(Photo credit: Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK)
No. 1 Georgia will set out to extend its winning streak to 22 games Saturday afternoon when it hits the road to take on Auburn.
The Bulldogs have won five straight regular-season games over the Tigers since their 40-17 loss on Nov. 11, 2017, while they were No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings and No. 2 in The Associated Press and coaches' polls.
Georgia got redemption over Auburn three games later when it downed the Tigers 28-7 in the Southeastern Conference title game.
After struggling in the red zone through the team's first three games, Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) went 6-for-6 inside the 20 in a convincing 49-21 win over UAB on Saturday. The Bulldogs had 582 yards of total offense despite three turnovers.
Quarterback Carson Beck passed for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Tailback Daijun Edwards added 66 yards and two scores, while Sevaughn Clark ran for 32 yards and a TD.
All-America tight end Brock Bowers had season-highs in receptions (nine) and yards (121) and scored twice. He currently has 2,080 career receiving yards and 22 career touchdown catches, which ranks No. 3 all-time in Georgia history. Bowers is one of only 10 players in Bulldogs' history with at least 2,000 receiving yards for their career.
Kirby Smart didn't know Bowers' true potential until he arrived on campus as a true freshman after not watching him play his final year of high school during the pandemic.
"Not until I saw him run and catch, and then I could," Smart said. "Hard to tackle, man."
Smart is 85-15 as a head coach, which is the best mark for any coach in SEC history through 100 games.
Auburn (3-1, 1-0 SEC) enters its matchup with the Bulldogs with serious question marks on offense after failing to find the end zone against Texas AM.
Quarterback Payton Thorne completed just 6 of 12 passes for 44 yards and was sacked five times before being benched in the third quarter. Robby Ashford replace Thorne and completed just one pass for 4 yards.
Head coach Hugh Freeze said Thorne would "probably" be the starter in the upcoming game against Georgia. Freeze also admitted that Thorne isn't the only one to blame for the Tigers' inconsistent play on offense.
"It's not all Payton, but sometimes it is and he owns it," Freeze said Monday. "We had a good meeting (Sunday) night and we just got to try this week to get a plan in place that we can all execute and all understand. And that falls on (offensive coordinator) Philip (Montgomery) and his staff and ultimately on me."
Auburn is banged up in the secondary. Starting nickel/punt returner Keionte Scott is out indefinitely after ankle surgery. Donovan Kaufman and J.D. Rhym, Scott's backups, have both been dealing with nagging injuries.
Starting safety Zion Puckett left the AM game with a shoulder injury. Safety Marquise Gilbert played 27 snaps against the Aggies after totaling just 15 in Auburn's first three games. Second-string running back Damari Alston (dislocated shoulder) is also out indefinitely.
Starting right tackle Amarius Mims (ankle), running backs Kendall Milton (knee) and Roderick Robinson II (ankle), wideout Ladd McConkey (back), safety Javon Bullard (ankle) and defensive end Mykel Williams (illness) did not play for Georgia against UAB.
--Field Level Media