Lorenzo Carter was a wreck in the moments after Georgia’s 40-17 defeat to Auburn. He reluctantly agreed to do post-game interviews, but he didn’t say much. It’s understandable why Carter didn’t want to talk about his first loss as a senior this late into his final season.
But as the days passed, Carter began to move on. The hurt he felt in the moment was replaced with a desire to win again. Looking back, it was easy to see why he felt the way he did. Carter didn’t return for his senior season to lose.
“Everything means more, man,” Carter said. “It’s senior year, the last campaign. Everything’s just amplified.”
As the initial sting of the Auburn loss began to fade, Carter, like the rest of his teammates, realized that every other goal outside of finishing undefeated is still on the table. If Georgia beats Kentucky Saturday, it will finish the regular season unbeaten at Sanford Stadium.
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If the Bulldogs then beat Georgia Tech next week, it would finish the regular season 11-1 with a win over its intrastate rival.
From there, Georgia would then have a chance to win its first SEC title since 2005 in a game against either Alabama or Auburn. If the Bulldogs win these next three games, they will almost assuredly be bound for the College Football Playoff.
“Just one loss isn’t going to define our season,” Carter said. “We’ve had a great season so far. We plan on keeping the thing going.”
While the bigger picture looms ahead, Georgia’s focus has been solely on Kentucky this week. The Wildcats bring a punishing rushing attack led by Benny Snell, who will try to recreate the success of Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson – 32 carries, 167 yards – had a week ago.
But for the Bulldogs, knowing that the ultimate end goal is still attainable has helped alleviate the pain of losing the way they did to Auburn.
Georgia’s loss to Auburn was an anomaly on the season. All year, Georgia ran the ball well against opponents. It could only manage 46 total rushing yards against the Tigers.
All year, Georgia took away one aspect of an opposing team’s offense. It allowed Auburn to roll up 488 total yards. The Bulldogs haven’t been penalty or turnover averse throughout the whole season, but they have avoided the game-changing type. Against Auburn, Georgia had a special teams penalty and a muffed punt turn into touchdowns.
Those are things Georgia will need to clean up this week against Kentucky.
“Naturally, you are motivated by a loss or a win, but we are motivated by each other,” receiver Javon Wims said. “We are just going to get back to doing what we do best. We are going to go back in the lab, we work, we grind and go back to that physical brand of football that we know.”
As painful as last Saturday’s loss to Auburn was, the Bulldogs have a chance to get back on track and re-enter the playoff picture. While Georgia isn’t a top-ranked front-runner anymore, becoming a playoff team is still very much a viable option.
To do so, it all starts with Saturday’s game against Kentucky.
“We don't have the luxury of time to sit around and feel bad for ourselves,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “It's something where we can't mope around, we have work today. I think that's the main message, it's get back to work, that's all we can do.”