Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs are coming off a big win against the Kentucky Wildcats and will have to stop Auburn’s running game if they hope to make it two in a row.
With the SEC’s leading rush offense in the categories of yards and touchdowns, the Auburn Tigers are one of the most efficient running teams in the country. The Bulldogs ability to slow down this dynamic of the Tigers’ offense will play a huge role in what team leaves Athens with a victory.
Kirby Smart understands the tall task that is ahead of him, but this task may have gotten a bit easier if the Tigers’ leading rusher, Kamryn Pettway, who pulled a muscle during a long run against Vanderbilt, is unable to go against the Bulldogs. Pettway has totaled 1106 yards rushing this season with 7 touchdowns and he is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. His absence definitely weakens the Auburn offense, but his backup, Kerryon Johnson, is not too shabby himself, as he has totaled 616 yards rushing with 9 touchdowns and an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
Regardless of the availability of Pettway, Smart’s defense will have a tough time in stopping the rushing attack but better tackling and having good eye discipline will be key for his team.
We have to prepare either way. My number one thing we gotta do is worry about us. We got to tackle and they got good people to tackle whether it’s him or somebody else. We’ve got to tackle better and strike blockers and play blocks better because they are really good at running the ball
Smart is definitely right about the Tigers being really good at running the ball but their pass offense has been subpar this season and could be exploited by the Bulldogs defense. The Tigers have one of the SEC’s worse passing offenses and in the areas of passing yards and touchdowns, which they rank 11th in the SEC. If the Bulldogs can force them to make plays through the air, then an upset in Athens seems very likely.