The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry gets renewed this weekend when the no. 2 Georgia Bulldogs visit the no. 18 Auburn Tigers. The Dawgs have won seven of the last eight meetings in this rivalry and have dominated Auburn for much of the 21st century. Fittingly, Georgia is a 15.5-point favorite this weekend, with the over/under set at just 47 points.
While they’re only ranked no. 2 in the polls, one could argue that Georgia has been the most impressive team in the country this year. The Dawgs have kept back-to-back shutouts, including an emphatic 37-0 win over a top-10 Arkansas team last week. In fact, with their win over Clemson in the season opener, Georgia already has two wins this year over ranked teams.
As for the Tigers, they’ve been able to bounce back from a road loss at Penn State by beating Georgia State and LSU in back-to-back weeks. On paper, Auburn is 4-1 and ranked in the top-20. However, the Tigers have had to come from behind in their last two weeks and have had some ups and downs.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix will likely be the deciding factor in this game for the Tigers. He’s shown that he has the moxie to make big plays with the game on the line, although he remains frustratingly inconsistent, completing less than 60% of his passes this season while averaging just 6.7 yards per pass. The good news is that Auburn is one of the best rushing teams in the country behind Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby.
Defensively, the Tigers have been able to clamp down after falling behind the last two weeks, allowing Nix and the offense to come back. Auburn has done a great job of stopping the run this season, which is something that must continue against Georgia. They’ve also amassed 15 sacks in five games despite forcing a mediocre five turnovers in those five games.
In all likelihood, Georgia will be without starting quarterback JT Daniels this week. Stetson Bennett played in place of the injured Daniels last week and more than held his own. Meanwhile, the Georgia running game has been solid but unspectacular, averaging a modest 4.8 yards per carry despite gaining nearly 200 yards per game.
Of course, the Georgia defense has been nothing short of spectacular. Through five games, the Dawgs have allowed a total of 23 points, including dominant performances against the likes of Clemson and Arkansas. Georgia’s linebackers have excelled at getting after the quarterback, with the Bulldogs already amassing 18 sacks in five games.
Party on the Planes
While Georgia has been dominant this season, Auburn matches up well with the Bulldogs, especially if Georgia has to play without Daniels. The Tigers can slow down the run, forcing Bennett to beat them through the air while also challenging Georgia’s run defense with Hunter and Bigsby.
Obviously, Nix remains the wild card, but at home, the Tigers should be able to beat the 15.5-point spread and stay within striking distance of Georgia.