There’s no shortage of moments to look back on when it comes to the Deep South’s Oldest Football Rivalry.
There’s been agonies and heartbreak, for sure. In recent seasons, Georgia’s had its share of revenge games against whatever the mascot du jour for the West Alabama institution of learning may be.
Each of those came in losses and while Auburn had its share of celebration, the Dawgs exacted revenge.
2017: Beating The Dawg Out Of Them When It Mattered
On a chilly November afternoon, Georgia rolled into Auburn as the top-ranked team in the CFP Rankings. Looking back, with the way Auburn and its crowd were juiced up, I don’t know that the New England Patriots would have beaten the Tigers that day. After the game, then-Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was caught via a camera microphone saying that “Auburn beat the dog crap” out of Georgia.
In the end, the win was a nice piece of window dressing for Auburn, but it was not the win that mattered as a few weeks later in the SEC Championship, Georgia exacted revenge, the final dagger being via D’Andre Swift in a 28-7 win.
No Auburn Luck This Time
During Georgia’s time of being college football’s version of Job’s suffering, few losses were as much of a gut punch as 2013. A frenzied second half nearly delivered a dramatic win for Georgia on a gutsy score by Aaron Murray as he inched over the goal line. That was until former Georgia defensive back Nick Marshall, who despite any media narrative you may have heard left Athens due to accusations of theft, heaved a dying quail with only a few seconds left that was deflected into the air and of course with Auburn’s stupid luck, turned into a touchdown.
I won’t lie - that one hurt - though I will give Mrs. Lugnut Dawg credit for trying to cheer me up by deciding the aftermath of the loss was the time to inform that we’d be having what is now our oldest child.
Flash forward to a year later. Georgia physically beat up Auburn that day. Hutson Mason was only 10-of-19 for 123 yards in a 34-7 win. That’s because he didn’t need to throw it much with Georgia turning back the page to the days of Dooley vs. Dye with nearly 300 rushing yards as a team with Nick Chubb rushing for 144 yards and Gurley 138.
Crowell’s “What If” Game A Year After The Rivalry Turns Unfriendly
Growing up in south Georgia, there was a strong semblance of the Auburn rivalry. It was good-natured for the most part. You saw a lot of the same in the two schools with common threads, including having similar fan bases and agriculture being a strong tenet for each school. The 1980s saw each team be coached by a former player from the other side of the rivalry in Vince Dooley and Pat Dye. Auburn’s basketball arena even bore the name of Georgia’s former athletics director Joel Eaves.
Sure, it got heated at times, but to a degree, you could say the rivalry was friendly.
That all ended with a halt in November, 2010. Whether it was feeling that Cam Newton should not have even been eligible but Auburn pranced around like someone who got away with a crime or the SEC officials enabling Nick Fairley to try and paralyze Aaron Murray and nearly cause an ugly on-field crawl, any pockets of there being bad blood exploded that day.
In truth, the Georgia-Auburn rivalry, despite what Hugh Freeze claims, has been anything but friendly since that 49-31 Auburn win.
Auburn not only had Cam Newton in 2010, but an experienced offensive line. That and other losses showed big time a season later in Athens in an easy 45-7 Georgia win. The Dawgs led 28-7 at the half on a Bacarri Rambo pick six. Power running helped Georgia put the game away with the much-touted Isaiah Crowell rushing for 132 yards and Carlton Thomas going past 120.
Crowell ran the ball with the appearance of someone very ticked off and determined that day, a glimpse of what was perhaps envisioned during his signing. Crowell would end up being dismissed during the next offseason, leading to a ‘what if’ of a running back room of Crowell, Todd Gurley, and Keith Marshall, and in 2014, the addition of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.