It’s a huge showdown for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, as Georgia and Auburn square off between the hedges. The Bulldogs are coming off a 34-17 win over Kentucky that clinched the Southeastern Conference’s East Division title and a berth in Atlanta for the league’s title tilt. On the heels of a 36-17 win over Florida, the Dogs are riding high at 8-1 and 6-1 in the SEC.
But now it’s that ancient foe that, like Georgia, is playing very well.
Following a two-game losing streak to Mississippi State and Tennessee, the Tigers have posted a pair of impressive Ole Miss and Texas A&M wins. This past Saturday’s rally against the Aggies was the high point of the season thus far for Auburn. Texas A&M led 24-14 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers came roaring back and will aim now to derail Georgia’s College Football Playoff dreams. For a team that started the year in the top-10 and beat defending PAC-12 champion Washington in Atlanta to open the season, the Tigers were disappointed to find themselves 4-3 following those aforementioned successive losses. But these last two wins have put Auburn back in the position to have a fine year, and the Tigers would love nothing better than to beat the Dogs and then Alabama a couple of weeks later.
One of the big tests will be Georgia’s running game against a stingy Auburn front. Despite a rash of injuries on the offensive line, the Bulldogs rushing attack went for over 300 yards against Kentucky, highlighted by D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield, who both cracked the century mark in Lexington, with 156 and 115, respectively. Meanwhile, Georgia’s run defense answered the bell against All-SEC Wildcats running back Benny Snell, holding him to 73 yards on 20 carries, and out rushing Kentucky by a whopping count of 331-84.
Last season, the Tigers rolled past then No. 1 ranked Georgia 40-17 on the Plains. There would be a rematch in the SEC Championship Game, and the Bulldogs responded with a resounding 28-7 victory to capture the conference crown.
Georgia has now won 10 of the last 13 meetings between these two and five in a row over Auburn between the hedges since the heartbreaking 31-30 loss in 2005, starting the Athens streak with the 2007 Blackout victory.
Though Georgia’s berth in Atlanta has already been clinched, there is so much more on the line. And it begins with the 123rd meeting of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, a series the Dogs lead 58-56-8.