ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s first two offensive drives Saturday were followed by a chorus of boos, and the Bulldogs offense struggled to accomplish much of anything against the Auburn defense.
But after botching themselves into third-and-long on their initial drives, the Bulldogs (without A.J. Green) wound up with 31 points and a win.
“We were just laughing about it,” said quarterback Joe Cox. “We scored 31 points, beat Auburn and we were getting booed after the first series. That’s how it is.”
At 9-of-17 for 173, Cox didn’t have an overly impressive game. But the Georgia rushing attack continued to flourish, and Cox found the deep receiver when he needed to.
A 50-yard connection to Israel Troupe (his first catch and first touchdown of the season) put Georgia on the scoreboard in the second quarter, immediately after Green left the game with a sprain in the AC joint of his left shoulder.
Cox hit Tavarres King for a 47-yarder at the start of the fourth quarter, setting up a Caleb King touchdown that put the Bulldogs up 24-17.
Statistically speaking, it wasn’t the most impressive game from Cox, but he got it done.
“We got it whenever we needed it,” said Troupe, who also reeled in a 12-yarder. “Our running backs had a great game today, and there were a couple times where (the receivers) got discouraged. But we played with heart, and we got the job done today.”
Georgia got its first taste of life without Green last week against Tennessee Tech, and the running game dominated. It was more of the same Saturday, with the Bulldogs running for 169 yards.
Green is out indefinitely with his shoulder sprain, and Troupe was the only Georgia receiver with more than one catch Saturday.
“Troupe stepped up big at the flanker position with A.J. being out, and I really feel like any of our receivers could have made those plays,” said Tavarres King. “We really pride ourselves on having a deep receiving corps, and that’s what we had.”
With a burgeoning running game and his favorite receiver out, Cox got the chance to show his game management skills. He had one scare (a floater over the middle that somehow eluded an Auburn defender and found tight end Orson Charles), but Cox threw no interceptions Saturday.
“As bad as it started out the first two drives, we were able to stay in it and that’s kind of been our whole thing this year,” Cox said.
“But the good news is that we kept our penalties down, we took care of the ball well. All the backs did, and I tried not to force any throws. I think ultimately that’s what kept us in the game.”