ATHENS, Ga. — With a flash of red and black, Auburn saw its opportunities slip by time and again on Saturday night.
D’Andre Swift broke past Auburn’s defense on the game-decider, breaking loose for 77 yards and the breakaway touchdown for Georgia in the Bulldogs’ 27-10 romp over the Tigers in Sanford Stadium.
Georgia led 20-10 when Swift took the handoff from his quarterback Jake Fromm on the third play of the final frame and broke through the Auburn defense, raced down the left sideline and into the end zone to put Georgia up three scores.
That play marked one of many chances missed by Auburn (6-4, 3-4) and its defense, which gave up a season-worst 516 yards of offense to Georgia in the loss.
“I really thought we’d play better, and we didn’t,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “Give Georgia credit. They have a good football team.”
The Bulldogs rolled up 303 rushing yards in the win and 117 by the halftime break.
“It’s something we’ve got to fix,” Auburn middle linebacker Deshaun Davis said, on those struggles against the run.
“I don’t know what the team next week is going to do. But I know, two weeks from now, we’re going to stop the run, or we’re going to be in trouble again.”
Georgia led just 13-10 late in the second quarter Saturday, when, facing a fourth-and-3 play from the Auburn 38-yard line, Fromm fired a pass to Terry Godwin, who broke loose in the open field to score a 38-yard touchdown with just 21 seconds left before the half.
Georgia converted eight of 14 third-down attempts in the game, picking up several in seemingly critical moments like that fourth-down play, including conversions on attempts at third-and-8, third-and-5, third-and-16 and third-and-7 at different points in the game.
Meanwhile, Auburn’s offense converted two of its first nine third down conversion attempts, before the Tigers’ final drive of the game, which saw Auburn down 17 points as the game clock rolled under the two-minute mark.
Auburn led 7-3 early, then 10-6 in the second quarter before Fromm hit Tyler Simmons for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs back ahead with 2:47 left in the second quarter.
Auburn’s offense got the ball back with a chance to respond, but went three-and-out, giving the ball back to Georgia to start a drive that ended with Godwin’s touchdown.
Auburn finished two-for-four on third down conversion attempts of third-and-4 distances or shorter.
That inefficiency came in part from Auburn’s continued struggles running between the tackles. Auburn finished the game with 102 rushing yards, only 32 of which came by halftime.
“We are (struggling) and that’s disappointing,” Malzahn said of his rushing offense. “When we run it 20 times, we have to run the football better.”
Malzahn is now 6-12 as a head coach at Auburn against its three main rivals, Alabama, Georgia and LSU.
Malzahn is 2-5 against Georgia, 2-3 against Alabama and 2-4 against LSU, since becoming Auburn’s head coach ahead of the 2013 season.
“I’d say right now we’re disappointed in this particular game,” Malzahn said when asked about those struggles. “Every year is different, every season is different and we’re disappointed we didn’t play well.
“We thought we had a chance to come in here and win, and we didn’t get it done.”
Auburn’s previous season-high in yards allowed this season came in the Tigers’ win against Ole Miss. The Rebels tallied 447 yards in that game. Texas A&M totaled 423 yards on the Auburn defense the Saturday before the Georgia game.
The loss at Georgia marked the fourth time in Auburn’s last five games the Tigers defense has given up 400-plus yards. Auburn didn’t allow 400 yards in any of its first five games this season.
Mississippi State tallied 418 yards on Auburn’s defense on Oct. 6.
Auburn is set to play its home finale against Liberty in non-conference action next Saturday, before the Tigers close their season a week later in the Iron Bowl at No. 1 Alabama.