ATHENS — Georgia has suffered many devastating defeats over the years, and inflicted more than a few on its opponents as well. But there are few instances that match the Auburn game at Jordan-Hare in 2013 in terms of pure, raw and devastating disappointment.
On Nov. 16, 2013, the Bulldogs had rallied from 20 points down in the fourth quarter to take a 38-36 lead. All Georgia had to do to was hold the Tigers as they faced fourth-and-18 at their own 27 with 30 seconds to play.
Quarterback Nick Marshall’s deep pass for double-covered Ricardo Louis was tipped by Georgia safeties Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews for a game-winning 73-yard touchdown with 25 seconds to play. Auburn held on for a 43-38 win and eventually played for the national title.
“That would have been the greatest comeback in the history of Georgia football,” coach Mark Richt said. “It actually was. We were down 20 in the fourth and came back and took the lead. So we did erase the deficit. But we lost the game, obviously, on that ball they launched out there.”
When Louis finally hauled in the deflected ball and scooted into the end zone, Richt and offensive line coach Chris Wilson both fell face-first onto the grass turf of the playing field.
“I mean that one, I literally … hit my knees and then I my chest hit on the ground,” Richt recalled Tuesday. “I was, like, ‘what in the world is going on?’But gosh, you see so many of those it seems. … I mean the very next time they played, the game against Bama, what happened there; and then what happened at Florida State and Georgia Tech and what happened to Michigan and what happened to — how about Arkansas/ Ole Miss?
“I mean unbelievable stuff that happens, and it just seems to happen in college football more than the pros. Just wild stuff. But that’s why everybody loves college football, man.”
Players and coaches have scattered in many different directions since then. Following is an update:
AUBURN QB NICK MARSHALL
Marshall came back for his senior season at Auburn and finished with 4,508 career passing yards, the eighth-most in school history … His 1,866 rushing yards were the 21st-most in school history. Marshall — who originally signed with Georgia out of Wilcox County as a defensive back but was dismissed for his role in a dorm-room theft — gave up playing quarterback this year in order to make a run at an NFL career. Marshall went undrafted as a defensive back but earned a place on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster as cornerback and kick returner. He has not been active for all of the Jaguars’ game but enters the 10th week having recorded three tackles, all on special teams, has three punt returns for 10 yards and one kick return for 19 yards.
AUBURN WR RICARDO LOUIS
Louis remains at Auburn where he is a senior starter at wide receiver and part-time kick returner. He actually has had some issues this season with dropped balls. But he remains the Tigers’ leading receiver with 563 yards on 15 catches and two touchdowns. He enters the Georgia game with 88 career catches for 1,185 yards and seven TDs. He also runs the ball a lot out of Gus Malzahn’s spread-option attack and has 484 yards and two TDs for his career, including 107 yards this season.
GEORGIA S TRAY MATTHEWS
Matthews actually had a career-high 12 tackles against Auburn that night in 2013, but it ended up being one of the last times he would play for the Bulldogs. Injuries plagued him the rest of the season and he was dismissed before the next one. Matthews was one of four UGA players disciplined for double-cashing stipend checks, and then he would later have a confrontation with a professor that resulted in Richt dismissing him from the program. The 6-1, 213-pound athlete from Newnan transferred almost immediately to Auburn, which had finished a close second to Georgia in recruiting, and sat out last season via the NCAA’s transfer rule. He had started the first seven games of this season before an ankle injury sidelined him for the last two. He’s sixth on the team with 36 tackles and has one interception.
GEORGIA S JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS
Auburn was the last SEC road game of Harvey-Clemons’ career. The former 5-star prospect from Valdosta also did not last long at Georgia. He was suspended for the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville later that season and was dismissed for a violation of the team’s conduct codes regarding marijuana use before spring practice. Harvey-Clemons followed former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to Louisville, where he is now the Cardinals’ starting safety. He is third on the team with 59 tackles and two interceptions. He recorded both interceptions and a season-high 14 tackles in a loss ot Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta to start this season.
GEORGIA DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD GRANTHAM
Grantham would remain at Georgia less than two months following the loss. He accepted a five-year, $5 million offer to coordinate the defense for Bobby Petrino at Louisville. Now in his second year with the Cardinals, they’re ranked one spot below Georgia in total defense (306.7 ypg) at 15th and are 11th in the nation against the run (110.6) and 28th on third downs (.325). Oddly enough, they’re ranked 108th in red-zone defense.