AUBURN, Ala. — In Jake Holland’s world, last Saturday seemingly never happened.
Auburn’s senior linebacker goes to only one building on campus for his classes during the week, sitting in the same desk each and every day. So while Ricardo Louis’ miracle, game-winning touchdown catch against Georgia has been the talk of the country, Holland has barely noticed a difference in his day-to-day interaction with fellow students.
“I don't really get a whole lot of that,” he said. “But my classmates congratulated me and the team as a whole, just said it was a good game. I heard everybody talking about the last play and how it was just a crazy win.”
If Holland had his druthers, the Tigers never would have needed Louis’ last-minute heroics. From where he was standing, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray’s 5-yard touchdown run — which gave the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead with 1:49 remaining — shouldn’t have counted in the first place.
Of course, he admitted this was said selfishly, since he was the player who met Murray at the goal line.
“You don't always get calls to go your way,” he said. “I made the play, so I wish it would have. Ryan (Smith) came in and helped out a little bit. But we still won, so it's all good.”
It got much closer than the Tigers would have liked, though, as the Bulldogs rallied to score three touchdowns in the final period and take a momentary lead over the Tigers before Louis bailed them out on the ensuing possession.
After allowing only 17 points in the first three quarters, what went wrong with Auburn’s defense in the final stanza?
“Field position,” Holland said. “They had good field position in the fourth quarter. We should have been able to stop them. They were making good plays, good throws, good runs. We should have been able to stop them but sometimes it doesn't always go your way.”
Aside from picking up their seventh straight victory, Holland took one other positive out of Saturday’s game.
He and his fellow linebackers finally earned praise from defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.
“He told us in the meeting that it was the most consistent game as far as the linebacker corps that we've had,” he said. “It wasn't perfect, but that's what he said.”