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Georgia beat Auburn and clinched the SEC East.

Georgia football winners and losers after beating Auburn

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Georgia football winners and losers after beating Auburn

Winner: Georgia’s 2019 signing class

Georgia’s first touchdown of the day came on a 51-yard catch from freshman Dominick Blaylock. The first sack from freshman defensive back Tyrique Stevenson. The lone turnover was forced by Jermaine Johnson, who is in his first year at Georgia after coming from the JUCO ranks.

And Georgia’s final defensive stop came from freshman defensive tackle Travon Walker. All three were members of Georgia’s 2019 signing class. And those four, along with the countless others made huge plays to bring home the 21-14 win.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart is fond of saying freshmen aren’t freshmen by this point in the season. And Georgia’s 2019 signing class certainly proved that on Saturday.

“We’re big on get a freshman in here, teach him our system. The sooner he learns what to do and quits worrying about why he’s playing or not playing, they’re able to get on the field,” Smart said. “When they focus on just getting better it’s amazing what they can do.”

Related: ‘Extremely athletic’ Travon Walker churns freshman potential into performance

Georgia has seen other big games recently from fellow freshmen like George Pickens and Nolan Smith. The members of the 2019 signing class — which was ranked No. 2 in the 247Sports Composite rankings — has gotten better over the course of the season. Smart also noted that the youth on this team — largely made up of those 2019 signees — is what has grown the most over the season.

Loser: Dan Mullen

Smart and Georgia delivered another big blow to Florida and Dan Mullen, just two weeks after beating the Gators once again in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Bulldogs only needed a win on Saturday to lock up the SEC East for a third consecutive season. Florida had to hold serve and hope for a loss. After the Gators beat Missouri earlier in the day, Mullen was asked for his thoughts on the game.

He responded with a “War Eagle.”

Imagine needing to cheer for another team to just hope that you can have a chance of winning the SEC East. Couldn’t be the head coach at the University of Georgia.

Friend of the column Morgan Weeks brilliantly summed the difference between the two coaches using the post-game comments from both coaches.

Winner: Jake Camarda

After the Kentucky game, we named Camarda a winner after a strong showing that didn’t end up leading to a short field for the Wildcats. He’s a winner once again after having the best effort of his Georgia career.

“Man he hit the ball good,” Smart said. “He was hitting bombs. It was incredible. I hope he doesn’t have to punt 11 times in a game again, but other than that he punted the ball well.”

Camarda was called into action 11 times on Saturday, more than anyone outside of his family would’ve liked. But the sophomore was constantly able to flip field position. He averaged 50.7 yards per punt, and Auburn started inside its own 20-yard line four different times.

Earlier in the year, Camarda was arguably the biggest question mark on the team. Could he be trusted in a pressure spot to not give the opposing team good field position? At this point, Camarda has answered that question with an emphatic yes.

Related: Georgia football Game Ball: Punter Jake Camarda flipped field repeatedly under pressure

Smart has preached the importance of special teams time and time again. Given Georgia’s offensive struggles this year, it’s critical the Bulldogs excel in this area. Camarda has turned it around, allowing Georgia fans to breathe much easier when he tots out there to punt.

Loser: College football fans

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa dislocated his hip in Saturday’s win over Mississippi State. The injury will end his season and very likely his college career. This is an absolute bummer for all of college football.

Georgia fans have a complicated history with Tagovailoa. As a freshman, he entered at halftime of the national championship game and proceeded to rip the hearts out of just about every Georgia fan as the Crimson Tide pulled out a 26-23 win.

As a sophomore, Tagovailoa was knocked around by that same Georgia team and ultimately out of the SEC Championship game with an injury. His performance against Georgia last year very likely cost him a Heisman Trophy. And many believe that if he had been able to finish the 2018 SEC Championship Game, it would’ve been Georgia advancing to the College Football Playoff.

Much will be made about Nick Saban’s decision to have Tagovailoa in a game that was already decided. Personally, if you want to blame something, blame the violence associated with the game of football. It’s a physical game and guys are going to get hurt. It’s unfortunate for it to happen to anyone. It’s a real bummer when it happens to someone as magical and exciting as Tagovailoa.

Hopefully, he’s able to recover fully from the injury and light it up in the NFL.

Winner: Georgia’s 2017 class

As mentioned above, Georgia won the SEC East for a third straight season. It’s only the fourth time in the history of the SEC that a team has won a division for at least three straight seasons. Alabama has done it twice while Florida accomplished the feat once. During those runs, each of those teams also took home a national championship.

The backbone of those Georgia teams has been built by the 2017 signing class. Some of the names that make up that group include the following: Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift, Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson, Richard LeCounte, Monty Rice and Eric Stokes.

Of course, when asked afterward what this class meant to the Georgia program, Smart didn’t want to stop admire what they’ve accomplished.

“I’m really proud of them, I’m proud of that whole class, they’ve done a great job, and we’re getting ready for Texas A&M,” Smart said.

Related: Even after winning third-straight SEC East, Georgia football knows it isn’t done yet

For some of those names mentioned, this coming Saturday will be their last home game as they’ll have the chance to earn millions of dollars in the NFL. So if you’re at Sanford Stadium this Saturday, make sure you cheer a little louder for some of those 2017 standouts. Because it might be the last time you get to see them tee it up between the Hedges.

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