Mercedes-Benz Stadium was packed out for the 2017 SEC Championship game. / Josh McBrayer
ATLANTA – Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a virtual sea of Georgia red Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs strapped it on and exacted revenge on the Auburn Tigers, 28-7, in the 2017 SEC Championship.
The Tigers took the ball to start the game and did just what they set out to do: score. It was Eli Stove, not Kerryon Johnson, who got the first carry of the game, good for 4 yards. However, the Tigers lost 4 on the next play on a screen pass to Ryan Davis. Jarrett Stidham's next pass fell incomplete but a pass interference call gave Auburn new life and the Tigers put it to good use. Johnson and Stove kept the drive going in the right direction, combining for 30 yards, all the way down to the Georgia 6. From there Stidham connected with Nate Craig-Meyers for a 5-yard touchdown. The PAT from Daniel Carlson was good, giving Auburn a 7-0 lead.
Nick Chubb got the Georgia drive going with a 13-yard rush, but the Bulldogs soon bogged down and punted from their own 44. The two teams traded punts, with Auburn having the ball at the end of the first at the Bulldog 33.
The Tigers pushed the ball all the way to the Georgia 14 before Stidham was sacked and fumbled, with Roquan Smith of Georgia falling on the loose ball.
Georgia took full advantage of the turnover thanks to the legs of Chubb and the arm of Jake Fromm who finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Nauta. The PAT split the uprights to tie the game at 7-7.
After an Auburn three-and-out, Georgia took the lead on a Rodrigo Blankenship 27-yard field goal to make the score 10-7, where it stayed going into halftime.
After forcing a Georgia punt to start the second half, Auburn went on the move. The Tigers efficiently marched the ball down the field and were in position for a Carlson chip shot, but the kick was blocked and the ‘Dawgs took over.
Although the Bulldogs could do nothing with the turnover, they did on their next possession after an Auburn punt.
Georgia chewed up chunks of yardage on its way down the field, ending the drive with a 35-yard Blankenship field goal to make the score 13-7, where it remained for the rest of the third.
Heading into the fourth quarter with momentum, Georgia turned on the jets and put the game away.
A mere 11 seconds into the fourth, the Bulldogs forced a fumble that was returned to the Auburn 39 by Roquan Smith. Georgia made the most of the turnover when Fromm found Terry Goodwin for a 7-yard touchdown. Fromm connected with Goodwin again for the 2-point conversion to make the score 21-7.
The final points of the 2017 SEC Championship came on the next Georgia possession, following an Auburn three-and-out. After two quick first downs, D'Andre Swift hit the hole over the left guard and raced 64 yards down the near sideline for the touchdown. The PAT made the score 28-7 which was enough to get the job done.
The Georgia Bulldogs are your 2017 SEC Champions.
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