War Eagle Extra

Auburn offense takes blame for ‘screw up’ at Georgia

Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson (21) tries to escape from Georgia defensive back Maurice Smith (2) Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Athens, Ga.
Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson (21) tries to escape from Georgia defensive back Maurice Smith (2) Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Athens, Ga. AP

Auburn’s offense offered a candid assessment of how the team lost 13-7 Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.

“The whole defense played their ass off, we as an offense screwed up,” Auburn offensive line Alex Kozan said. “ I don’t think that’s saying anything that’s not obvious. Put the blame on me, it was our fault.”

The Tigers offense had 164 total yards with no first downs and 32 yards in the second half. It was the program’s worst offensive output since a 49-0 loss to Alabama in 2012.

For Gus Malzahn, it was the second least productive outing as a coach or offensive coordinator in his career.

It was only the third time a defense held a Malzahn-led offense to less than 200 total yards (2011 vs. Alabama, 140 yards; 2009 vs. LSU, 193 yards).

“Our defense played outstanding, but our offense didn’t get it done today,” Malzahn said. “It’s as simple as that. We didn’t get a first down in the second half. Give them credit, they had a good plan, but we didn’t do a good job executing and doing the things that we need to do. Third downs, 2-of-12 on third downs, obviously that was the worst of the year. We just didn’t make any explosive plays. They did a good job stopping the run and we had trouble throwing the football when we threw it. Disappointing loss, to say the least.”

Auburn quarterback Sean White had the worst game of his career going 6 of 20 for 27 yards with an interception.

White’s shoulder injury may have played a part in the offense’s struggles as did running back Kamryn Pettway’s absence (leg injury), but no one used the injuries as an excuse for the dismal execution.

“That’s frustrating,” Johnson said of seven straight three-and-outs in the second half. “Somebody has got to make a play. We pride ourselves on running the ball. I didn’t make any plays and that’s just letting the team down more.”

Johnson was angry with himself for not giving Auburn “enough of a spark.”

“It was a typical Georgia defense,” Johnson said. “They were athletic. They were fast. They tackled well. They didn’t do anything special. We just didn’t execute like we were supposed to.”

For seniors like Kozan, the latest loss in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is going to take a little time to get over. The fifth-year lineman will leave the Plains with a 1-4 record against the Bulldogs and a decade-long streak of futility in Athens still intact. “I’m taking it pretty hard,” Kozan said. “It sucks being my senior year I really wanted to beat Georgia. Life doesn’t always go your way. You have to keep moving forward and get past the hurdles.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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