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Top 5 Games vs. Georgia

Editor’s note: Each week this football season, Auburn University Journalism Instructor and The Auburn Plainsman Adviser Austin Phillips will break down the greatest games against that week’s opponent or notable games in that week’s history (for previous weeks, go here) Break it down, Austin.

See Cadillac run. See Cadillac catch. See Cadillac throw?

After a two-week hiatus, the greatest games are back. In the past two weeks, the Tigers have suffered the worst defeat and enjoyed the greatest victory of the season. Although the Tigers will hope to build on win No. 2 following last week’s 42-7 victory over New Mexico State, Auburn must quickly turn its attention to No. 5-ranked Georgia as the Bulldogs come to town for the 116th installment of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The Tigers hold a 54-53-8 lead in the rivalry that is separated by a handful of total points, and the cross-over ties to each team are bountiful. Former Auburn head coach Pat Dye played for Georgia, while former Georgia head coach played for Auburn. Current Georgia coaches Stacy Searels and Rodney Garner both played at AU, while current Auburn coaches Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez each spent time as defensive coordinator at UGA. There are many other close ties between the two teams, just as there are many close games between the two teams. This week, we’ll take a look at some of those great southern games.

No. 5: Feb. 20, 1892 — Atlanta
AU 10

This one wasn’t broadcast on CBS or ESPN, or any TVs for that matter. What’s a TV? In the first game in the storied history of this series, the Tigers pitched a shutout at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park to set up a series that is the eighth most played in Division-I college football.

No. 4: Nov. 13, 2004 — Auburn
AU 24

See Cadillac run. See Cadillac catch. See Cadillac throw? For a touchdown? For the 9-0 Tigers trying to inch their way into the BCS National Championship, this home game was pivotal. The No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs were riding high, as were the third-ranked Tigers. But this one was all Auburn, all the time. The Tigers took a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter on a Carnell “Cadillac” Williams touchdown run, and stretched the lead to 10 at the half with a 32-yard John Vaughn field goal and, of all things, a 29-yard halfback touchdown pass from Williams to Anthony Mix. Quarterback Jason Campbell connected with running back Ronnie Brown for a 15-yard touchdown strike to open the final quarter before the Bulldogs added a late score with just over two minutes remaining in the game to save face. The victory was just one of the Tigers’ four wins over a 10-win team, the first team to ever beat four 10-win teams in a season.

No. 3: Nov. 12, 2000 — Auburn
AU 29 (OT)
UGA 26

Hosting the 13th-ranked Bulldogs, the Tigers faced a must-win in order to get back to the SEC Championship game for the first time since 1997. The ‘Dogs jumped on the Tigers early when Georgia defensive back Terreal Bierria picked off a Ben Leard pass and returned it 80 yards for the score. Georgia added a pair of Billy Bennett field goals before Damon Duval put the Tigers on the board with a 48-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to cut the lead to 13-3. The Tigers came out swinging in the second half, scoring on a 6-yard pass from Leard to Reggie Worthy before adding another Duval field goal, this time from 37 yards out. Leard added his second touchdown pass of the game on a 10-yard loft to Ronnie Daniels before Duval would add his third field goal of the game, this time from a booming 49 yards out. Georgia added to late score to send the game into overtime. The Tiger’ defenses held the ‘Dogs to a 25-yard Billy Bennett field goal in overtime before Leard scored on a 1-yard dive to secure the Auburn victory. Although held scoreless, Auburn running back Rudi Johnson rushed 34 times for a bruising 152 yards.

No. 2: Nov. 12, 2005 — Athens, Ga.
AU 31
UGA 30

After the worst game of his life, in which he missed five field goals in an overtime loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, La., John Vaughn got redemption to kick away the ‘Dogs in a last-second thriller. The 15th-ranked Tigers went into Samford Stadium as the underdog facing off against the eighth-ranked Bulldogs. The game remained a virtual tie until late in the fourth quarter when Karibi Dede picked up a Georgia fumble and rumbled 15 yards to give the Tigers a 28-27 advantage. The Bulldogs would not quit and added a 41-yard Brandon Coutu field with 3:25 left before Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox methodically led the Tigers to victory. Cox completed a strike across the middle to Devin Aromashadu with just two minutes remaining and Aromashadu scampered 40 yards to the end zone before fumbling. But don’t fret, as Courtney Taylor pounced on the ball in the end zone to prevent the touchback and keep the possession for the Tigers. Vaughn kicked the game-winner from 20 yards out four plays later to secure the win.

No. 1: Nov. 12, 1983 — Athens, Ga.
AU 13

It wasn’t flashy, but it sure was huge. Although the Tigers managed only a 4-yard touchdown run by Lionel James and one Al Del Greco field, the No. 3-ranked Tigers dominated the stat sheets to down the three-time defending SEC Champion Georgia Bulldogs. Despite Del Greco’s two missed field goals, the Auburn defense held the Bulldogs in check, allowing Georgia to cross midfield only three times. In addition to James’ score, a little known running back named Vincent “Bo” Jackson rushed for 115 yards. The victory secured the Tigers to their first SEC Championship since 1957. The victory also propelled Auburn to The New York Times National Championship.

Honorable Mention:

Nov. 13, 2010 — Auburn
AU 49
UGA 13

This high-scoring affair was just a four-point lead in the third quarter, but that’s when the Auburn defense decided to show up. In the face of a mid-week suspension stemming from an NCAA inquiry, Cam Newton did what Cam Newton does, dismantling the ‘Dogs for 299 total yards, including 151 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns on the ground and 148 yards on 12-of-15 passing and another pair of touchdowns. The Tigers shut the ‘Dogs down and out in the final quarter to secure the win.

Nov. 15, 1997 — Athens, Ga.
AU 45
UGA 34

The victory over the heavily-favorite No. 7 Bulldogs was all but a certainty for the folks in red and black. But don’t tell that to Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers not only got the upset victory, but held on against Alabama the following week to secure the first SEC Championship Game berth since the game was formed in 1992.

Nov. 14, 1987 — Athens, Ga.
AU 27
UGA 11

Reeling from a 34-6 beating at the hands on No. 4 Florida State, the Tigers rebounded in a big way to upset the eighth-ranked Bulldogs. Auburn went on to defeat Alabama the following week for the second win in a row in the Iron Bowl series, thus clinching what would turn out to be the first of three Tiger SEC Championships in a row.

Nov. 13, 1971 — Athens, Ga.
AU 35
UGA 20

This No. 6 vs. No. 7 showdown was a classic for the ages as the Tigers, led by Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan and All-American wide receiver Terry Beasley, systematically tore down the Bulldogs to secure Auburn’s ninth win in a row.

Nov. 21, 1942 — Columbus, Ga.
AU 27
UGA 13

The Tigers upset victory over No. 1-ranked Georgia was big for many reasons. Anytime you beat one of your archrivals when they’re ranked No. 1 in the nation, it’s big. But more importantly, the Tigers would go on to defeat Clemson in the final game of the year before taking off the 1943 season as our nation faced a much bigger threat than college football: World War II.

Nov. 22, 1913 — Atlanta
AU 21

The Tigers capped off the third perfect season in school history, the first in an eight-game season, with the lopsided victory over our neighbors from Georgia. The Tigers would go on to be perfect during the 1914 season until the Bulldogs pushed Auburn to a tie in the next to the last game of the season.

Austin Phillips is an Auburn University journalism instructor and adviser to The Auburn Plainsman. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @ScoopPhillips.

Austin Phillips is an Auburn University journalism instructor and adviser to The Auburn Plainsman. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @ScoopPhillips.

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