After a 1-2 start to the season, with a 19-13 loss to Clemson and a tough one to Texas A&M, the Auburn Tigers were in a “loser leave town” match with fellow Tiger Southeastern Conference traditional power LSU. In a controversial and thrilling finish, Auburn edged the Bayou Bengals 18-13 as a last second LSU touchdown was nullified. Les Miles was fired in Baton Rouge. Auburn hasn’t lost since. At the top of their hit list is Arkansas. Auburn rolled the Razorbacks 56-3 in one of the most impressive wins by any team in the country this season. The Tigers edged Vanderbilt 23-16 this past weekend to make it 7-2, and they are hungry coming to Athens.
Georgia has won eight of the last ten meetings between the two, and the Bulldogs now lead the deep south’s oldest rivalry 56-55-8. The two years that Auburn won, the Tigers went on to play for the national title, capturing the crown in 2010. The Bulldogs are coming off a last second 27-24 win at Kentucky, with Rodrigo Blankenship hitting the game winning field goal to cap off an outstanding drive following a game-tying Wildcats kick.
After a couple of heart-breaking losses at home and the disappointment of Jacksonville, the Dogs were in dire need of a win and got it. Sony Michel led the Georgia running attack, Isaiah Wynn stood out on the offensive line, and Jacob Eason connected with several receivers on big plays to help deliver the triumph in Lexington. A big stand with the 24-21 lead to hold Kentucky to three was essential.
As for the Georgia special teams, Blankenship was the star, both on his four for four field goal kicking and fine performance with kickoffs. There were still miscues, including one of those dreaded special teams disasters, a fumbled punt which led to a first half Kentucky touchdown.
All three phases must be clicking for the Bulldogs to pull off the upset. Through the years, these two have locked up in Titanic clashes full of thrills and upsets, with championships clinched and lost. The sense of familiarity with so many recruiting battles between these two, with most every player on both rosters heavily sought after by both, simply add to the intrigue.