AUBURN, Ala. – There is a chance Georgia could see Auburn again in the SEC championship game, but that’s not why Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was talking about the Tigers in the aftermath of Saturday’s 40-17 loss.
“Our job is to respond the right way and move on now to Kentucky,” Smart said. “You don’t let Auburn beat you twice, right? You go get ready to play Kentucky.”
Georgia (9-1 overall, 6-1 in the SEC) already has clinched the SEC East title and a spot in the SEC championship game. First, though, come games against UK next week and rival Georgia Tech on November 25. A loss in either one of those and the Bulldogs can kiss their College Football Playoff hopes goodbye. Wins in those two and the SEC title game almost certainly would get Georgia a spot in the playoff.
Smart has said in the past that “humility is just a week away.” Georgia just experienced that, and he said next week’s game will be a testament to how tough this team is – or is not.
“They’re going to be defined by how they respond,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of leaders in that (locker) room that need to go play a really good Kentucky team this week. So, our whole deal is how are you going to respond to some adversity? Things didn’t go your way, and you got your butt kicked. How are you going to respond? This happens all across college football.”
One of the leaders is senior running back Nick Chubb, who said moving past the Auburn loss won’t be difficult.
“It’s easy because we’ve still got everything ahead of us,” Chubb said.
Senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter said the team treats every game the same, anyway, and will be ready for UK.
“We’ve got 24 hours,” Carter said. “Win, lose or draw.”
The quicker Georgia puts the Auburn game behind it, the better. Georgia was beaten in every important statistical category and in every phase.
“It wasn’t that I thought they didn’t focus on Auburn or prepare for Auburn. They prepared as hard as they could,” Smart said. “Auburn had a better game plan and whipped us physically.”
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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