Auburn Falls to Georgia, 24-21
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November 16, 2002
AUBURN (AP) - David Greene threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Johnson on fourth and long with 1:25 left to help Georgia defeat Auburn 24-21 Saturday, giving the Bulldogs the SEC Eastern title.
RB Ronnie Brown
Three straight incompletions by Greene and a false-start penalty set up 4th-and-15, but Greene lofted his pass into the left corner of the end zone. Johnson, subbing for an injured Terrence Edwards, outjumped Horace Willis for the score.
The Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) earned a shot at their first league title since 1982 and ended a three-game losing streak to the Tigers (7-4, 4-3).
Auburn took over at its own 28 with 1:18 to play, and Jason Campbell quickly hit Robert Johnson over the middle for a 25-yard gain.
The Georgia defense resumed its second-half dominance after that, with a sack by Boss Bailey and two Auburn penalties leaving Auburn with a 4th-and-20. Campbell's pass to Tre Smith fell well short of the first-down marker with 19 seconds left.
Georgia's last four victories in the series have come at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Greene finished 18-of-35 for 232 yards with an interception. Playing without Edwards (separated right shoulder) and Damien Gary (left leg injury), he passed for just 29 yards in the first half.
Johnson had caught 11 passes coming in but finished with 13 for 141 yards and the final touchdown.
Auburn led 14-3 at halftime behind Ronnie Brown's 103 rushing yards, including a 53-yard touchdown. Brown had 10 second-half carries for 21 yards.
Quarterback Jason Campbell was 12-of-23 for 133 yards with two first-quarter interceptions, also rushing for 72 yards. He threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson and ran for a 21-yard score with 5:45 left in the third quarter for a 21-10 lead.
The Tigers then went three-and-out on six straight possessions, gaining just 99 second-half yards after Brandon Johnson left the game due to a leg injury.
The Bulldogs had driven to Auburn's 29-yard line on the drive prior to the game-winner. But Musa Smith, who gained 90 yards on 15 carries, was stopped for a 2-yard gain, and Greene threw two straight incompletions. On fourth-and-8, Greene was forced to dump it off to Johnson under a heavy blitz. Spencer Johnson stopped the play for a loss with 2:33 left.
Auburn managed to run just 22 seconds off the clock on three plays, going three-and-out for the sixth straight possession to give the ball back to Georgia.
The Bulldogs got the ball back at their own 41 with 1:58 left and no timeouts, but they didn't need them. Greene hit a leaping Fred Gibson on the left sideline for a 41-yarder before throwing three straight incompletions.
The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 233-63 in the first half for a 14-3 lead.
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on drives of 77 and 89 yards to open the second half, cutting it to 21-17.
Greene scored on a 1-yard sneak, then tackle Jon Stinchcomb recovered his quarterback's fumble in the end zone with 2:02 left in the third.
The second score capped an 89-yard drive that was actually pushed back to the 2-yard line on a sack on the first play.
In between, Campbell darted 21 yards into the end zone, faking to Brown from the shotgun and running up the middle.