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No. 17 Georgia Tops Auburn 28-17


No. 17 Georgia had more weapons that Auburn had answers.

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  • Bailey, Quincy Carter and Olandis Gary combined for 605 yards of offense Saturday and Gray's 11-yard touchdown run with 14:55 to play broke open a close game and gave Georgia a 28-17 victory over the Tigers.

    "I knew coming into the game that they were a talented football team and nothing they did out there will change our minds," Auburn interim coach Bill Oliver said.

    Auburn (3-7, 1-6 Southeastern Conference), which had the nation's ninth-ranked defense and was allowing only 279 yards a game, was exploited by Georgia (7-2, 5-2) all night.

    Carter was 23-of-37 for 351 yards and two touchdowns and Gary rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

    Bailey, who was in the game for a career-high 119 plays, caught five passes for 68 yards and ran three times for 29. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, he forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and returned a kickoff 27 yards.

    "I feel like I still had a lot left in me," Bailey said.

    Heath Evans
    Auburn's Heath Evans goes over the top for a first down as Orantes Grant defends. (AP)

    Nothing Auburn's defense did could stop the Bulldogs, who might have won easily but for a horrendous kicking game.

    "I was disappointed in our defense and I think we played our worst game of the year," said Auburn tackle Charles Dosey, who had the only sack of Carter all night.

    The Tigers did manage to intercept three passes off Carter and block a punt, but it wasn't enough.

    "I thought we had a good defensive game plan, but we didn't execute and we stood around and waited for someone else to do it," Oliver said.

    Trailing 21-17 late in the third quarter, Auburn blocked Wynn Kopps' punt and took over at the Bulldogs 31.

    The Tigers couldn't convert, however, as Robert Bironas' 50-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

    "A touchdown after the blocked punt would have been big, if we had only cashed in," Oliver said.

    Georgia then drove 62 yards in six plays to set up Gray's touchdown.

    "Their defense is stronger than dirt and we moved the ball on them about as good as any," said Georgia coach Jim Donnan, who adamantly denied he was a candidate to coach at Oklahoma next season. "Any time you get over 500 yards on Auburn, you are doing good things."

    Georgia, which finished with 527 yards - 356 in the first half - prevented the home team from winning for the seventh straight time in the South's oldest series. It was the 102nd meeting between the schools.

    Auburn closed to 21-17 on its first possession of the second half when Gabe Gross threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Karsten Bailey.

    The Bulldogs then marched downfield, but turned the ball over on downs when they elected to go for it on fourth-and-14 at the 35 rather then attempt a field goal.

    Georgia also passed on kicking a field goal before the half when Carter lined up as the holder on fourth-and-10 at the 16. He took the snap and threw into the end zone, where Auburn's Jayson Bray intercepted.

    Georgia took a 14-3 lead on Carter's 10-yard TD pass to Larry Brown and Gray's 6-yard run. Eleven of Carter's passes went to tight ends Brown and Jermaine Wiggins.

    "They are two of the best players we've got," Donnan said.

    Oliver said Auburn was expecting the Bulldogs to utilize the tight ends the way the did.

    "If we had them, we'd go to them too," Oliver said. "Those guys are pretty darn good."

    Auburn made it 14-10 with 2:45 to play before the half on Demontray Carter's 2-yard touchdown run.

    The Bulldogs wasted no time in answering Auburn, scoring on a 80-yard bomb from Carter to Michael Greer on their next play. That made it 21-10 with 2:25 to play before the half.

    Auburn's Bailey had nine catches for 114 yards to become the Tigers' career receiving leader with 142 receptions, one more than Terry Beasley's mark set from 1969 to 1971.

    "It means a lot to me to break the record in my last home game, but a win would have meant more," Bailey said.

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