ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- The Deep South's oldest rivals came into
their 109th meeting separated by one point.
Now make it Auburn by two.
In a wild game that came down to the craziest play of all, Devin
Aromashodu went 62 yards with a fourth-down pass, setting up John
Vaughn's 20-yard field goal with 6 seconds left that gave the
Tigers a 31-30 win over No. 9 Georgia on Saturday night.
Aromashodu fumbled at the end of his big play, but teammate
Courtney Taylor bailed out the 15th-ranked Tigers by recovering the
ball before it rolled out of the end zone.
The touchdown didn't count -- the fumble couldn't be advanced --
so Auburn got the ball at the Georgia 3. That was actually better
for the Tigers, allowing them to run the clock down before Vaughn's
"It will go down as a classic," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville
Or just another Auburn-Georgia game.
The school's first met in 1892, and with the win Auburn pushed
its record against the Bulldogs to 53-48-8. But the closeness of
the series is best exemplified by the cumulative score -- Auburn
1,650, Georgia 1,648.
All the news on Saturday wasn't good for Auburn. The Tigers'
hopes of reaching the Southeastern Conference championship game
took a major blow before the kickoff.
The Tigers (8-2, 6-1 SEC) were hoping hated rival Alabama would
remain unbeaten, setting up a head-to-head showdown for the Western
Division title next week at Auburn.
But the Crimson Tide lost to LSU 16-13 in overtime shortly
before the Auburn-Georgia game kicked off, putting the Bayou
Bengals in control of the division race. LSU needs to beat SEC West
weaklings Mississippi and Arkansas to earn a trip to Atlanta for
the title game on Dec. 3.
"We had our shot at them and we didn't beat them," Tuberville
said of LSU.
Georgia (7-2, 5-2) is actually in better shape despite the loss.
Helped out by South Carolina's upset of Florida, the Bulldogs can
still claim a spot in the SEC's championship game with a win over
lowly Kentucky next week.
"We still control our own destiny," Georgia quarterback D.J.
Shockley said. "As bad as this feels we still have a lot to play
In a game featuring eight lead changes, Auburn came through when
it counted. On fourth-and-10 at its own 34, Brandon Cox found
Aromashodu breaking free over the middle.
"When it's fourth down you just cross your fingers and hope,"
said Auburn's Kenny Irons, who ran for 179 yards.
The receiver made the catch in stride and raced for the end
zone. Just short of the goal line, Georgia defensive back Paul
Oliver managed to knock the ball away.
Aromashodu was asked what he was thinking when the ball came
loose: "It was terror. I was trying to get my balance so I could
recover," he said.
Auburn got it at the 3 with 1:52 remaining.
The winner erased some of the sting from Vaughn's 1-of-6
performance against LSU last month, a game Auburn lost in overtime
that may keep the Tigers out of the SEC championship game.
"It's tough but that's just part of being a kicker," said
Vaughn, who took the advice of his father to heart. "He told me
'If you hit a game-winner against Georgia or Alabama, nobody will
"It feels like redemption."
Irons had an exhausting 37 carries and scored a pair of
"You can't find time to be tired," Irons said.
Irons fumbled at the Georgia 11 with just under 10 minutes
remaining, but the Bulldogs fumbled the ball back two plays later.
Brannan Southerland lost the ball after catching a pass out of
the backfield, and Auburn linebacker Karibi Dede scooped it up and
ran 15 yards for a touchdown that put the Tigers ahead 28-27 with
Brandon Coutu kicked his third field goal, a 41-yarder, with
3:25 left to put Georgia back ahead.
The Bulldogs were bolstered by the return of Shockley, who
didn't play in a loss to Florida two weeks ago because of a knee
Wearing a brace but looking fully recovered, the senior
completed 20 of 36 passes for 304 yards and two TDs. He also ran
seven time for 40 yards.
"My knee felt real good," he said. "I had no kinds of
problems with it at all."
But the Bulldogs were without top cornerback, Tim Jennings, who
sprained an ankle in practice Thursday. Oliver filled in and almost
made a game-saving play.
"I was trying to punch the ball loose," Oliver said. "I
thought it went out of the end zone."
No such luck for Georgia.
"I never thought that kind of play could happen," safety Greg
Blue said of the long fourth-down conversion.
Cox threw for 279 yards, with Aromashodu catching four passes
Thomas Brown ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 12:30 remaining to
put Georgia ahead 26-21. The Bulldogs wanted to go for two, but
there was confusion on the sideline and Shockley didn't get the
snap off in time. The delay of game forced Georgia to settle for
Coutu's PAT. It was a point the Bulldogs could have used later.