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Teams of the week: Auburn treated No. 1 Georgia like its little brother

Here were your 10 most impressive teams from a wild Week 11.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn Montgomery Advertiser-USA TODAY Sports

The bloodlines cross pretty significantly in the Auburn-Georgia rivalry, within both the fan bases and football programs. Georgia coaching great Vince Dooley was an Auburn grad, Auburn coaching great Pat Dye was a Georgia grad, etc. These are similar programs with similar histories, and, predictably, the rivalry between them has been underrated and unpredictable.

The “big brother” and “little brother” designations flip back and forth from year to year, and it was easy to assume that Georgia, the No. 1 team in the CFP rankings, would assume the former designation on Saturday.

Instead, Auburn was the one climbing on top of the younger sibling, slapping him with his own hand, and saying, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.”

Team of the week: No. 10 Auburn (def. No. 1 Georgia, 40-17)

With Auburn’s previous performances against top-level defenses, I figured the Tigers would need to get aggressive and take some risks offensively to score enough points to beat Georgia. They had other ideas.

They elected to dominate Georgia’s run game and become the first team to make UGA quarterback Jake Fromm look like a freshman. Auburn’s own offense was, at first, a secondary concern.

Auburn leaned heavily on the run early. It was successful enough to create scoring opportunities, but this low-risk approach led to stalled drives and field goals.

In theory, this is bad. You don’t want to waste chances against such a good team. But Kevin Steele’s defense so controlled Georgia after a game-opening touchdown drive that field goals were more than enough. Auburn scored just one touchdown in its first seven drives but still led 16-7 at halftime. And after a muffed punt turned into a 23-yard touchdown drive early in the third quarter, the rout was on.

The final damage was impressive.

  • Yards: AU 488, UGA 230 (160 after the first drive)
  • Auburn running backs: 39 carries for 234 yards
  • Georgia running backs: 26 carries for 72 yards

Fromm completed his first three passes for 56 yards, but his final 29 pass attempts, including sacks, netted just 91 yards. With no run game to lean on, UGA was out of options.

The Dawgs also couldn’t stop hitting themselves. They fumbled twice. They committed seven penalties, six of which contributed to Auburn scoring drives. They got obliterated in the trenches.

This was a mission statement of sorts. Auburn entered needing to beat Georgia, then Alabama, then Georgia again to win the SEC. That sounded like just about the most difficult possible combination. It is still awfully hard, but nothing about Saturday’s winning recipe appeared particularly unsustainable.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn
Kerryon Johnson and bodyguard
Montgomery Advertiser-USA TODAY Sports

Other teams of the week

2. No. 7 Miami (def. No. 3 Notre Dame, 41-8)

Miami was an excellent team in September and a pretty lucky team in October. The Canes were lucky to get past 3-6 Florida State and 2-8 North Carolina, getting outgained but winning the turnover battle in both games. That’s not the best way to head into your biggest November in years.

At least, that’s what we thought. Mark Richt’s Hurricanes played their best game of the year in a 28-10 win over Virginia Tech last week, then topped themselves twice over on Saturday night, turning yardage and turnover advantages into a massive statement win over a previously awesome Notre Dame. Well done.

3. No. 5 Oklahoma (def. No. 6 TCU, 38-20)

The Sooners almost got overshadowed, but they also scored a huge top-10 win, and they also did it impressively. They hung 533 yards (7.8 per play) on a top-10 defense and scored on six of seven first-half possessions before going into ball-control mode and cruising. They’ve now taken down the two best non-Sooner teams in the conference in back-to-back weeks.

4. No. 13 Ohio State (def. No. 12 Michigan State, 48-3)

The Buckeyes’ 45-point win, which all but clinched the Big Ten East crown, was almost disturbing in its normalcy. They didn’t appear to do anything particularly out of character — they simply ran the ball really well, forced MSU behind schedule, and executed. Of course, the performance was disturbing in that it made last week’s blowout loss to Iowa all the more baffling.

5. No. 8 Wisconsin (def. No. 20 Iowa, 38-14)

Every week, Wisconsin seems to lose another key piece of the two-deep and take a couple of good shots from an opponent before calmly dismantling them. Last week, the Badgers spotted Indiana 10 before rolling, 45-17. This week, they trailed Iowa — the team that just humiliated Ohio State — by 7-3 after one quarter and led only 17-14 early in the third. Then they scored the last 21 points.

This is a really, really good football team.

6. Ohio (def. Toledo, 38-10)

Shout out to the Fightin’ Frank Soliches! The 73-year-old former Nebraska head coach has the best team of his 13-year tenure, and it trucked a very good Toledo on Wednesday night. After leading 10-7 at halftime, the Bobcats lit up the Rockets for touchdowns on each of their first four second-half drives, then played keep-away for the last five minutes. They outgained Toledo by more than 200 yards, and now they have a chance to clinch Solich’s fifth MAC East title with a Tuesday night MACtion win over Akron.

7. Stanford (def. No. 9 Washington, 30-22)

It’s been a strange year on The Farm. David Shaw’s Stanford Cardinal entered Friday night’s date with Washington at just 6-3 thanks to a blowout loss to USC and frustrating defeats at San Diego State and Washington State. But their upside is still quite high, and they reinforced that by controlling the ball and going on a 20-0 second-half run to hand the Huskies their second loss.

The win all but eliminated the Pac-12 from College Football Playoff contention, but Stanford doesn’t feel too bad. If the Cardinal beat Cal and Washington beats Washington State, Stanford will win the Pac-12 North.

8. Georgia Tech (def. No. 17 Virginia Tech, 28-22)

Beating a good Virginia Tech is impressive. Doing it while completing two passes is creative. Gaining 140 yards and scoring twice in those two completions gets you on the Teams of the Week list.

9. UAB (def. UTSA, 24-19)

America’s favorite zombie program did it again. Bill Clark’s Blazers are now 7-3 after taking down UTSA in the Alamodome. They kept the Roadrunners at arm’s length all game, leading 21-6 at halftime and keeping the lead at double digits until a late UTSA score with a minute left. Give Clark all of your coach-of-the-year votes.

10. Minnesota (def. Nebraska, 54-21)

Sure, beating Nebraska isn’t all that noteworthy any more. For that matter, neither is beating Nebraska to clinch a losing record for the Huskers — it’s happened twice in three years, after all. But beating Nebraska while rushing for 409 yards? Still impressive. According to College Football Reference’s play finder, since 2000, only three teams can top that: Wisconsin in 2014 (581 yards), Wisconsin 2012 (539), and Kansas State in 2002 (415).