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Georgia 21, Auburn 14

AUBURN, Ala. - Georgia’s defense entered the fourth quarter vying for another shutout. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs ended it with two big stops - and another division title.

In between, things got interesting.

Jake Fromm passed for three touchdowns and Georgia’s defense delivered in the clutch, clinching the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division with a 21-14 victory over No. 13 Auburn.

“Our kids were very resilient to come into this place and lose momentum - obviously lose momentum - and be able to go back out and get it,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I thought that showed some fortitude and ability to handle some tough, adverse things.”

The Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC, No. 4 CFP) sailed through three quarters with a 21-0 lead before Auburn (7-3, 4-3) rallied in the fourth.

Georgia held on to become the first team to win three consecutive SEC East titles since Florida won five in a row from 1992-96.

“It’s special and speaks a lot about this football program, our head coach and about our team in the locker room,” Fromm said. “Guys who are willing to come in and do whatever it takes.”

Fromm and De’Andre Swift produced enough to keep the Bulldogs on track for a shot at the College Football Playoffs. Most of the way, though, it was clear the game featured two of the league’s top defenses.

Auburn scored two touchdowns in the fourth, then had a pair of drives stopped on fourth down in the final minutes. Freshman Bo Nix threw three incompletions and was sacked on the Tigers’ final drive starting from their 27.

Fromm was 13-of-28 passing for just 110 yards, but had a 51-yard touchdown pass to Dominick Blaylock and a pair of 5-yarders to Eli Wolf and Brian Herrien. Swift ran for 106 yards on 17 carries.

Nix completed 30 of 50 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 13 times for 42 yards. Seth Williams caught 13 passes for 121 yards.

The Tigers finally scored on Nix’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Eli Stove with 10:04 left, taking advantage of a pass interference call on the previous third-down play. Auburn appeared to recover an onside kick but it was overturned upon review because of an illegal block by Anthony Schwartz.

A Georgia three-and-out and three minutes later, Nix dove into the end zone for a 2-yard score after a play fake.

It was the first rushing touchdown the Bulldogs had allowed all season.

Auburn again drove into Georgia territory with Nix running for 8 yards on a fourth-and-5 play. Harold Joiner couldn’t collect a pass that was slightly behind him on the next fourth-down play.

“It was a sprint out and I threw it behind Harold,” Nix said. “You can't make mistakes like that."

Smart didn’t give his defense too much credit for that one.

“The guy just missed the ball, it looked like to me,” the Bulldogs coach said. “He was wide open. I can’t say that we stopped them. We got them to fourth down and they gave us a gift.”

Associated Press

November 16, 2019