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NCAA Football Recap (Auburn-Georgia)
Posted: Sat November 15, 1997 at 11:00 p.m. ESTDameyune Craig ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Auburn scored on four straight possessions in the first half and easily defeated number seven Georgia, 45-34, in a pivotal Southeastern Conference matchup. Georgia (7-2, 5-2 SEC) attempted to rally, and a pair of late fourth-quarter touchdowns made the final closer than the score indicated. The Bulldogs saw their three-game winning streak halted and likely fell out of contention for the SEC East Division title. Auburn (8-2, 5-2) remained in the West Division title equation with the victory and helped erase memories of a 20-0 loss to Mississippi State two weeks ago. The Tigers have won seven of their last eight games in Georgia's Sanford Stadium. After Georgia took the opening kickoff and moved quickly for a touchdown, the Tigers responded with a scoring drive of their own. Craig capped the march with a one-yard touchdown plunge that sparked a 24-point barrage. Jaret Holmes added a 29-yard field goal with 34 seconds left in the first quarter before Demontray Carter and Fred Beasley tacked on touchdown runs in the opening 4:36 of the second. Auburn got a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, including a 76-yard scoring strike from Craig to Karsten Bailey en route to a 38-14 lead. Craig completed 12-of-19 passes for 231 yards and Bailey finished with four catches for 115 yards. Carter had 14 carries for 93 yards as Tigers finally got their ground game on track. After recording just 11 rushing touchdowns in its first eight games, Auburn scored five in the contest. Georgia's Mike Bobo was 29-of-43 for 362 and three touchdowns. Hines Ward finished with seven receptions for 98 yards as nine different players caught passes for the Bulldogs. The vaunted running attack of Georgia was held to 58 yards on 30 carries as the Auburn defense bottled up Robert Edwards and Ward. Linebacker Takeo Spikes had 13 tackles, including three for losses, for the Tigers. The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and moved 80 yards in eight plays, culminating in Bobo's five-yard scoring strike to Corey Allen. But the Tigers answered with a long drive of their own, and Craig's touchdown plunge knotted the score. The Tigers went ahead for good on their next possession. Moving 46 yards in nine plays, the Tigers settled for Holmes' field goal. A Georgia turnover early in the second quarter set up another Auburn touchdown, Carter's 11-yard run that made it 17-7. Following another turnover, Beasley's first touchdown run of the contest, a five-yard burst, extended the lead to 24-7 with 10:24 left in the half. Georgia got within 10 points just before the half on a one-yard touchdown run by Edwards, but the third quarter belonged to Auburn. Craig's six-yard scoring run just under six minutes into the quarter capped a 41-yard drive and gave the Tigers a 31-14 advantage. Just under nine minutes later, Craig found Bailey with the long touchdown pass that broke the game open. Bobo opened the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdown passes to Ward as Georgia drew within 38-28. But an onside kick failed and Auburn capitalized, moving 42 yards in six plays before Beasley lunged over from the 1. Georgia tacked on a touchdown on the game's final play, but it was not enough as Auburn moved into a first-place tie with Louisiana State in the SEC West Division. They are a half-game ahead of Mississippi State, which also has two losses.
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