NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn

Georgia's Jalen Carter (88) tackles Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. The Bulldogs, led by a stingy defense, is the new No. 1 team in the country.

For the first time since 2008, Georgia is the top team in the country, according to the AP Top 25 Poll. It's the first time since 1982 the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 during the season after they were ranked in the top spot in the preseason poll in 2008.

Georgia rose to the top spot after the previous No. 1 team, Alabama fell to Texas A&M 41-38 with a last-second field goal. The Bulldogs started the 2021 season ranked No. 5 in the country but has gone 6-0 to take the top spot in the nation.

Last time the Bulldogs were No. 1 ahead of the 2008 season, they went 10-3 with losses from Florida, Alabama and Georgia Tech and defeated Michigan State in the 2009 Capital One Bowl. In 1982, Georgia lost to No. 2 Penn State to clinch a national championship for the Nittany Lions.

In 2021, Georgia has been led by its defensive performance, which ranks as the top defensive unit in the country. The Bulldogs have allowed an average of 201.2 yards per game, the best in the nation ahead of Wisconsin, which has allowed an average of 217.8 yards per game. Georgia is also the top team in scoring defense, allowing an average of 5.50 points per game.

On offense, Georgia has scored an average of 39.8 points per game, ranking 12th in the country. The Bulldogs have done this with the combined play of JT Daniels and Stetson Bennett at quarterback. Daniels has appeared in three games this season while Bennett has played in five games.

The Bulldogs started their season against then-No. 3 Clemson, and took down the Tigers 10-3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to move up to No. 2 ahead of UAB. In its 2021 home opener, Georgia ran away with a 56-7 win in Week 2.

In its first conference game of the season, Georgia defeated SEC East opponent South Carolina 40-13 to start its eight-game conference schedule. The Bulldogs followed up its win over the Gamecocks with a 62-0 win over fellow SEC East opponent Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

Georgia returned to Sanford Stadium to play another top-10 team when it hosted then-No. 8 Arkansas. The Bulldogs’ defense kept the Razorbacks’ offense out of the end zone for a 37-0 win. It was the first time since 1980 that Georgia shut out two consecutive SEC East opponents.

The Bulldogs played their SEC West rival Auburn in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in Jordan-Hare Stadium and defeated then-No. 18 Auburn 34-10.

In its next SEC contest, Georgia will host No. 11 Kentucky in a battle between the only two undefeated teams remaining in the conference. The Wildcats are coming off a 42-21 win over LSU and a 20-13 win against Florida. It was the first time Kentucky defeated Florida at home since 1986.


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