Home field means little in Georgia-Auburn rivalry

sports@macon.comNovember 11, 2013 

When Georgia plays at Auburn on Saturday, it will be only the second time in the long series between the two SEC rivals that they will have played back-to-back games in the state of Alabama. Last season, Georgia shut out the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium 38-0 and return this season as a result of a necessary schedule adjustment caused by the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference.

If the designated rivalry games (Georgia-Auburn, Tennessee-Alabama, LSU-Florida, Mississippi State-Kentucky, Vanderbilt-Mississippi, Missouri-Arkansas and South Carolina-Texas A&M) were to be played as originally scheduled, it would not have been mathematically possible to establish a rotation where a team can cycle through all the teams in the opposite division.

To remedy the situation, all permanent rivalry games will be hosted by Western Division teams this season and Eastern Division teams next year. Who knows what will happen if the conference goes to a nine-game conference schedule or if more expansion takes place.

The only other time back-to-back games were played in Alabama was in 1908 and 1909, when the teams met in Montgomery. In fact, that was the only time Georgia and Auburn met in Alabama during the first 62 meetings between the teams. The first game in 1892, won by Auburn 10-0, was played in Atlanta, along with the next nine. Macon hosted the game from 1904-07. Following the games in Montgomery, Savannah was the site in 1910 and 1911, with the game in Athens in 1912, Atlanta in 1913 and 1914 and back to Athens in 1915.

Following that 1915 game in Athens, the teams settled on the neutral site of Columbus, where they played 39 of the next 40 times, with the only exception coming in Athens in 1929 in the dedication year of Sanford Stadium. Georgia got the best of the games in Columbus, winning 21 and losing 16, with two ending in ties.

The final six games played in the Fountain City were not to the Bulldogs’ liking. They lost all six, including the finale in 1958, which was played before a record overflow crowd of 28,000 at Memorial Stadium. That crowd was a determining factor in moving the games to campus sites, as Sanford Stadium at the time seated 36,000 and Cliff Hare Stadium (as it was known at the time) could accommodate 34,500.

In the final game in Columbus, the Tigers ran their unbeaten streak to 22 games with a 21-6 win over the Bulldogs. Their only blemish during that time had been a tie at 7 with Georgia Tech earlier that season. Auburn scored on a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Richard Wood to Bobby Lauder in the first half, Lauder added a 20-yard touchdown run in the second half, and quarterback Lloyd Nix connected with Ed Dyas on an 11-yard touchdown pass. Georgia’s only score came in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Britt to Don Soberdash.

When the games moved to campus sites in 1959, Georgia shocked the Tigers and the entire SEC, beating Auburn 14-13 to win its first conference championship since 1948. The Bulldogs’ winning touchdown, a pass from Fran Tarkenton to Bill Heron in the waning minutes of the game, was set up on a fumble recovery by Bulldogs All-American Pat Dye, who would become the Tigers’ head coach in 1981.

“The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” between Georgia and Auburn started in 1892, and the teams have played 116 times with the series tied at 54 with eight ties. Since they went to home sites in 1959, Auburn leads the series 26-25-2. Of Auburn’s 26 wins, 16 have come at Sanford Stadium, while 15 of Georgia’s victories have been at Jordan-Hare. It just goes to prove the home field advantage doesn’t mean a lot when these two teams play.

Bobby Pope hosts the Saturday Scoreboard on Fox Sports 1670 each Saturday during the football season.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service