AUBURN - When it was over, when Auburn's football team had sunk to yet another new low and lost 38-0 to Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium, embattled head coach Gene Chizik refused to acknowledge the noise that grows louder with each passing day, with each blowout loss.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik says he's focused still on this season/Robin Conn photo
On Saturday night, the once-powerful Tigers suffered their most lopsided loss in a series that dates back to 1892. They were shut out at home for the first time since 2003. They fell to 2-8 for the first time since 1952. They lost their ninth consecutive Southeastern Conference game and fell to 0-7 in the league this season. Georgia improved to 9-1 and 8-1 and clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.
Chizik, in his fourth season and just 22 months north of winning the national championship, is a coach under fire. It is widely expected that his tenure at Auburn will end after this season.
"I don't entertain those thoughts," Chizik said. "I have really one quest. We have two games left, and our seniors have done a lot for this university. I hurt for them."
The Tigers play Alabama A&M in their final home game next Saturday before closing the season with an ominous trip to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama.
Chizik said he talks to athletics director Jay Jacobs on a daily basis but does not have a lot of contact with university president Jay Gogue, who will ultimately decide his fate.
"I'm not going into any of the details of that," Chizik said. "Like I said, I have one goal and that is to come back to work tomorrow and work this week. I'm trying to get a win for these seniors."
It became very obvious very early Saturday that there would be no victory for Auburn on this day. Georgia scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and led 28-0 at the half.
Auburn had no answer for quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed 18-of-24 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall gashed Auburn's defense at will. Gurley ran 11 times for 116 yards and a touchdown, breaking a 49-yarder on
Georgia's first possession. Marshall ran eight times for 105 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown on a routine handoff on third-and-one.
Auburn's only two scoring threats came to untimely ends. An ill-fated attempt at a flanker pass took the Tigers out of field goal range on their first possession and wide receiver Emory Blake fumbled at the Georgia 11 in the third quarter.
Georgia coach Mark Richt pulled back hard in the second half. The Bulldogs played three quarterbacks and threw just one pass after halftime.
Freshman Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace completed 15-of-22 passes for 181 yards with one interception. Blake caught six passes for 104 yards. But the Tigers could sustain no running attack, gaining just 57 yards on 27 carries.
Georgia finished with 289 yards on the ground and 208 through the air for 497 yards.
Chizik insisted that he has not lost this team, despite the historic lows it has reached.
"Absolutely not," Chizik said. "I feel like, obviously, we didn't play well. But on the sideline during the game, kids are into the game and still being in there and being competitive, not dragging their heads and putting their heads down. I don't feel like that at all."