ATHENS, Ga. — Behind a very strong effort from its defense and a powerful and productive rushing attack — with three touchdowns by Daijun Edwards and a 64-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run by quarterback Stetson Bennett — No. 2 Georgia knocked off Auburn, 42-10, Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
In the Deep South’s oldest football rivalry — Saturday was their 126th meeting — it was an old-school football match, with lots of runs and stuffed runs and very few aerial fireworks. Georgia ran for 292, amassed 500 yards of total offense, held Auburn to 258 yards of total offense, and got big third-down stop after big third-down stop — Auburn was 5 of 17 on third down.
Georgia has now won the last six meetings in the series, dating back to the SEC Championship Game in 2017. Georgia also added to its narrow lead in the overall series against Auburn, improving to 63-56-8. In a series full of quirks, the Bulldogs are now 17-18 all-time against the Tigers in Athens and have an 18-12-2 record at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Georgia (6-0, 3-0 SEC) got its first points of the game with the help of Auburn’s aggression. Late in a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers (3-3, 2-2) ran a fake up on fourth-and-6 at the Tiger, but the Bulldogs’ Nolan Smith stopped up-man John Samuel Shenker’s rush well short of the first down.
That gave the Bulldogs the ball on the Tiger 36. On the next play, Kenny McIntosh stopped-and-started his way to a 9-yard run. Two plays later, Daijun Edwards powered his way down to the 6, and then ran down to the 1 on the next play. On third-and-goal, McIntosh capped the drive with an untouched run into the end zone on a toss sweep. The game’s first points gave Georgia a 7-0 lead with 11:42 to play in the half.
The Bulldog defense quickly forced another Auburn punt, and this time returner Ladd McConkey put the offense in a great spot. McConkey fielded the punt, took off up the left side and ended up with a 38-yard return. On first down at the Auburn 31, back Branson Robinson ran left 23 yards to the 8.
Ladd McConkey with a 38-yard punt return to the Auburn 31. On first down, emerging tailback Branson Robison took off down the left side to the 8, a 23-yard gain. Two plays later, Edwards ran the ball in from the 1, putting Georgia up 14-0 with 8:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Georgia had a couple more good chances for scoring drives later in the half but came up empty. At the break, Georgia led 14-0 thanks to another strong defensive showing and to a solid ground game that gained 118 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per rush.
The Bulldogs go the ball to start the third quarter, but a third-down sack and strip of Stetson Bennett was recovered by the Tigers at the Georgia 19-yard line. Georgia’s defense again held firm, holding Auburn to a 29-yard Anders Carlson field goal that cut the lead to 14-3 with 11:51 left in the third.
Georgia pushed its lead to 21-3 midway through the third following a long, 11-play drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run by Edwards. On third-and-6 at the UGA 39, the Tigers jumped offsides and on the free play Bennett hit McConkey for a 21-yard gain. Soon after, Edwards scored his second TD of the game.
Bennett called his own number on the first play of the fourth quarter and all but sealed the victory, taking off up the middle and sprinting his way by the defense on a 64-yard touchdown run that made it 28-3 with 14:49 left in the game. It was the longest play of the game and Bennett’s longest run of his Georgia career.
Edwards added a third touchdown run with 11:10 remaining, this one from 7 yards out to make it 35-3. Edwards had three career touchdowns — two last season and one in 2022 — coming into Saturday’s game.
Auburn scored a 62-yard on its next possession, taking advantage of a busted coverage, to cut the lead to 35-10 with 9:51 left on the clock. Georgia answered right back, converting a third-and-15 in Auburn territory on a Bennett 18-yard pass to Oscar Delp, and then Branson Robinson ran the ball in from the 15 for his first career touchdown, and a 42-10 lead with 4:45 remaining.
The Bulldogs are back on Dooley Field next Saturday, when they host Vanderbilt at 3:30 p.m.