AUBURN, Ala. — So much for those neighborly Georgia-Auburn get-togethers.
The rivalry billed as the oldest in the Deep South got nasty last year with 10 personal foul penalties, two suspensions of Auburn players for throwing punches and a couple of injury-causing hits on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
This is supposed to be the kinder, gentler version of Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-Florida.
"Yeah, everyone kind of thought it was a friendlier rivalry up until last year when it got a little more heated toward the end," Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said. "We know that they remember that from last year and we remember them kind of coming after us toward the end. So I think it's going to be another physical
That's true of just about any Southeastern Conference game, and certainly any time Auburn and Georgia meet up.
Having the game get as testy as the last one is less common.
Auburn (6-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) was trying to stay alive in the national championship hunt, quarterback Cam Newton was embroiled in a recruiting scandal and ferocious defensive tackle Nick Fairley was busy stirring up trouble.
Fairley was called for a late hit on Murray when he appeared to come in, illegally, helmet-first. Murray sustained a bruised sternum.
Later, tempers really flared when Fairley hit Murray low on a clean play, knocking the quarterback from the game with a bruised knee. A resulting scuffle led fellow Auburn defensive linemen Mike Blanc and Michael Goggans to draw suspensions for the first half of the Alabama game for throwing punches.
All three of those linemen are gone. Do the hard feelings remain? Depends on who you ask.
"No, it's two completely different football teams," Murray said. "That was last year. A bunch of guys graduated on our team, a bunch of guys graduated on their team. We're not talking about that at all. We're focused on winning this game and continue to set us up for chance to get back to Atlanta (to play for the SEC championship)."