Auburn drops Dawgs - Notebook

AUBURN, Ala. -- Georgia's lone bright spot Saturday came in the form of 5-foot-8 freshman running back Thomas Brown.

In the first start of his career, Brown led the Bulldogs in rushing (92 yards) and receiving (49). He averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

"I thought he did very well," Coach Mark Richt said.

Thomas Brown was the only Georgia running back with a carry in the No. 8 Bulldogs' 24-6 loss to Auburn. Regular starter Danny Ware dressed out for the game but his sprained right ankle was too bad to allow him to play.

"I felt pretty good about how I performed, but it's a team sport," Brown said. "I'm not going to focus on what I did."

Despite Brown's total, the Bulldogs failed to rush for 100 yards overall for just the second time this season. They had 85 total yards on the ground after sack yardage was subtracted.

GOING BOWLING: Saturday's loss may have cemented a return trip to Orlando, Fla., for the Bulldogs this holiday season. Jim Shuler, a member of the Capital One Bowl's selection committee who attended the Auburn game, said his event would love to have Georgia, Tennessee, LSU or even Auburn, if disaster struck the Tigers.

"They're all wonderful teams," he said.

The Capital One Bowl gets the first pick of non-BCS SEC teams and has the highest, non-BCS payout ($5.25 million this year) of any of the bowls. The first criteria in its selection process is wins, Shuler said. If the Bulldogs, Volunteers and LSU win the remainder of their games, all three would finish the regular season 9-2. (LSU played Alabama late Saturday night.)

If two or more teams have the same amount of wins, the bowl's scouts then discuss each team's pros and cons in a closed-door meeting before making their pick, Shuler said. Tennessee beat Georgia head-to-head but is without its top two quarterbacks, and the Bulldogs beat LSU head-to-head.

"There are scenarios out there that make everything possible," Shuler said. "We've had good talks with all these teams."

Georgia beat Purdue 34-27 in last year's Capital One Bowl, but Shuler said his bowl has no problem taking a team two years in a row.

The Bulldogs were not completely eliminated from the SEC East race Saturday, but Tennessee must now lose to both Kentucky and Vanderbilt for Georgia to advance to the conference title game.

OFFENSIVE DUD: After averaging 508.5 yards in its last four games, Georgia's offense looked lost against the Tigers. The Bulldogs had 279 yards of offense and seemingly none of the big plays that powered them through the last month.

"When we didn't make any big plays, I knew we were in trouble," said wide receiver Fred Gibson, who dropped at least two passes and didn't have a catch for the first time since at least 2002.

Auburn took away Georgia's chances to make long plays down field by playing loose coverages and mixing up its looks well, Richt said.

"I probably should have taken some shots down the field," Richt said. "I never really did. They were ready to take away the deep ball with the way they lined up."

ANOTHER MILESTONE: Quarterback David Greene became the leading passer in Georgia history with his 159 yards against Auburn. He now has 11,174 for his career. He needs 28 more against Georgia Tech to to Peyton Manning and become the SEC's all-time leading passer.

NOT VERY SMART: Georgia didn't set a season-high in penalties, but the ones it had were big and bad. It started on the first drive of the game when Andy Bailey ended up with a 31-yard field goal rather than a 26-yard field goal due to a false start by tight end Leonard Pope. Bailey missed the field goal.

Early in the second quarter, David Pollack blocked a Tiger punt , but Tra Battle was called for a blatant personal foul for throwing down Auburn's Will Herring out of bounds. The penalty cost the Bulldogs 15 yards.

Later in the second quarter, the Bulldogs didn't have enough people on the line of scrimmage on a punt. That turned out to be a 16-yard penalty since the Tigers got the ball on Georgia's 38-yard line instead of their own 46 as they had on the previous kick. Auburn drove for a field goal.

In the second half, Arnold Harrison was called for a personal foul that gave the Tigers a first-and-goal on the 9-yard line.

Georgia, the third-most penalized team in the SEC entering the game, finished with eight penalties for 68 yards.

THIS AND THAT: The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 15-2 on an opponent's home field under Richt. ... Pollack's blocked punt in the second quarter was his second of the year and the third of his career. ... Former Bulldog Marcus Stroud was on the sideline Saturday.