No. 2 Georgia dispatches No. 18 Auburn in methodical win

Opponents have had no chance against Georgia so far in 2021.

The No. 2 Bulldogs made the second half a formality in their 34-10 win at No. 18 Auburn on Saturday. Georgia took a 17-3 lead into halftime and essentially ended the game in the third quarter when Stetson Bennett found Ladd McConkey for a 60-yard TD and a 24-3 lead. 

That put the game away because of Georgia's ferocious defense. UGA entered the game with just one offensive TD given up through five games. Was Auburn really going to score three touchdowns while also holding Georgia scoreless?

Everyone knew the answer to that question, even if Auburn was going to become the second team to score an offensive touchdown against the Georgia defense in 2021.

Bennett starts again

Bennett got the start as JT Daniels missed another game due to a lat injury. And he was once again much more efficient than he was in 2020 when he started while Daniels wasn't healthy. 

Bennett finished the game 14-of-20 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He’s now thrown eight touchdowns in 61 passes in 2021 after throwing eight in 155 attempts in 2020. He’s also completing 70% of his passes this season after completing just 55% in 2020.

His growth as a passer is a big reason why Georgia looks unbeatable without Daniels taking the snaps. The threat of a downfield passing game makes Georgia’s dominant running game even more overwhelming. Bennett had to throw just four passes after hitting McConkey for that touchdown. The Bulldogs’ offensive line and running backs simply took over in the second half to keep the clock moving.

Auburn's offense struggles

Georgia’s defense took away Auburn’s run game and made the Tigers’ offense one-dimensional. That’s not a great recipe for success for Bo Nix. The junior can make things chaotically successful at times, but he didn’t have nearly enough chaos magic to make the game competitive. Nix was just 21-of-38 passing for 217 yards and an interception before he was replaced for the Tigers’ final possession when the game was out of reach.

Auburn rushed for just 46 yards on 29 carries. RB Tank Bigsby was the team’s leading rusher with 10 carries for 28 yards and those rushing struggles were evident in the red zone. Auburn got just three points on two red zone trips in the first half. An offsides penalty on Georgia on a short field goal attempt late in the second quarter convinced Auburn coach Bryan Harsin to go for a TD from inside the four. But Nix's pass was incomplete and Georgia was able to run out the clock before halftime.

Outside of that fourth-down play, the most dramatic moment of the game might have been at the end. Harsin decided to call timeouts as Georgia was simply running out the clock in the final minutes. That prompted Georgia to throw it to the end zone on fourth down. The pass fell incomplete. Had it been caught, the game would have gone over the total of 46.5 and made of a bad beat for a bunch of bettors.