Tigers to Watch: Georgia vs. Auburn

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Tigers to Watch: Georgia vs. Auburn

Photo: Derrick Brown (5), University of Auburn Athletics
Photo: Derrick Brown (5), University of Auburn Athletics

DERRICK BROWN (DT, #5)

One of the Tigers’ two pillars of granite on the defensive line, this 6-5, 318-pound senior out of Lanier High in Sugar Hill, Georgia ranks right at the top of the nation’s best D-linemen. Named Second-Team All-SEC in 2018 after recording 10.5 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks, Brown enters the Georgia game Saturday with 37 tackles this season along with 8 tackles-for-loss, 4 sacks and two fumble recoveries, one of which he carried some 53 yards against Florida. Brown has been named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times this fall, his latest honor coming from his performance against Ole Miss two weekends ago. Named to the preseason Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy watch lists, Brown will surely be the best defensive tackle Georgia has faced this season; thus, the mammoth challenge awaiting the Bulldogs’ offensive front on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Photo: Marlon Davidson (3), University of Auburn Athletics
Photo: Marlon Davidson (3), University of Auburn Athletics

MARLON DAVIDSON (DE, #3)

Brown’s buddy on Auburn’s defensive front is also an offense wrecker. The 6-3, 278-pound Davidson has matched Brown this season by also capturing three SEC Defensive Linemen of the Week honors. A three-year starter at defensive end, the senior has recorded 34 tackles this year, with 9 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Davidson was also on the preseason Nagurski Trophy watch list after notching 46 tackles in 2018, with 4.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, and 11 quarterback hurries. If Brown and Davidson aren’t controlled, it could be a tough day for the Georgia offense on the plains Saturday afternoon.

 Photo: Jatarvious Whitlow (28), University of Auburn Athletics
Photo: Jatarvious Whitlow (28), University of Auburn Athletics

JATARVIOUS WHITLOW (RB, #28)

The Tigers’ leading rusher for the second straight year, this 6-0, 210-pound sophomore has run for 553 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, In 2018 Whitlow rumbled for 787 yards and six touchdowns. Whitlow has the quickness and power to complement Auburn’s freshman quarterback, Bo Nix, and the stingy Bulldogs’ defensive unit will need to be sure tackling when Nix gives the ball to No. 28 on Saturday.

Photo: Bo Nix (10), University of Auburn Athletics
Photo: Bo Nix (10), University of Auburn Athletics

BO NIX (QB, #10)

A true freshman starter at the team’s most important position, Nix has experienced an up-and-down first year at Auburn. Still, the 6-2, 207-pound quarterback has led Gus Malzahn’s Tigers to a 7-2 record thus far, including a 4-2 ledger in SEC counters. He has passed for 1,798 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 56.5 percent of his attempts. In the season-opening 27-21 win over No. 11 Oregon at Arlington, Texas, Nix threw a 26-yard strike to leading receiver Seth Williams for the winning touchdown with just nine seconds to play. Nix can also run out of the pocket for good gains and has 214 net rushing yards and five touchdowns this fall.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.