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Monday, November 12, 2012
Film study: Georgia vs. Auburn

By David Ching

ATHENS, Ga. -- Let’s take a look at three key plays from Georgia’s 38-0 win at Auburn on Saturday.

Conley scores first touchdown

The score: 0-0

The situation: Georgia raced 70 yards in five plays on its first drive when it faced third-and-goal at the Auburn 6-yard line with 10:57 left in the first quarter.

Why it worked: Quarterback Aaron Murray threw over the top of Auburn’s zone and Chris Conley made a nice catch at the back of the end zone for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown.

The breakdown: Conley lined up in the slot to the right, inside of Tavarres King. Tight end Arthur Lynch was unattached from the line to Conley’s left. Malcolm Mitchell lined up to the left of the line.

Conley easily beat his man, Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal, with a quick turn inside toward the goal post and Murray deftly slipped a pass to Conley over cornerback T’Sharvan Bell’s head as he dropped to defend the goal line. The throw was slightly behind Conley, but he reached backward to his left and grabbed the pass before tapping both feet down directly in front of the goal post for a touchdown.

What it means: After Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett -- both of whom spent a lot of time as slot receivers -- both went down with season-ending knee injuries in the span of a month, the Bulldogs shifted Conley into a position he had not played. He handled the new role well against Auburn, making all four of his catches for 32 yards in the first half before Georgia’s offense took its foot off the gas in the second.

Taking Auburn out of it

The score: 7-0 Georgia

The situation: Auburn tried to answer the Bulldogs’ score by driving into Georgia territory. It had moved 58 yards in six plays and had first-and-10 at the UGA 30 with 7:23 left in the first quarter.

Why it worked: Jordan Jenkins is fast. Really fast.

The breakdown: Auburn’s Quan Bray lined up left and came in motion before the snap, taking a handoff from quarterback Jonathan Wallace 5 yards deep in the backfield and rolling right in order to attempt a reverse pass downfield to Emory Blake. The only problem was that Georgia outside linebacker Jenkins stayed outside of H-back Jay Prosch and shot up the field toward Bray, pushing Bray all the way back to the 44.

Jenkins caught up to the shifty Bray at the 43, grabbed him by the left shoulder pad and threw him to the ground for a 10-yard loss. The play derailed Auburn’s drive as the Tigers next ran two unproductive plays and punted -- and then Georgia quickly drove for its second touchdown and the rout was in full swing.

What it means: Jenkins’ role has grown in recent weeks and this play is a good example of why his playing time has increased. The true freshman stayed at home -- as he has several times to blow up plays this season -- and showed off impressive closing speed that is going to make him one of the SEC’s best pass rushers in the near future.

T.K.’s TD

The score: Georgia leads 14-0

The situation: The Bulldogs faced third-and-7 at the Auburn 17 with 10:35 left in the second quarter. Murray re-entered the game for the play, having taken a down off when a hit knocked his wind out momentarily.

Why it worked: Murray launched a perfectly placed pass and King made an acrobatic catch, tapping down his right toe in the end zone a split second before his left foot came down out of bounds.

The breakdown: King lined up to the right with Conley in the slot and Mitchell coming in motion from the left. Murray rolled right with Auburn defensive lineman Angelo Blackson giving chase.

Georgia’s quarterback sailed his pass just over leaping Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead’s fingertips, but King jumped to catch it, cradling the ball in the crook of his right arm as he tapped his right toe down before falling out the right side of the end zone.

What it means: Bulldogs fans were no doubt concerned when Murray struggled to get up from a hit, forcing backup Parker Welch to enter the game to execute a running play. But all was right with the Dawgs' world one play later when Murray trotted back onto the field and kept the Bulldogs offense rolling with a highlight-reel throw to King for a score.

When the Bulldogs scored on a Todd Gurley run on their next drive, they had scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions against Auburn and on eight of their last 12 drives dating back to the second quarter of the Ole Miss game. That’s a sign of an offense that is obviously in full stride.