ATHENS — The Saturday, November 28, game between Georgia and Georgia Tech will be televised by ESPN2 with kickoff scheduled for 12 noon ET.
ATHENS, Ga. — Sony Michel saw daylight, and the game was over.
Michel ran for a 25-yard touchdown on Georgia’s only overtime play, leading the Bulldogs to a 23-17 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday night.
Michel ran straight through the line and scored high-stepping into the end zone as Georgia (8-3) survived the upset bid by Georgia Southern (7-3). Michel had 23 carries for 132 yards. The game came down to his final carry.
“The offensive line won the line of scrimmage,” Michel said. “I saw daylight. … I was untouched. Everything went perfectly.”
Leonard Floyd made two tackles for losses on Georgia Southern’s overtime possession and joined Jordan Jenkins to stop L.A. Ramsby for a loss of three yards on a fourth-and-1 direct snap.
The inspired series by the defense seemed to motivate the offense to put a quick end to the overtime.
“I knew if we hit it right, it would be a big one,” said quarterback Greyson Lambert of Michel’s run. “We wanted to punch it in early and get the game over.”
Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz said keeping his offense on the field on fourth down in overtime was not unusual.
“It’s something we’ve done,” Fritz said. “I’m pretty aggressive on fourth-down situations. It was fourth and about a foot. … Obviously, if I could change it, I would, but you can’t do that.”
Georgia Southern led 14-7 and 17-14 but was denied its first win in the in-state rivalry. Georgia is 6-0 against the Eagles, the former FCS team now playing in the Sun Belt Conference.
This was as close as the Eagles could come to finally beating the Bulldogs.
“We really just wanted to get that one for the seniors,” said quarterback Favian Upshaw. “That’s what hurt the most honestly, just being so close and you can almost taste it and then not being able to get it for those guys.”
Caleb Williams’ 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown gave Georgia Southern a 14-7 lead early in the second half. Michel handed off to Isaiah McKenzie after taking a direct snap, and McKenzie fumbled when hit by linebacker Antwione Williams.
The Bulldogs took advantage of another turnover to tie the game. After calling for a fair catch on a Georgia punt, Derek Keaton lost the ball and Kenneth Towns recovered the fumble at the Georgia Southern 29. Terry Godwin’s diving 12-yard catch from Greyson Lambert tied the game. The ball appeared to bounce up as Godwin hit the ground.
Fritz was on the field, apparently wanting officials to take another look at Godwin’s catch, as Marshall Morgan kicked the tying extra point.
The Eagles took a 17-14 lead on a 48-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo early in the fourth quarter. Morgan’s 43-yard field goal about 3 minutes later again tied the game at 17-all.
Lambert completed 16 of 25 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown.
Upshaw and Kevin Ellison combined to attempt only seven passes in Georgia Southern’s option-based attack. Upshaw led the team with 67 yards rushing. Matt Breida had 20 carries for 66 yards.
Georgia took the opening kickoff and looked like it was headed for an offensive revival. Reggie Davis returned the kickoff to the 39, and the Bulldogs covered 61 yards in seven plays. Lambert completed each of his three passes on the drive and Isaiah McKenzie scored on a 23-yard run.
The Bulldogs appeared capable of building a bigger lead when they threatened to score on their third possession. Instead, Malcolm Mitchell fumbled after running for 16 yards to the Georgia Southern 8, and Darrius White recovered for the Eagles.
The lost turnover seemed to drain all the momentum from the Bulldogs, who managed only two first downs in a scoreless second quarter.
The Eagles’ first possession of the second quarter ended with a missed 31-yard field goal by Koo. After Morgan returned the favor by missing a 48-yard field goal, Georgia Southern finally tied the game.
Breida reversed field on a 23-yard run to the 1 and then scored by leaping over the line for a 7-all tie.
AUBURN, Ala. — Isaiah McKenzie returned a fourth-quarter punt 53 yards for a touchdown Saturday to lift Georgia to a 20-13 win over Auburn.
The Bulldogs (7-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) forced two fumbles after that, including one on the goal line. The Tigers (5-5, 2-5) managed only two Daniel Carlson field goals after their opening drive, the second coming with 1:14 left to play.
Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell recovered the onside kick to punctuate a matchup of two teams that haven’t lived up to preseason expectations. Auburn is last in the SEC West after getting picked to win the league.
Greyson Lambert was held to 97 passing yards for Georgia, which stalled in Auburn territory on its first three drives. Sony Michel gained 77 yards on 26 carries.
Auburn is set to host UGA in the 119th installment of The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. If you can’t make it to Jordan-Hare Stadium to see the game, here are some other options to tune into the matchup:
UGA (6-3, 4-3 SEC) at Auburn (5-4, 2-4 SEC)
- Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 14 at noon ET
- TV: CBS
- Satellite Radio: Sirius 81
- Online Radio Stream: TuneIn
(6-3, 4-3 SEC) vs. Auburn Tigers (5-4, 2-4 SEC)
- Auburn is set to host UGA in the 119th installment of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The all-time record stands at 55-55-8, so the tie will be broken Saturday.The Tigers are coming off their best performance of the season in a road win over Texas A&M, while the Bulldogs became bowl eligible last week by defeating Kentucky at home. Auburn needs a win in one of its final three games to reach bowl eligibility.The last time these teams met in Jordan-Hare Stadium, the game was defined by “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.” Will Saturday’s game also come down to the final minutes?
Kickoff: Noon ET (CBS)
Weather: Mostly sunny, 58 degrees (weather.com)
Line: Auburn -1½ (VegasInsider.com)
By the numbers
After the first three games of the season, Auburn was -5 in turnover differential. Over the last six weeks, the Tigers have been +10 in turnover differential.
Auburn’s current +5 turnover differential is the third-best in the SEC. The Bulldogs rank 11th in the conference with a -2 turnover margin after leading the SEC in that category last season.
The team that wins the turnover battle has a clear advantage in this game.
If it’s close down the stretch, the kicking game will likely be a deciding factor. Auburn has to like its chances in that scenario.
Auburn sophomore kicker Daniel Carlson has made 12 consecutive field goals. He also leads the FBS with four field goals of 51 yards or more.
Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan holds the SEC record with 19 consecutive field goals made, but this season he is just 12-of-17 on field goal attempts.
The two kickers could end up being the most important players in the game.
UGA is 5-0 this season when it rushes for 200 yards or more in a game, so Auburn must put an emphasis on stopping the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.
Auburn has not allowed 200 yards rushing in five of its last six games, and the outlier came in a four-overtime loss to Arkansas (213 yards).
The Bulldogs’ strength is running the football (208.7 yards per game), although they haven’t been the same since star running back Nick Chubb was lost to a season-ending leg injury. UGA was able to rush for 300 yards against a weak Kentucky defense last week, but that was the first time the team rushed for over 200 yards in five games.
The only team to lose to the Bulldogs while holding them below 200 rushing yards was Missouri. The final score was 9-6.
If Auburn can limit UGA’s running game, it has a good chance to emerge victorious.
Story lines to watch
Jeremy Johnson, Sean White or both?
Have you heard this one before? There is still uncertainty about who will start for Auburn at quarterback Saturday.
The coaching staff likely knows who the starter will be, but an official announcement may not come until shortly before kickoff.
Junior Jeremy Johnson started his first game since Sept. 19 last week in Auburn’s 26-10 win over Texas A&M. Johnson replaced freshman Sean White and completed 13-of-17 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
White, who has been dealing with a nagging knee injury, was able to take first-team reps in practice this week after being limited the previous two weeks. White started the five games prior to last Saturday.
Johnson played well enough in the win over the Aggies to earn another start, but if White is healthy, the coaching staff has a difficult choice to make.
It is also possible that both quarterbacks will see time on the field as they did in a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss on Oct. 31. In that game, Johnson was prepared to start but White made the decision to play through his injury in warmups.
Wildcat vs. Wild Dawg
The wildcat formation has long been a staple of Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s offense, but Georgia featured a new wildcat package (that has taken on the name Wild Dawg) using freshman wide receiver Terry Godwin and sophomore running back Sony Michel in its win over Kentucky.
Godwin rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown against the Wildcats on his first rushing attempts of the season. Godwin did not attempt a pass from the formation, but UGA coach Mark Richt did not rule out Godwin potentially throwing the ball.
Auburn’s defense should already be accustomed to facing the wildcat, but the Tigers must be prepared for every possible scenario. Don’t be surprised to see both teams showcase plays that neither has used in prior games.
Pressure on the quarterback
Since Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson returned from a hip injury against Ole Miss, the Tigers have been more effective rushing the passer. However, this is not necessarily reflected in the team’s sack totals.
The Tigers have just three sacks in their past three games, but they have intercepted at least one pass in five consecutive games. Some of those turnovers have been the direct result of pressure on the opposing quarterback.
UGA’s turnover margin issues were highlighted above. The Bulldogs quarterbacks have eight interceptions this season.
Will the Tigers capitalize on potential UGA mistakes?
Prediction: Auburn 30, Georgia 27
Auburn is running into UGA at the right time.
The Tigers defense just played its best game of the season. Now, it faces a UGA team that still has uncertainty at the quarterback position.
UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt seemed to solve Malzahn’s offense last November, but it is hard to envision Auburn getting stuck on seven points again. It will likely take a similar defensive effort from the Bulldogs to give them a chance in this game.
Expect Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to get creative with the play calling, as he did last week against Texas A&M.
With home-field advantage and one of the best kickers in the country, Auburn escapes.