A come-from-behind victory for the Georgia Bulldogs was in sight in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday afternoon, but a miracle 73-yard touchdown pass from Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis on fourth and eighteen thwarted Georgia’s chances with just twenty-five seconds left in the game.
Quickly forgotten was the Bulldogs, led by quarterback Aaron Murray, outscoring the Tigers 21-0 in the fourth quarter, and what will live in memories across the Southeast instead was a play that is already being compared to LSU’s “Bluegrass Miracle” against Kentucky back in 2002. How devastating was this play for the battered and beaten Bulldogs? Just take a look at the coaching staff’s reaction as the play occurred:
While one fluke play at the end of the game ended Georgia’s hopes of defeating an Auburn team that came into the game with a 9-1 record on the season, it certainly does not completely take away from the impressive second half the team had against the Tigers, who were looking to close the book on the Dawgs with a 27-10 lead at halftime. A Bulldogs’ defense that was slashed and thrashed by the Tigers in the first half to the tune of 347 yards and three touchdowns stepped up to the task in the third and fourth quarters, allowing just 10 points and 146 yards before Louis’s heads-up play on the go-ahead touchdown.
Despite the want of a moral victory for a team that currently sits at 6-4, there truly is no such thing in the SEC, and the truth of the matter is that the Dawgs’ defense did not play well enough in the first two quarters of the game against a potent Auburn offense. Former Georgia player Nick Marshall had his way with the Dawgs’ defense again and again, resulting in 318 total yards and three touchdowns in the game. Georgia is still extremely young on defense, and it has shown throughout the season and especially in the first half of this year’s meeting of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Whether the second half of this game was in fact the unit growing up a bit remains to be seen; at this point, all that matters is for the defense to show up against a Kentucky Wildcats’ squad that gave Vanderbilt a scare on Saturday. Currently 2-8 in the first year of the Mark Stoops era in Lexington, the Wildcats are certainly not on pace with the rest of the Southeastern Conference, which frankly was expected considering the current state of Kentucky football. However, this has the makings of a trap game, as the Bulldogs are coming off an absolutely heart-breaking loss to a bitter rival and Kentucky is hungry for an SEC victory.
Can Georgia catch its breath against Kentucky this Saturday? Experts may believe so, but considering what this year’s Bulldogs’ team has experienced, it truly looks like just about anything is possible.
Georgia fans, what were your reactions to the Marshall-to-Louis connection on the game-winning play? Share your experiences and comment below