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There really can't be words to describe this game. It was more than a rivalry. It was more than a miracle.
I have been to a lot of games in my lifetime and in that list of games there have been some good ones. I was there for 10-9 Auburn over LSU. I was there for the 2010 Melt Down in T-town Iron Bowl. I was there for the 2003 Cadillac Express Iron Bowl. I was there for the 2002 Georgia Miracle. I can remember watching other great games on TV, or listening to them on the radio such as the 4 Pick Game vs LSU or the 1993 Iron Bowl. All of these games were classics and will be remembered for a long time, but this is the first game that I KNOW will become a top moment for all time right there with Punt Bama Punt and Bo Over the Top.
Let's first talk about the Game Day Experience and why this was the BEST one ever!
So, my best friend lives in Auburn but we both have kids and we don't fit anymore. Additionally, I have never camped down there and me and my wife REALLY wanted to. So, we did! It wasn't too stressful, although the gas milage was insane. We averaged 9PMG. WHEW!
I got to do my ritual chest bump with Aubie!
After the game, we all sang along with the DJ as loud as we could. We personally saw the UGA players off to I85. Then, we hosted several Auburn stars who slapped hands and danced. Here I am with Jeremy Johnson and Sammie Coates. Even Tre Mason and Nick Marshall gave us a wave.
Well, so....doesn't look like I was really there on my predictions. Mason was my closest guess. I guess? He runs for 115 yards and 1 score. I had guessed 85 yards and a score. Not bad.Louis comes out of the wood work and has a monster game, taking up a lot of the target that Coates would normally get. Coates was held scoreless and without a big completion. Louis, on the other hand, snags 4 catches for a Coates like 141 yards and a score while ALSO getting 5 rushes for 66 yards. Wow. Marshall threw the ball more than any of us ever anticipated. 26 pass attempts? How about 15/26 for 229 and 2 TDs? Well, I wasn't TOO far off. I expected him to throw for 140 yards and 2 TDs and run for 120 on 20 rushes and 1 TD. He only threw for the 1 73 yard miracle reception to Louis. Otherwise, I was in the ball park for the yardage. I was dead on the rush attempts, but he never had the breakout run. His long of the night was 18 yards and 90 total. Not too far off.
Uzomah did get involved, but his only completion of the night resulted in 18 yards and no TD. Still, it was a designed play on the sideline. Expect him to continue to be a factor.
Trovon Reed continues to look more and more like a bust. This was emphasized on a CRITICAL drop he had on, I believe, 3rd down. It was a perfect throw on the sidelines at the sticks and he dropped it.
The differences in the offense in the 4th quarter was despicable, in my eyes. It seemed obvious that Gus was channeling his inner Tommy Tuberville again as he was determined to sit on a lead. It really is frustrating to see a team run 55 plays in the first half and make it look like a run away only to struggle to pick up first downs in the second half. The touchdown aside, the Tigers were held to -1 yards in 2 3-and-outs.
I will say that Marshall looked really good as a passer. He is very quietly turning in a monster season. It's amazing that outside of Alabama, this QB isn't getting more praise. Sure, he isn't putting up massive numbers, but he is over 1500 passing and 800 rushing. He has 15 total TDs. Sure, that's not the 25-30 TDs that Cam put up, but Cam didn't have Mason. Dyer was a great tailback, but he wasn't Mason. I don't know what the difference is. Maybe it's because Mason has something to prove. I think it's his vision and balance. I think he may go down as the 2nd best back to come through Auburn. That's coming from someone that didn't believe he was the best back in the backfield this year, in the preseason. But, I am convinced. Will he come back next year? He has made a move, in my eyes, to be a Day 2 NFL draft prospect.
I am not going to say much here. I said that Auburn would win if they could prevent long TDs. They could give up a lot of points and win as long as UGA earned it. Well, that's exactly right. The other critical part? I said that Auburn could control Gurley. You all laughed. He did rush for a score, but was held in check in the 2nd half. He did have a great game catching the ball out of the backfield. I hinted that Murray's ability to run may be a big factor. Boy, he definitely showed that in his 2 rush TDs.
I said there wouldn't be any big returns. Well, there weren't. I did say that Parkey would be the hero. And, in my eyes, he is. It just gets overlooked that he kicked 3 fieldgoals and had one blocked.
Players to watch
Dee Ford. The first drives in the game, Dee Ford owned the UGA line. There was no bigger hit of the game than the last play. Dee Ford rocked Murray's world.
Auburn secondary. Well, they gave up over 400 yards. Again. But, there were no long TDs. They had good enough coverage to force Murray to run. They couldn't figure out the seam route or the quick slants, but you have to give something up. I'd take short routes all day than a big gainer on the outside.
Marshall. 229 yards passing and 90 yards rushing. Not shabby.
Well, I was all over the place with this week, but that's what rivalries do. This one was an instant classic.