Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
|First meeting||February 20, 1892
Auburn 10, Georgia 0
|Latest meeting||November 14, 2015
Georgia 20, Auburn 13
|Next meeting||November 12, 2016|
|All-time series||Georgia leads 56–55–8|
|Largest victory||Auburn, 44-0 (1900)|
|Longest win streak||Georgia, 9 (1923–1931)|
|Current win streak||Georgia, 2 (2014-present)|
The Auburn–Georgia football rivalry is a college football rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs. The two teams first played each other in 1892 and have met nearly every year since, for a total of 119 games as of 2015. Because it is the oldest rivalry still contested between teams in the Deep South, the series is referred to by both schools as the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry".
The first college football game between Auburn University and the University of Georgia was played on February 20, 1892 in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The game was the brainchild of Charles Herty of Georgia - the University's first football coach and George Petrie, Auburn's Trainer. The two had met as graduate school classmates at The Johns Hopkins University. The game was also, according to legend, when Auburn's team cheer, "War Eagle", originated. Auburn won the game 10–0.
The Tigers and Bulldogs have played each other nearly every year since. There have only been three exceptions since 1898, when World War I and World War II interrupted the series. Through the 2015 season, the rivalry is tied for the fifth most played college football series at 119 games, and is led by Georgia 56–55–8. When the Southeastern Conference split into its Eastern Division and Western Division in 1992, with Auburn placed in the west and Georgia in the east, the game was designated as the teams' annual cross-divisional rivalry game.
|Auburn victories||Georgia victories||Ties|
In 1892, The two schools met in the first meeting in what is now the South’s oldest college football rivalry. Auburn would win 10-0. One Atlanta newspaper called it the “social event of the year.”
In 1899, by all accounts Auburn was leading Georgia by a score of 11-6 when the game was called due to darkness, lighting not being available at that time, resulting in an official 0-0 tie. As noted by sideline reporters for The Atlanta Constitution "The conditions that appeared to make the ruling of Referee Rowbotham a necessity were such as should never have occurred on any gridiron that has the advantage of police protection. As darkness came on it was impossible in the bleachers and grand stand to distinguish the play and with no obstacle in the way the crowd surged into the field mingled with the players and made further progress a matter of impossibility." Fifteen minutes prior to the decision, Auburn coach, John Heisman, made an official request to call the game for the same reason. The decision was backed by Umpire Taylor. "In the decision that made the game a tie the referee was backed up by Umpire Taylor of Birmingham who, although a Just official has always been regarded by many as a friend of Auburn."
In 1902, Rufus Nalley dies in Atlanta after a short, serious illness. According to some, the last thing that he heard before losing consciousness on November 27, was that Georgia had beaten Auburn earlier that day, news that caused him to smile. It was the first victory for Georgia in the rivalry since the 1896 team for which Nalley played.
In 1916, Auburn wins 3 to 0 in the mud on a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Moon Ducote kicked off of teammate Legare Hairston's leather helmet, in Columbus's McClung Stadium. This precipitated the rule which states the ball must be kicked directly off the ground.
On November 14, 1959, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, as time ran short, Georgia player and future Auburn head-coach Pat Dye recovered a fumble by Auburn quarterback Bryant Harvard. Georgia quarterback Fran Tarkenton's touchdown pass in the final seconds gave Georgia a 14-13 victory and cost Auburn a Southeastern Conference championship. Georgia went on to claim the 1959 SEC Championship and the 1960 Orange Bowl Championship with a victory over Missouri in Miami.
The AU-UGA game has been held in many different cities - Atlanta, Athens, Macon, Columbus, Savannah, Montgomery - but on November 12, 1960, the Bulldogs made their first trip to the Auburn; a game which the Tigers won 9-6. This marked a huge change for the Tigers, as Auburn's biggest rivals - Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Alabama and Georgia - previously would not travel to Auburn. Georgia Tech's first visit came in 1970, while Tennessee eventually came in 1974. It would take Auburn's biggest rival, Alabama, almost 30 years after UGA to make the trip.
In 1983, again at Sanford Stadium, Pat Dye celebrated his first SEC championship as Auburn's coach after the Tigers beat Georgia 13-7 on November 12. Georgia coach Vince Dooley, a former star Auburn quarterback, was there too on that day in 1959 as an assistant on Shug Jordan's staff.
In 1986, the Bulldogs visited Auburn as three-touchdown underdogs. Auburn was two wins away from the SEC Championship, with only one blemish on their record, an 18-17 setback at Florida. Georgia, playing its backup quarterback, escaped with a 20-16 victory. When Georgia fans stormed the field of Jordan-Hare Stadium and started tearing the turf from midfield and refused to leave, they were doused by sprinkler system and fire hoses.
In 1992, the 12th ranked Bulldogs barely avoided an upset bid by Auburn with a narrow 14-10 victory in Pat Dye's final home game at Jordan-Hare Stadium as Auburn's head coach. In what was mostly a defensive struggle, Georgia led 14-10 when they were forced to punt of their own end zone with a little under 3 minutes left in the game. Auburn took the punt to the UGA 45 and was able to drive down to the UGA one foot line 19 seconds left after an Auburn player was pushed out of bounds. On the very next play, an Auburn running back fumbled, but the Tigers recovered it at the one yard line. However, there was so much confusion about who initially had the ball that the refs never reset the ball and Auburn was unable to run another play before time ran out to the delight of UGA head coach Ray Goff and the bewilderment of the Auburn crowd, players, coaches, and the ABC Broadcasting crew. During the Georgia radio broadcast, legendary Bulldog broadcaster Larry Munson said the reason Georgia won was because "Old Lady Luck saved us."
In 1994, a Georgia team that had lost to Vanderbilt and had been blown out 52-14 by Florida, ended Auburn and former coach Terry Bowden's 20-game winning streak with a 23-23 tie at Jordan-Hare. The Sunday morning headline in nearby Columbus, Ga read "UGA beats Auburn 23-23".
In 1996, the two teams played in the first Southeastern Conference football game to go into overtime. First-year head coach Jim Donnan's team, which finished 5-6, was down 28-7 at halftime, before rallying to tie it at 28 on a 30-yard touchdown as time expired from Mike Bobo to Cory Allen, and Georgia went on to win 56-49 in four overtimes. This game, known to Georgia fans as the "Miracle on the Plains," was also famous for the incident in which Uga V lunged at Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker after a first-quarter touchdown.
In 1999, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville got his first signature win, as the underdog Tigers, losers of five of their previous six games, led 31-0 at halftime and cruised to a 38-21 victory.
In 2002, #7 Georgia traveled to #22 Auburn with a spot in the SEC Championship game and an outside chance at the national title on the line. Auburn led 14-3 at halftime, thanks to a 53-yard touchdown run from Ronnie Brown. Georgia rallied to make it 21-17 Tigers with 1:25 remaining when they faced a 4th and 15 from the Auburn 19. QB David Greene threw up a prayer, and Michael Johnson outjumped Auburn CB Horace Willis to come away with the improbable touchdown. Georgia defeated Auburn 24-21 to secure a spot in their first SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs defeated Arkansas 30-3 to win their first SEC Championship since 1982. The Bulldogs finished the season 13-1 with a victory over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, and a #3 final ranking.
In 2004, #8 Georgia traveled to undefeated and #3 Auburn in 2004. The Tigers were eyeing their first SEC Championship since splitting the title in 1989 (note: Auburn was on probation in 1993 and ineligible for the championship), as well as a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. The Tigers won 24-6 on their way to a 13-0 season, ending with a 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl and a No. 2 national ranking.
In 2006, Georgia visited Auburn having lost four of their previous five games and being unranked for the first time since 2002, while fifth-ranked Auburn had national title hopes. Georgia had lost to Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the same season for the first time since 1973, when they rebounded to defeat Auburn. History repeated itself as the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 37-15 and ended Auburn's chances at a national title.
In 2007, the game marked the first time in the modern era that Georgia wore black jerseys. It also marked the first time that Georgia defeated Florida and Auburn in the same season since 1982 , and the first time that Georgia scored more than 40 points in three straight games since 1942.
In 2013, #7 Auburn hosted #25 Georgia in Auburn. Through the first 50 minutes of the game, Auburn had scored on seven of nine possessions with 29 first downs building a 37–17 lead. In contrast, when Georgia began their first possession of the fourth quarter they had only reached the end zone once on their previous six drives. Auburn maintained that 20-point lead until 9:35 left in the game when the momentum suddenly shifted. At that moment, Aaron Murray threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior Rantavious Wooten to cut the deficit to 13 points. In fact Murray would lead his team to three touchdowns in the span of 7:46, the final touchdown giving Georgia their first lead of the game with 1:49 remaining. With 36 seconds remaining and faced with 4th and 18 from the Tiger 26-yardline, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, a former defensive back for the Bulldogs during the 2011 season, threw a Hail Mary pass, which was tipped by Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons right into the hands of Auburn sophomore wide receiver Ricardo Louis. What has become known as "The Prayer at Jordan–Hare," the fortuitous play resulted in a game-winning touchdown for the Tigers with 25 seconds to spare, of which Auburn managed to hold off Georgia for and emerge victorious 43–38
It's a unique thing. It's like playing against your brother. I don't think anybody who plays in that game can ever forget it. It just doesn't matter much where it's played or what somebody's record is. It's so intense and tough, but at the same time, it's family.— Pat Dye, UGA '60 - Auburn head coach, 1981–92
Beyond the length of the rivalry, the schools' football histories are quite interconnected. Georgia's long-time head coach and athletic director, Vince Dooley, earned both his bachelor's and master's degree at Auburn while playing football and subsequently beginning his coaching career under legendary Auburn head coach Shug Jordan. Jordan himself was an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at Georgia before returning to his alma mater.
Former Auburn head coach Pat Dye was a three-year letterman and All-American offensive lineman at Georgia under head coach Wally Butts. Current Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner (who coached at Georgia for fifteen years), and former Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels both played at Auburn under Dye. Current Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and offensive line coach Hugh Nall are former Georgia players. Former Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway was Auburn's offensive line coach for all of Dye's 12 seasons. In the coaching search that brought Dye to Auburn, Vince Dooley was first contacted about the position but decided to remain at Georgia. Tracy Rocker, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee and 2x All-American at Auburn as a defensive lineman, is the current defensive line coach at Georgia.
Both programs, in my opinion, have cut their teeth on the same values. The leadership in this program and at Georgia has been very similar.— Will Muschamp, UGA '94, AU '96, Auburn defensive coordinator, 2006–07, 2015
I think this is what you would call a friendly rivalry. Both places are good schools, good places. Both of them have good people. That's what makes it special.— Neil Callaway, Georgia offensive coordinator, 2000–06
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