AUBURN, Ala. — Georgia players expressed relief and joy in the aftermath of their 21-14 win at Auburn after the game on Saturday night.
It’s been a long road to 9-1 and another SEC East Division crown for the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs. The Tigers provided the most physical test for Georgia since a 23-17 win over Notre Dame back in September.
Then, like Saturday night, the defense had to stop potential game-winning drives in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
“We did what we said we were going to do, we were going to come and compete for four quarters,” said Georgia junior safety Richard LeCounte, who had six tackles and a fumble recovery on what proved to be the only turnover of the night in a well-played game.
“The thing I’m proud of was how we weathered the storm.”
There’s one more dark cloud headed Georgia’s way, and it comes in the form of a battle-tested Texas A&M football team and football coach.
These Aggies have been to Clemson, they’ve faced the firepower of Alabama, and there’s a reason Kirby Smart’s agent was able to negotiate more money for Jimbo Fisher than Smart himself makes.
Georgia plays host to No. 24-ranked Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium with their College Football Playoff hopes still intact after stemming the Auburn rally.
Bulldogs middle linebacker Monty Rice, who led the team with 10 tackles, was still filled with the emotion of the game several minutes after its conclusion.
“You live for moments like those, I’ve been watching this game on TV since I was like, 8, 9, 10 years old,” said Rice, who hails from Madison, Ala. “It’s crazy to be a part of it, especially one like that. I’m sure that will be a classic.”
Rice, even in victory, was irritated Auburn snapped a season streak that reached nine games of not allowing a rushing touchdown, the first of its kind in 20 years.
“Having 10 tackles didn’t mean anything, I’m pissed at the one I missed at the end when Bo Nix got me rocking a little bit and was able to score,” Rice said. “So now we have to have another good week of practice.
“Pressure is what we signed up for.”
Cornerback Eric Stokes, who had the toughest night of his young career with a dropped interception and critical pass interference, said UGA was prepared for the moment at Auburn.
“We knew they were going to hit their passes eventually, we just had to stay calm and keep playing ball,” Stokes said. “I know we practice the situation every day with the crowd noise and everything going against you.”
And now, Stokes said, the season goals are within reach.
“We wanted to clinch the East,” Stokes said, “but I know for a fact we all have bigger goals and we want more.”
Georgia football DawgNation stories