Bulldawg Illustrated intern Savannah Richardson, a senior in the Grady College of Journalism at UGA, takes a look at Saturday’s Georgia vs. Auburn game. Here are her ‘Dawg Bones.’
OFFENSE DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia barely receives the offense bone for two reasons, its rush attack and Jake Fromm’s leadership ability. Auburn almost won the Dawg Bone because the team ranks higher in every offensive category except rushing. The Bulldogs rank No.1 in rush offense as they average 279.33 a game. Nick Chubb is 13 yards away from beating Bo Jackson’s career rushing yards, so look for him and Sony Michel to show out this weekend.
The deciding factor will be if Fromm can continue to show that he is wise beyond his years. He doesn’t play like a true freshman, and I believe this is one of the reasons Georgia is undefeated. Fromm makes quick decisions and shows SEC opponents he isn’t afraid of them. However, Fromm must continue to throw the ball. Georgia ranks last in the SEC in passing offense, averaging 166.3 yards a game. Like I said before, if the Bulldogs want to go undefeated into Atlanta, they must utilize the passing game.
DEFENSE DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia’s held six of its opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs rank No. 2 in rushing defense as they allow just 89 yards a game. Auburn averages 36.9 points a game, so if Georgia wants to keep its No. 2 ranking in scoring defense, it must stop the Tigers strong passing offense. However, for the first time in four games, the Bulldogs will finally be back to full capacity. Natrez Patrick returns this week after serving a 4-game suspension and will give Georgia another weapon.
Despite being ranked the No. 2 pass defense in the SEC, Georgia continues to struggle against the pass. The secondary is the Bulldogs weak position. If Georgia wants to hold onto the Dawg Bone, Mel Tucker must challenge his secondary to be bigger than they are. Georgia may have eight interceptions on the season, but the defensive backs need to step up this week and shut down Auburn’s high-powered pass attack.
SPECIAL TEAMS DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Rodrigo Blankenship and Cameron Nizialek continue to standout each week. Blankenship’s leg gets stronger each week as he continues to get closer to Kevin Butler’s record. He’s at 44 touchbacks this season and only needs eight more to beat Butler. Nizialek’s leg has become more consistent throughout the season, as he averages 44.30 yards a kick. Both get the Dawg Bone because they show how important field position is each week.
COACHING DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Kirby Smart clinched the SEC East title last week in his second season as head coach. However, I don’t think that is good enough for him. I believe he wants this team to finish undefeated in the SEC and regular season play. He’s gotten this group to buy into the process. Georgia hasn’t controlled its destiny in a long time, but it does now. Smart’s ability to keep his team humble is why they are No. 1 in the College Football Playoff Ranking and undefeated.
OVERALL DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia heads to the Plains to face its toughest opponent since Notre Dame. However, with the heart this team possesses, I don’t see them losing. The Bulldogs improve to 10-0 on the season after they make the Tigers quit at home.