Georgia makes playoff bid by routing Auburn to win SEC title

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn listens to a question during an NCAA college football news conference for the SEC championship game against Georgia in Atlanta Friday Dec. 1 2017

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn listens to a question during an NCAA college football news conference for the SEC championship game against Georgia in Atlanta Friday Dec. 1 2017

In Round 2, it was Georgia that returned the favor - with the defensive front often hurrying Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham when he went back to pass in the pocket and the offensive front opening big gaps for Georgia star running back Nick Chubb to run through. Auburn beating Georgia the first time around and following it up by taking down Alabama a week ago was certainly emotionally exhausting, but playing for the SEC championship was plenty enough motivation to put the good times behind an take the next step forward. Auburn was ranked second in the CFP poll but managed only 259 yards after piling up 488 in its November 11 rout of the Bulldogs. "They did a lot better job this time with the run fits, and we figured they would".

The Bulldogs will play in one of the two national semifinals, which are being held New Year's Day at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. An Auburn offensive line that has perhaps been the biggest reason for the Tigers' turnaround this season was outdone on this night. "We were all really, really excited players-wise, coaching staff-wise".

Auburn is 45-21 over the course of Auburn's five-year tenure, which began following the firing of Gene Chizik after the 2012 season. Malzahn was in his first year as Auburn's head coach in 2013, when the Tigers set a record for points in a 59-42 win over Missouri. "I love my players", Malzahn said Saturday. The Bulldogs picked up a pair of first downs on their first possession to cross midfield, but the drive stalled when Fromm was sacked twice in a three-play stretch. Fromm completed 16 of 22 passes for 183 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown to Isaac Nauta in the second quarter and a 6-yarder to Terry Godwin with just over 13 minutes remaining that essentially sealed Georgia's victory.

Said Carter: "Davin's got ice in his veins, and he went out there and balled". But the Tigers were stymied by two crucial turnovers, a blocked field goal and a Georgia team eager to make up for its embarrassing 40-17 defeat on the Plains.

Georgia drove the other way for the tying score and tacked on the first of two field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship for a 10-7 lead at the half.

Georgia (12-1) is nearly certainly headed to the College Football Playoff in just its second year under coach Kirby Smart, who learned a thing or two about what it took to get there in his previous job as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator at Alabama.

"We had some moments in there".

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