ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
AP photo by Butch Dill / Georgia running back Zamir White (3) dives in for a touchdown during the first half of Saturday's SEC matchup at Auburn in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

AUBURN, Ala. — Once again, a backup quarterback stepping up and the defense standing out were more than enough for No. 2 Georgia to take care of another Southeastern Conference opponent.

This time, it also extended Auburn's frustration in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

Stetson Bennett passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns Saturday evening as he led the Bulldogs past the 18th-ranked Tigers for the second straight year, even if the defense did allow an opponent to reach the end zone for a change in this 34-10 victory.

The nation's top defense gave up only its second touchdown of the year for the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0), who were still without injured starting quarterback JT Daniels. None of that kept Georgia from another comfortable SEC win and a fifth straight against Auburn (3-2, 1-1) in a series the Bulldogs lead 62-56-8 overall and 18-12-2 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Bennett, who made his first college start in a top-10 matchup with Auburn last season, completed 14 of 21 passes and hit former North Murray High School standout Ladd McConkey in stride for a 60-yard score in the third quarter. Bennett also had a 30-yard run.

Daniels was out with a lat injury for the second straight week, along with some sidelined receivers.

"It's next man up mentality," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "That's what we talked about all week. We've got a lot of guys hurt and beat up, including the quarterback. We feel like he's getting better, but Stetson played a heck of a game."

The Auburn crowd didn't seem to bother the Bulldogs, who dominated in the trenches on both sides.

"We won the line of scrimmage battle," Bennett said. "It was so much fun. I had a blast."

The Bulldogs' Zamir White ran for 79 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, doing most of his damage in the second half. McConkey's five catches were three more than any other Georgia player, and his 135 receiving yards were a game high.

The Tigers came in averaging 40 points per game, but quarterback Bo Nix and Co. couldn't solve the Georgia defensive puzzle despite moving the ball at times. Nix completed 21 of 38 passes for 217 yards with an interception off a dropped ball a week after delivering a comeback win at LSU.

Georgia also sacked Nix four times and harried him all afternoon, and the Tigers had some other drops to boot. The Bulldogs allowed just 46 yards on 29 rushes.

"We've got to finish drives," Auburn first-year coach Bryan Harsin said. "That's the most frustrating thing right now. We can drive the field, and that really doesn't matter if you don't put points on the board."

Auburn had failed fourth-down passes end its final series of the first half and its first possession of the third quarter. Nix griped about what he thought was a missed call on the first one intended for Ze'Vian Capers.

"The guy completely grabs him. I thought it should have definitely been a pass interference," he said. "Obviously if it had been them they probably would have called it, but that's just part of the game, part of the rivalry."

Auburn safety Smoke Monday was called for targeting against Georgia for the second straight year. This one was for a head-on hit on a scrambling Bennett on the opening play of the second quarter near the goal line. He missed the second half of both games.

Georgia did trail for the first time this season, if only 3-0 after the game's first series. The Bulldogs, whose defense has thrived by tightening up in the red zone, allowed scores in two of three trips inside the 20-yard line by Auburn, but one was the early field goal.

"We have a mindset on defense: Nobody in the end zone," Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis said. "We preach that every week."

A week after absolutely shutting down previously unbeaten Arkansas, the nation's best defense mostly dominated, chasing Nix around the backfield and stuffing the run.

While Georgia looks like a team on its way to Atlanta in December for the league championship game, Auburn showed it still has a long way to go to catch the SEC powers. The tone was set with an opening drive that stalled just shy of the end zone — and another one that did the same just before halftime.

The bright spot for the Tigers is that both of their losses have been to top-10 opponents.

Georgia is home for its next game against Kentucky, a matchup that could play a big role in deciding the SEC East Division champion. Auburn visits Arkansas in a pairing of SEC West teams that will be trying to bounce back from defeat.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT