after the game. “I want to congratulate the Auburn fans. They have an incredible atmosphere. It’s tough to come here and play.”

The win was the seventh straight for Georgia over Auburn.

“Composure mission,” he said. “That’s what it was. This team hadn’t been on the road. This young man (Carson Beck) has not played in this environment.”

Beck finished 23 of 33 for 313 yards and a score.

“Like Kirby said, the environment is insane,” said Beck, who added the game was “fun.” “It gets loud, but we’re staying composed. We didn’t have the start that we wanted. We ended up finishing. It is always nice to get a win on the road in the SEC.”

Mark Heim is a reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim. He can be heard on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 FM in Mobile or on the free Sound of Mobile App from 6 to 9 a.m. daily.

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3 takeaways from Auburn’s 27-20 loss to No. 1 Georgia

Updated: Sep. 30, 2023, 6:56 p.m.|Published: Sep. 30, 2023, 5:50 p.m.
5–6 minutes

That was a wild one in Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was one of the most exciting games Auburn has played in a long time and it showed a lot for the bigger picture of this program with the future there to watch it.

Here are our three takeaways from the 2023 edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, with Georgia surviving on the road, 27-20 over Auburn.

Auburn had a hot start on offense against the nation’s best team

Well, where did that come from?

Auburn could not do anything on offense against Texas A&M last week. It barely crossed 200 yards of total offense.

So you’d think going against a better defense and a better team like Georgia even though the game was at Jordan-Hare Stadium would be even tougher sledding, right?


This wasn’t exactly a high-flying offense, but it was surely an improvement over what Auburn showed in its previous two games against Power 5 opponents, let alone doing this against the No. 1 team in the country.

Auburn went three-and-out on its first drive of the game, very reminiscent of the game in College Station, Texas. But then Auburn went down the field and scored on each of its next two drives. Neither were particularly smooth drives all the way through, highlighted by a 61-yard Payton Thorne run and a pass interference call that set up Auburn to score after a Jaylin Simpson interception. But the scoreboard still read Auburn 10, Georgia 0.

Auburn found a way to run the ball in the first half when it was able to get to the perimeter. Auburn rushed for 145 yards in the first half. But it wasn’t able to throw the ball at all. Auburn had 28 passing yards in the first half.

Auburn also got the ball in the red zone three times and only scored 10 points.

But it got the crowd in the game early, and the crowd was in it all the way through.

Make what you will, Auburn gave itself a chance

A lot of times, when an underdog gives a top team a run at an upset, they’ll fade away in the third quarter.

That did not happen.

Georgia got the ball back to start the second half and Marcus Harris forced a fumble on the first play. Auburn quickly scored another rushing touchdown with Robby Ashford to go up 17-10. Then Georgia got the ball right back and appeared to fumble again. Turned out running back Daijuan Edwards was down, but the play gave Auburn momentum when it could have gone away.

It kept a very, very loud Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd very, much in this game when it probably shouldn’t have been given its inability to convert on third down and to throw the ball.

Auburn played such a weird game on offense, but it kept it close in a game it wasn’t expected to do. And it gave itself a legitimate chance to win this game. It’s among the most life Auburn has shown all season. Auburn had to get up for this game, and it did.

You got a great look at it: This is what Auburn wants to be

Here’s the big picture. This wasn’t a game Auburn was supposed to compete in. But it did.

This day was about a lot more than just the result of this football game. It was about showing off Auburn to the around 70 recruits who were here. It was about trying to find some sort of an identity on offense, and it was about seeing where Auburn stacks up against the teams it wants to compete against going forward.

Head coach Hugh Freeze has talked about his long-term plan to compete seriously with teams like Georgia and Alabama by year three or four of his tenure. It’s hard to get an emotional buy-in from a fanbase and a team like this every single week. It was so clear how much Auburn was ready for this one. But it also came in knowing it was undermanned. Purely from the eye test, the dudes Georgia has are a bit different than what Auburn’s roster holds.

And that’s okay, that’s how rebuilding a program is supposed to work. What this game showed is some hope for the future. There is a lot to critique from this offense still especially when it comes to passing the ball. But Auburn showed improvement and pushed Georgia to the brink.

At some point, the bigger, better football team was going to take over.

Matt Cohen covers Auburn sports for AL.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @Matt_Cohen_ or email him at mcohen@al.com

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Instant Analysis: Late score plagues Auburn in loss to No. 1 Georgia

Taylor Jones
~4 minutes

For three quarters, the Auburn Tigers matched the pace of the nation’s top team.

It took No. 1 Georgia nearly the entire game to put the nail in the coffin but did so with 2:52 remaining in the game. Georgia quarterback Carson Beck connected with tight end Brock Bowers for a 40-yard touchdown pass to secure the 27-20 victory on Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

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Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) outgained Auburn (3-2, 0-2 SEC) 275-134 in the second half, and outscored the Tigers 17-10 to pull away for the win. Bowers was a key component in Georgia’s second-half surge. He caught eight passes for 157 yards and a score in the win after securing just two catches for nine yards in the first half.

Entering Saturday’s game, Auburn had failed to score in the first quarter in three straight games. That all changed when the Tigers dropped 10 points on Georgia in Saturday’s opening quarter.

Auburn’s first score would come off the legs of Alex McPherson, who ended an eight-play, 84-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal to put Auburn ahead, 3-0 at the 6:04 mark. Auburn struck again with 2:00 remaining in the quarter when Jarquez Hunter rushed from five yards out to extend the Tigers’ lead to 10-0.  The touchdown drive was set up by Jaylin Simpson’s fourth interception of the season.

It would not take long for Georgia to strike back. With 11:50 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Georgia’s Dijuan Edwards scampered into the end zone from two yards out to cut into Auburn’s lead, 10-7. The drive was Georgia’s longest at that point, covering 56 yards on 11 plays.

Auburn’s defense allowed Georgia to gain 61 yards on their next drive but ended with a win as they forced the Bulldogs to kick a field goal. Peyton Woodring’s 37-yard attempt tied the game at 10-10 with 5:57 remaining in the first half.

Auburn’s strong first-half start continued into the second half, as they forced a turnover on the first play of the 3rd quarter. Jalen McLeod fell on the football at the Georgia 32-yard line to put the ball back into his team’s hands.

The Tigers needed just two plays to make Georgia pay for the turnover. Robby Ashford rushed nine yards to paydirt to extend Auburn’s lead to 17-10 with 13:31 in the quarter. Ashford rushed for 27 yards in Auburn’s 32-yard drive.

Auburn’s defense held strong until the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter. Georgia pieced together a 10-play, 98-yard drive to tie the game at 17-17 with 1:03 to go in the quarter. The headlining play was a 29-yard pass from Beck to Brock Bowers, which set up a 13-yard touchdown rush by Edwards on the very next play.

Georgia grabbed their first lead of the game with 10:57 remaining in the game on a 38-yard field goal by Woodring. McPherson answered with 6:21 remaining to set the score at 20-20 by nailing a 42-yarder.

The final nail in the coffin was driven in by Bowers with 2:52 remaining in the game. He hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Beck to push Georgia ahead for good, 27-20.

Auburn enters the bye week with a 3-2 record, and 0-2 in SEC play. On the other side of the bye week is SEC West rival, No. 12 LSU. Kickoff and broadcast information will be announced Monday morning.

Contact/Follow us @TheAuburnWire on  X (Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Auburn news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Taylor on Twitter @TaylorJones__

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iposted this yesterday but i doubt few saw it. tough game guys. i am going back to bed.

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Everything Auburn’s players said after their loss to Georiga

JD McCarthy

Sun, October 1, 2023 at 7:00 AM CDT·5 min read


Auburn’s players fought hard against the Georgia Bulldogs but they were unable to pull off the upset, losing 27-10 in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Tigers opened the scoring with a field goal after Payton Thorne ripped off a 61-yard run. The offense took advantage of a short field after Jaylin Simpson picked off Georgia quarterback

on their ensuing drive.

Jarquez Hunter capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run to make it a 10-0 Auburn lead in the first quarter. The Bulldogs responded with back-to-back scoring drives to tie it up ahead of halftime.

The teams traded blows in the second half before Georiga took a 27-20 lead with 2:52 to play and Auburn was unable to answer.

Several Auburn players spoke with the media after the game, here is everything they said.

LB Eugene Asante

On using the positives as momentum…

“It’s a learning lesson for us. We know a standard for what we can play. We just have to continue to hone in and put our best foot forward and never take a play off. Just continue to work on the cerebral part of the football game. Being smart and instinctual in handling situations and why coaches run what they run. So just working on the mental piece of football and putting our best foot forward.”

On Brock Bowers…

“Brock’s a good player, a really good player. He’s an All-American for a reason. We just put him in different situations where different people were covering him and he did a really good job. So kudos to him and to what type of tight end he is. He’s a great tight end.”

QB Payton Thorne

On the difficulty of the loss…

“Yeah, it’s extremely difficult, extremely disappointing, extremely frustrating. I thought that we should have won the game, to be honest. I give credit to them though, obviously. They’re a great team, two-time defending champs. You know they’re rolling over there. But it was frustrating, I feel like we let it slip away.”

On how the team fought today…

“I’m very happy with that, you know it was good to see. Coach talked about going toe-to-toe with them, and I thought we did that. I don’t think anyone was out there playing scared and we got to take that away from this game. So that was a positive.”

LB Larry Nixon III

On what he learned from playing a team like Georgia…

“Honestly, playing the No. 1 team gave me a lot of confidence just to know where we stand (as a team). We were so close to beating them, so that really gave me some more confidence, even though we may have not won the game.”

On what the plan was guarding tight end Brock Bowers…

“We treated it like every other game – same coverages and everything. It wasn’t anything special what we did. Maybe, we should have done something different, but I had faith in the game plan. We just didn’t win.”

JACK Jalen McLeod

On what part of the game plan was working well…

“We sent a lot of heat at them. They were trying to run a quick game and that’s not their type of game, so we had them out of their element for a little bit. They got right back into it in the fourth quarter.”

On how big of a step forward is this for the program…

“It’s a good step forward. The defense came together and the offense had a good game. We just have to put it all together and play at once.”

S Zion Puckett

On the importance of the bye week…

“That’s really big for us. We have a lot of injuries right now, so we’re going to focus on cleaning up film and getting our bodies together.”

On the message in the locker room…

“After losses, people feel down. But, I felt like I needed to tell everyone to, ‘stay together, stay connected,’ because it’s a long season. My journey is just beginning and we’re going to keep going from there.”

OL Kam Stutts

On the ability to cash in on turnovers…

“The defense showed up. They got us some fumbles. I wish a couple more would’ve went our way, but they definitely showed up for us and gave us some opportunities to go score.”

On the overall message in the locker room…

“Keep fighting. There’s a quote that I love: ‘true character isn’t revealed during times of comfort, but in times of controversy and challenge.’ So that’s the message – keep fighting, keep continuing to get better and to push each other.”

DL Marcus Harris

On what the locker room was like after the game…

“Disappointment for sure, because we know we could have had that game. We know there is so much we can improve on and we are not where we want to be at. There is a lot of hope for the future. We have an off week this week and I can’t wait for the game (at LSU) after that.”

On what Auburn football can do…

“I think the nation learned more about what we can do. We see each other every day, so we know what we are capable of. Last week was not a good showing for the whole team. We knew we had to pick up the intensity this week against this great team.”

RB Brian Battie

On finding success running the ball…

“I feel like we had a lot better practice. Everybody was locked in. I am truly proud of how we played today and the way that we wanted it.”

On Auburn being physical…

“We knew coming into the game, we had to be the more physical team. It started with the O-Line. They went all out. Overall, I feel like we played a good game.”

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire

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Tim Tebow explains ways that Auburn can help Payton Thorne reach the top of his game

Taylor Jones

Sat, September 30, 2023 at 1:51 PM CDT·2 min read


Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze understands that in order to succeed in the SEC, offensive success needs to be at the top of the checklist.

Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne has not gotten off to as great of a start as he would like, and Freeze admits that there is a spread of blame for his struggles.

“We’re asked to be psychologists along with being a coach. I feel like there’s things our staff has let him down on. Some of it is him, and he knows that and owns it,” Freeze said.

Freeze says that he will do a better job of coaching and preparing Thorne to succeed, but does Thorne’s troubles stop at coaching? Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow does not think so.

Tebow was a guest during the Paul Finebaum Show on Friday, where he outlined Thorne’s struggles and detailed ways to fix them. The Heisman Trophy winner says that Thorne will succeed once the entire offense succeeds.

“You know, it’s not like Payton Thorne had a lot of time. The receivers weren’t really winning a bunch of one-on-ones. They weren’t able to consistently run the ball,” Tebow said Friday of Auburn’s most recent game at Texas A&M. “So there are a lot of people who just want to say quarterback and that’s not fair. It’s everybody on the offensive side.”

Tebow also credits Auburn’s lack of identity for causing struggles as well.

“They’ve all got to do a little bit of a heart check, a gut check, and say, ‘OK, who are we?” Tebow said. “And how can we find a little bit of flash every now and then offensively,’”

Thorne and the Auburn Tigers will look to upset No. 1 Georgia at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Contact/Follow us @TheAuburnWire on X (Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Auburn news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Taylor on Twitter @TaylorJones__

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire

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