Karle's Korner: Georgia 13, Auburn 7: The Good, The Bad & The Ug - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL


Karle's Korner: Georgia 13, Auburn 7: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Source: Auburn Athletics Source: Auburn Athletics

The following is a commentary from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:

Before I dig in, I want to nominate Auburn tailback Kamryn Pettway as a candidate for SEC Player Of The Year. The reason? After watching the Auburn-Georgia game, I now see how valuable the SEC’s leading rusher is to his team. As Pettway and his 168 yards of offense stood on the sidelines on Saturday, the rest of his offensive teammates were, well… truly offensive. And as the game wore on, the offense disappeared further into the hedges. Yes, the Auburn Tigers, who ran for 543 yards against Arkansas found themselves running for a total of 32 yards in the second half at Georgia, with no first downs and no points scored. Yes, just last week, Kamryn Pettway became the first Tiger since Bo Jackson to run for over 150 yards in four straight games. Will the leg heal in time for the Iron Bowl? Without the big guy playing in Tuscaloosa, this one could get really ugly.

So where is the Auburn team? After six straight wins, it’s humbled and hurting. Kam’s leg, Sean‘s shoulder, and hello… we hold an open casting call for linebackers? While Alabama A&M comes at a perfect time, two weeks to prepare for the Seattle Seahawks- I mean the Alabama Crimson Tide may be just enough time. So with that, I present my weekly Good, Bad & Ugly from Saturday’s loss in Athens.

The Good: More than you think! 

You have to start with the defense. The Tigers once again held a solid team to without a touchdown. While the Dawgs pounded the ball, the AU defense gave up only 135 rushing yards and a measly two field goals. Adams, Lawson, Matthews and others were superb, and that gives hope to the Auburn Nation.  And isn’t ironic that Auburn’s Tray Matthews, a Georgia transfer, prevented a Bulldogs score with a pick in the end zone  (more on anther transfer in a moment)?
Kerryon Johnson is one heckuva athlete as he ran for 99 yards and a score. The problem was, he got little help, as three other Auburn running backs combined for 24 yards. Once again, the downhill running of Pettway was missed as coach Malzahn bases his smash mouth running game on a monster who can soften things up. With the running game all but gone (the Tigers ran for 127 yards, about a third of what they usually chalk up), Sean White was forced into a very uncomfortable place.

The Bad: Well, Plenty!

Let’s start with Sean White, who is a true gamer. Tough and resilient as he is, he’s not Cam Newton or Nick Marshall. Still, White has led the SEC this season in completion percentage and passing efficiency as his passes are usually on target: On Saturday they were not. Why? A few reasons: He is obviously not 100 percent, and coach Gus admitted as much after the game. And when the running game is not going well, White is often forced to throw where he doesn’t want to throw. That was evident by the pick six from Maurice Smith. Whites’ game stats?  6-of-20 for… get this… 27 yards and a pick. That, My friend, will force that QBR to plummet. Auburn fans should be very proud of what Sean White has accomplished and what the coaching staff has done to help Sean White succeed. But if Georgia held White to 27 passing yards, what might Bama do?

As we’ve already mentioned, the Tiger’s running game went AWOL. Give the Bulldogs defensive line some props as it is a VERY strong unit. But 127 rushing yards in a Malzahn/Lashlee offense is not going to get it done. 

The Ugly: Well, uh…   

The Auburn Tigers put up a fight in what ended up being a backyard brawl. And who’da thunk that it would be a former Alabama defensive back to turn a great play for the Dawgs into an ugly play for AU? Maurice Smith- he of the Bama transfer saga- stepped up when Kirby Smart needed it.  Smith picked off White early in the third quarter and took it to the house to tie the game at seven. Wouldn’t you figure it would be a former Bama player whose touchdown made the difference between an Auburn  win and a loss?

Was it ugly? Well, yes. Take a minute to digest the following: This season the Tigers have been averaging 495 yards and 43 points per game. On Saturday Auburn had 164 total yards and 7 points. That 7 points, by the way, matches an Auburn career low for Malzahn. Auburn has not won at Georgia in 11 years, the offense took a step back while the injuries mount. 

Has this been a good season for the Tigers? Yes. Has it been magical? Well, no. But something tells me that the magic can return in two weeks in Tuscaloosa. Could the Tigers actually beat the mighty Crimson Tide? I’m not going to tell you to bet the house, but I can tell you that the Tigers will look a whole lot better than they did on Saturday. Paging Kamryn Pettway!

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