Georgia’s touchdowns before halftime built momentum in 27-10 victory over Auburn
Midway through the second quarter Saturday night against Auburn, things weren’t going great for the Georgia offense.The Bulldogs trailed the Tigers 10-6. Twice they had entered the red zone, and both times they were forced to settle for field goals in a continuation of struggles in the red zone over the past few weeks.
“Auburn came out with good plays on defense and they had the momentum, so we just had to shut them out, put the fire out.”
- Deandre Baker, Georgia defensive back
But then, the Bulldogs righted the ship, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half to seize control in an eventual 27-10 win over Auburn.“We always tell ourselves we need momentum before we go into the half,” center Lamont Gaillard said after the game. “That’s what we do when we come out with two minutes.”The Bulldogs were on the verge of kicking another field goal before their first touchdown. They faced third-and-4 on the Auburn 14 with the possibility of coming up short in the red zone for the third time.But the team was bailed out by quarterback Jake Fromm, who connected with Tyler Simmons in the back of the end zone to put Georgia on top 13-10.But the bigger score wasn’t the first touchdown, but the second. First, the defense forced an Auburn three-and-out after the touchdown to Simmons.“We had to put the fire out,” corner Deandre Baker said. “Auburn came out with good plays on defense and they had the momentum, so we just had to shut them out, put the fire out.”On the ensuing drive, Georgia had a fourth-and-3 from the Auburn 38-yard line. The Bulldogs ran the clock down before calling a timeout with 29 seconds left.Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said he noticed several scenarios from across college football where coaches mismanaged the end of halves last week. Smart and staff weighed the pros of picking up the first and eventually kicking a closer field goal against the cons of failing to convert and giving Auburn a shot at points before the half.“You’ve got to have confidence in your players, you’ve got to show confidence in your offense, and I felt like at that time we needed to score points,” Smart said. “I was looking to get a field goal, but we hit a big play.”
The big play was a slant to Terry Godwin, who raced 38 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 20-10. Not only that, but the Georgia offense was also in a position to extend the lead further by getting the ball to start the second half.“Great play call, something we worked on all week,” Fromm said. “Terry does a great job in space in those option routes and he won, did an awesome job. I thought that was my hardest pass of the night because he was so open. You don’t want to miss it.”The offense didn’t extend the lead after halftime. In fact, it went three-and-out.But the Bulldogs did their job before the intermission. They turned a four-deficit into a 10-point lead in less than three minutes, establishing a command of the game they never relinquished.