AUBURN – As the clock moved into the final minute Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, things got rough on Pat Dye Field.
Inside the final minute of Auburn’s 49-31 victory over Georgia, a fracas broke out on the Georgia sideline. It was the culmination of a night that included late hits, unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, a chop block and plenty of trash talk.
Auburn’s Michael Goggans and Mike Blanc were ejected for allegedly throwing punches, which could force them to sit out the first half of the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26. Junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley, a Lombardi Award finalist, has been roundly criticized for hits on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday Auburn defensive players play hard but not intentionally dirty.
“That’s not what we do here,” Chizik said. “Everything we do here is with great effort. Are we going to make a mistake here and there with intensive effort? Yes. But I can assure you nothing is ever done intentionally to harm another player.”
Chizik said he had not heard the buzz about Fairley’s hits.
“I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it,” Chizik said. “I just know that’s not what is taught and that is not what is in our players’ hearts.”
Chizik said he will talk to the Southeastern Conference office Monday about the status of Goggans and Blanc.
“Certainly we know what happened last night,” Chizik said. “We are just going to reserve comments until we get some word on the status of what those guys will be.”
More from Chizik’s Sunday meeting with reporters:
On QB Cam Newton converting 10 third downs rushing
“He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards in SEC games. It’s everything, whether it’s third-down conversions, what he means in the red zone, what he does in the red zone. He’s just a big part of our offense. When the game is on the line, he wants the ball in his hands. If there is ever a situation where it is third-and-one, fourth-and-one, fourth-and-two, end of the game, end of the half, he wants the ball in his hands because he’s so competitive.”
On Newton’s passing against Georgia and throughout the season
“He made some really incredible throws. The one he threw to Philip Lutzenkirchen in the end zone was right between two people. It would be hard to throw it anywhere else without getting it intercepted or at least knocked down. He’s made several of those throws this year. He has a knack. He has a very unique ability to see something, have a quick release when he needs to have a quick release and stick the ball in places that are really small.”
On plans for bye week
“With the Iron Bowl coming up in two weeks, we have an extremely tough task at hand. This week it is going to be imperative we practice the right amount, rest the right amount and be sure we do the right things to get ready for a very tough game in Tuscaloosa.
“We are going to go back and look at the last month of football, kind of self-examine and see where we can get better as a football team.”
On early struggles on defense against Georgia
“I think you have to look at all the factors. Georgia is an explosive offense. (A.J.) Green is one of the best receivers in the country. The quarterback (Aaron Murray) is on. We knew they were going to make plays. We knew that was going to happen. We knew we had to stop the run first. We had to get the big plays under control. We didn’t do that early. We got a little bit better as time went along. We contained them at some points in the game well.”
On emergence of running back Onterio McCalebb
“He’s so valuable to us in terms of perimeter run game. We feel good about giving him the ball that much. It just seems like every game he’s broken a big run here and there. I just think him being able to be a threat on the perimeter, and then the inside runs with our tailbacks and quarterbacks, it poses some dilemmas for you.”
On playing South Carolina, a 36-14 winner at Florida on Saturday, in the SEC Championship Game
“South Carolina is a great football team. Last night they played really, really well with a lot of passion and a lot of intensity. They went in there to win that game. There was no question about that.”