It was a great year for Auburn football back in 2004.
The Tigers were loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and finished an unblemished season SEC champions. Two games from that year have already made my list, but there’s one more I couldn’t leave off.
The Georgia Bulldogs came to Jordan-Hare Stadium on a mild November evening with only one loss and a No. 5 ranking. The Dawgs had ripped Auburn’s heart out on their previous visit in 2002 with a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minutes to steal a victory and upend the Tigers SEC title hopes.
The 2004 game was one of the most highly anticipated in the Loveliest Village perhaps ever. It was the first top-five matchup on campus since 1990 when No. 5 Tennessee and No. 3 Auburn tied 26-26.
This game didn’t end in a draw and there also wasn’t any last-second dramatic finish. Instead, this game would be dominated by the Tigers.
There was an electricity in the air that day hours before kickoff, the likes of which I have experienced only a handful of times before. I don’t exactly know how to explain it. It was just special.
For all intents and purposes, the game was a blowout and under normal circumstances that generally wouldn’t be considered a great game. However, Georgia was not overrated. The Bulldogs were a really, really good team. Auburn was just that much better. That’s what makes this game so great.
The Tigers rose to the occasion and put on as good a performance as I had ever seen in that stadium up to that point. Georgia took the opening kick 61 yards in 11 plays down to the Auburn 19-yard line and missed a 36-yard field goal. It then spent the majority of the rest of the game on its own side of the field.
The Tigers took their opening drive 80 yards on eight plays and Cadillac Williams found the end zone to go up 7-0. Auburn scored again in the second quarter on another 80-yard drive. This time Williams threw a touchdown pass to Anthony Mix to earn a 14-0 advantage.
John Vaughn added a field goal and the Tigers went into the locker room up 17-0.
Much like the SEC title game, Auburn had chances to blow the game wide open but squandered opportunities. It took the second half kick and drove down to the Georgia 9-yard line, but Jason Campbell threw an interception in the end zone.
Also like the SEC title game, the Tigers were in complete control of the game even though the score could have been more lopsided.
Georgia had some chances early, but Auburn always had the answer. David Pollock blocked a punt early in the second quarter, but David Greene was intercepted by Carlos Rogers three plays later. The Campbell interception gave the Bulldogs life and they drove to the Auburn 33-yard line. Greene hit Reggie Brown across the middle and AU safety Junior Rosegreen unloaded on him. It knocked Brown out and he fumbled. They would put Rosegreen under the jail for a hit like that today, but back then it was business as usual.
Auburn tacked on another touchdown early in the fourth to go up, 24-0. Georgia scored a meaningless touchdown late to avoid a shut out, but the damage was done.
This game was quite possibly the most dominant performance on both sides of the ball against the highest quality opponent I’ve ever seen in Jordan Hare Stadium.