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Auburn coach Gus Malzahn offers little insight into what went wrong against Georgia Saturday

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson (6) runs out of bounds against Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson (6) runs out of bounds against Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn’t have much to say following Saturday’s 20-13 loss to Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In a terse five-minute postgame press conference, Malzahn offered more shrugs than answers when it came to the Tigers’ offensive struggles.

“We just didn’t get it done,” Malzahn said. “I think that is the best way to put it.”

Auburn only managed three first downs in the second half, one in the third quarter, and one of them was from a facemask penalty. The Tigers went into halftime with a 185 total yards, and finished the game with 275.

Neither quarterback provided much of a spark for the offense.

Malzahn stuck with Jeremy Johnson as his starter for a second straight week. Sean White was “healthy enough to play,” and entered the game midway through the third quarter.

When Johnson went to the bench in the third, he was 8 of 13 for 27 yards with an interception. He would come back in the game for Auburn’s final two drives, and finished 14 of 22 for 61 yards.

Johnson’s 15-yard completion late in the fourth quarter to Marcus Davis was the Auburn’s lone double-digit passing play. His only other attempt to go more than 10 yards through the air was picked off.

The coaching staff showed a reluctance to throw the ball outside of a 5-yard comfort zone with Johnson.

White wasn’t any better going 1 of 5 for 1 yard, and missing on his first four attempts. The redshirt freshman also fumbled when he was sacked in the fourth quarter.

All Malzahn would say about the quarterback situation is that the Tigers went into the matchup with a plan to play both players.

When White came into the game, the coaches felt like they “had some good opportunities” to open up in the passing game.

“It obviously didn’t work out, Malzahn said.

Auburn’s inability to get the passing game going allowed Georgia to make some halftime adjustments, and be more aggressive against the run. After halftime, the Tigers managed 52 yards on 18 carries.

While running back Peyton Barber was reluctant to question Auburn’s play calling, he did acknowledge “it would have been nice” for the running backs to get some more opportunities in the second half.

Why did the team go away from running the ball in the third quarter? What was his reason for switching quarterbacks when he did? Why throw it three straight times with White backed up inside the 20-yard line?

Malzahn was evasive when pressed for specifics, and relied on old standards like a lack of rhythm, execution and balance as reasons for the offense’s disappointing second half.

During the smallest of breaks in the questioning, Malzahn was ready to head for the locker room unwilling, or unable to explain the season-long slump the offense is in.

"We didn't win," Malzahn said. "That is the bottom line. Maybe one group needs to step up, but we just didn't score enough points to win today."

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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