The No 13 Auburn Tigers face another tough test on Saturday as they host the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Score 24 points
This is going to be a defensive battle. A classic, old-school SEC football game. The Bulldogs allow the second fewest points per game in the country – 9.2 per contest – with only Ohio State allowing their opponents to score fewer points. The Bulldogs are also coming off of their third game this season where they have shut out their opposition after beating Mizzou 27-0.
The Tigers allow the 11th fewest points per game in the nation at just 17.4 points. This is especially impressive as they have already played both Oregon and LSU, two teams that are among the most prolific offenses in the country. The 24-points projection is more of a feeling than a hard fact, but it is hard to see the Tigers losing if they hit that number.
Win the battle in the trenches
The battle between the Georgia offensive line and the Auburn defensive line is going to be worth the price of admission on its own. The Bulldogs have the best offensive line in the country – a line that has finally come together to be the sun of its parts over the last month – while the Tigers have a defensive line that is in the argument as the best in the nation.
Neither unit will win on every snap, but it is imperative that the Auburn defensive line is able to get into the backfield and make plays. Georgia passer Jake Fromm is far from the most mobile QB in the league and he is at his best with time in the pocket to progress through his reads. Getting from out of his comfort zone will be huge here.
Stop the Georgia running game
Georgia rushed for 303 yards against Auburn last season as D’Andre Swift and the rest of that backfield churned out big play after big play on the Tigers. This year the Auburn run stopping game is a different prospect as the Tigers allow only 113 yards per game on the ground, a number that sits just outside the top 20 nationally in that category. Derrick Brown anchors that unit and he knows that stopping a team that is dedicated to the ground game will be huge here.