Georgia football stock report: Explosive players lift Bulldogs over Auburn

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Georgia receiver Terry Godwin.

ATHENS — Georgia football continued to ascend on Saturday, picking up more momentum on its march to the SEC Championship Game with a 27-10 victory over Auburn.

The Bulldogs (9-1, 7-1) began to pull away when Jake Fromm directed a touchdown drive with two minutes left in the second quarter, giving Georgia a 20-10 halftime lead.

Stock up

Receiver Terry Godwin had a 38-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-3 at the Auburn 38, breaking open over the middle and then out-racing the defense into the end zone. Godwin had a 25-yard gain on Georgia’s opening drive, leading to a field goal. Godwin also came through in the second quarter with a 21-yard gain on a crossing route on third-and-5 at the Auburn 43, sustaining what turned into a field goal drive.

The healthy version of tailback D’Andre Swift is as good as anyone in the SEC. Swift had 17 carries for 186 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run.

Cornerback Eric Stokes saved a touchdown in the second quarter, knocking down a Jarrett Stidham pass intended for Seth Williams in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the Georgia 4.

Return man Mecole Hardman had a 41-yard kick return, sparking the Bulldogs first touchdown drive of the game in the second quarter. Hardman also downed a punt at the Auburn 1-yard line in the third quarter.

Freshman linebacker Robert Beal made his presence felt with a bone-jarring hit on Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene that forced a fumble. The Tigers recovered, but it was another sign of Beal’s emergence.

The Georgia secondary allowed Auburn just 56 yards passing in the second half.

Stock even

Jake Fromm’s stock stayed even, which is to say, he remains a very good quarterback even though he threw an ill-advised pass the resulted in a second half interception.  Fromm (13-of-20, 193 yards, 2 touchdowns, interception) was excellent in the 2-minute offense at the end of the first half, leading a touchdown drive that gave UGA much-needed momentum. It was the fourth time Georgia has scored with two minutes or less left in a half: two touchdowns, two field goals.

Stock down

Fake field goals. Georgia is now 0-for-2 on fake field goals after Rodrigo Blankenship threw incomplete on a fake from the Auburn 14 with 3:20 left. Blankenship overthrew a wide open Isaac Nauta.

Short-yardage offense. The Bulldogs continue to make it hard on themselves deep in the red zone. Three drives inside the Auburn 10 failed to lead to touchdowns, with the Bulldogs settling for two field goals and failing to execute a fake in the fourth quarter.

Isaiah Wilson had a very costly motion penalty on a second-and-goal at the Auburn 1-yard line in the second quarter. Georgia ended up kicking a field goal on that drive.

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