Auburn Football: Tigers vs Georgia Game Day Prediction


Simply put, the most recent edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry was one of the greatest games in the history of the series, if not in college football. It was the greatest game of the 2013 season… for two weeks… and the Prayer at Jordan-Hare will live on as one of the greatest plays in Auburn football history.

But that was last year.

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This season, Auburn comes in 7-2 overall, 4-2 in the SEC, and ranked ninth by the College Football Playoff committee. Similarly, Georgia is 7-2, 5-2 and No. 15. The two teams will meet in Athens with SEC title hopes on the line, and even an outside shot at a playoff spot. Both teams will need a lot of help to make it to Atlanta and beyond, but one thing is certain: the team that loses is out and the winner is still alive.

The Tigers bring one of the nation’s best offenses in terms of total yards and rushing yards per game. Georgia is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation and the Bulldogs also possess a top-notch rushing attack.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has played very well in recent weeks. He has completed 42 of 57 passes (73.7%) across  the team’s last three games for 612 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Over that same span, Marshall has gained 206 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. With 113 yards today against Georgia, he’ll become the leading rushing quarterback in Auburn football history. And, he’d certainly love to break that record against his former team.

Marshall will be missing a major weapon, however. Leading receiver Duke Williams did not make the trip to Athens because of the sprained MCL he suffered last week against Texas A&M. That means Sammie Coates, Quan Bray, C.J. Uzomah and last year’s hero Ricardo Louis will need to step up in the passing game.

Of course, the Auburn offense does have the SEC’s leading rusher at their disposal. Cameron Artis-Payne has 1,190 yards and nine touchdowns on 208 carries this season. He set a career-record with 221 rushing yards last week and has improved throughout the season. The offensive line has also improved and has opened running lanes for Artis-Payne and company.

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  • However, Georgia has Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, who are two of the best in the SEC, and both are likely to surpass 1,000 yards this season as well. Gurley hasn’t played in over a month, but running back is the least mentally demanding position and he’s been practicing throughout the suspension, so Gurley is likely to be full speed today.

    How will the Auburn football team stop Gurley and Chubb today? Expect Ellis Johnson to stack the line of scrimmage with big bodies and play a lot of man-to-man on the outside to force Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason to try and beat them. Mason is a quality quarterback. He has a strong command of the Bulldogs’ offense as a fifth-year senior and he’s got plenty of weapons to throw to. However, Mason doesn’t have a huge arm and the Tigers can make plays in the secondary against Georgia’s wide receivers, especially if Auburn can get pressure on the quarterback to rush his throws.

    And that’s the big if. The pass rush has been an issue all season for the Tigers. An inability to get to the QB has given opposing quarterbacks too much time to find an open receiver. Of course, in the last four games, there have been way too many wide open receivers. Whatever route the Auburn defensive coach staff takes, the Tigers must get off to a better start than they have recently.

    Because of the strength of both offenses, and the weak links on each defense, many see this as a high scoring game. But, there is NFL talent on both defenses as well. Georgia has one of the nation’s best linebacker corps, and the Bulldogs regularly send star defensive linemen to The League. But, much like the Tigers, Georgia is far from perfect.

    The temperature at kickoff is expected to be around 40 degrees and will fall another ten degrees by the end of the game, which could help the defenses. And more often than not, the Auburn defense steps up to make a big play at the end of the game. It could happen again today.

    Auburn 31, Georgia 30

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