1 – Be More Physical – This is always amongst the most intense, hard-hitting games on the Southeastern Conference schedule. There is a lot of familiarity and hot blood between the two. Auburn has always been Georgia’s biggest recruiting rival and foe. And through the years, the number of hard-hitting classics between the Bulldogs and Tigers rivals any. Not that this is unique to Georgia and Auburn, but winning the physicality battle usually determines who comes out on top in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry.
2 – Corral the Big Kat –Speaking of recruiting battles … this is one that went Auburn’s way. Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant is a native of Cordele, Georgia and was a standout at Crisp County High School. He decided on Auburn and with Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson both now in the National Football League, he is the leader on the defensive front. Georgia has a new-look offensive line, and Bryant could prove to be one of the toughest challenges of the season. Sacks, strip sacks, forced interceptions, forced holding penalties, those are the types of game-changing plays he can make.
3 – First Downs –Against the fast and physical Auburn defense, it’s not realistic to think Georgia – or really anyone else – would just go up and down the field against the Tigers. But avoiding those three-and-outs is critical. If Georgia can average two or more first downs per possession, that should tilt the field position and “hidden yardage” battles in the Bulldogs favor. Jake Camarda had a tremendous game punting on the Plains a year ago. He and the defense will again be critical to victory.
4 – Consistently Pressure Nix–It didn’t take long for Bo Nix, a tried and true Auburn legacy following in the footsteps of his father, former Tigers quarterback Patrick Nix, to etch his name into Orange and Blue lore. He threw the game-winner in his first contest for Auburn against Oregon last season and went on to have a fine freshman year. He’s the key to Gus Malzahn’s fast-paced offense. When Auburn gets the offense cooking, even the best of defenses are in trouble. Nix was outstanding in Auburn’s 48-45 win over Alabama last year and the confidence is high in the sophomore. Georgia mustn’t let him be comfortable for long stretches.
5 – How About a N.O.T. –It might take one of those Non Offensive Touchdowns for Georgia to come out on top between the hedges. A “pick six,” a fumble return for a touchdown, something in the kicking game, this is the type of jolt that could push the Bulldogs over the top. The defense was great last season, and the goals are even more this year. More short fields, more defensive scores, that’s at the top of the list. You can bet Kirby Smart would like to see some more threats in the return game, with NO turnovers! Gotta win all three phases to take down Auburn.