AUBURN, Ala. — Georgia quarterback Carson Beck was staring adversity in the face amid deafening noise, a national television audience looking on as he fell behind 10-0 entering the second quarter.
Beck, making the first road start of his four-year career, explained why he savored the moment.
“I try to embrace every day, all that happens on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Beck, who engineered the come-from-behind 27-20 for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs.
“It’s been happening since fall camp, it’s been happening the past four years,” he said. “All this practice, all these reps, I have full confidence in myself and this offense and all of these guys.”
Beck was 23-of-33 passing for 313 yards with a touchdown and interception as Georgia improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, winning its 22nd consecutive game.
Beck was forced to do things the hard way, as UGA’s defense has not been as dominant as the past two CFP Championship seasons.
The Bulldogs had marathon scoring drives of 11, 10, 10, 7 and 7 plays, with Beck and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in sync to the point of converting on an eye-popping 8 of 13 third downs.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart praised Beck’s poise and ability to manage the game amid the hostile crowd.
“I thought Carson played better in the second half, and I never felt like he was rattled,” Smart said. “That was a concern coming in was would he be rattled by this environment.
“To have a quarterback that had never started on the road go to Auburn and not have a procedural penalty or delay of game? That’s pretty remarkable.”
Beck watched as Oscar Delp fumbled on the first play of the second half, leading to an Auburn touchdown that put the Tigers up 17-10.
But as Smart said, Beck stayed composed, completing 16 of 20 passes in the second half for 236 yards and the game-winning touchdown to Brock Bowers.
“He makes plays, and the coverages they were using against us, it kept dictating that the ball was going to go to him,” said Beck, who saw Bowers reel in a career-high 157 yards on 8 catches, including two one-handed grabs in the fourth quarter.
“You get the ball in the guy’s hands that you thought could make plays.”
Beck also helped make sure there was time to find Bowers against a fierce Auburn pressure package, making adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
“It’s more like protection calls, they were trying to heat us up there for al little bit, bring some pressures,” Beck said. “So we were trying to get everything picked up so we can ultimately get the ball out of our hands.”
Beck is aware more challenges are ahead, but he also know that he — along with his offensive teammates — made a statement.
“It showcases our toughness, it showcases our composure,” Beck said. “We’re tough, (and) when the going gets hard, we get harder.
“We just keep pushing and keep going, all that matters is the ‘W’ column.”