It’s the 127th renewal of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, as Georgia hosts the Auburn Tigers Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
The reigning national champion Bulldogs are coming off a thrilling 26-22 come-from-behind victory over Missouri in Columbia, which improved Georgia to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play. The Tigers were hungry for an upset and led until the closing minutes. Georgia trailed 13-0 in the first half, 16-6 at intermission and 22-12 in the fourth quarter. But the Bulldogs scored two fourth quarter touchdowns and then ran out the clock to avoid what would have been college football’s biggest upset of the season.
Auburn lost to LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium, as the Bengal Tigers from Baton Rouge came back from a 14-0 deficit. The week prior, Auburn edged Mizzou 17-14 in overtime on the Plains. Heading to Athens with a record of 3-2 and 1-1 in the SEC, underdog Auburn aims for the upset in Athens.
These two schools got it all started in the deep south in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in 1892. In the years, decades and centuries to follow, the ancient foes have squared off in a slew of classic gridiron battles that have epitomized the glory, pageantry and heartbreak of SEC football.
For decades, this rivalry has been filled with underdog victories and road team triumphs. Auburn would love to conjure up those echos. Since 2006 though, Georgia has gotten the better of Auburn, with the Bulldogs winning 14 of the last 17 meetings with the Tigers.
For the Dogs to continue that success against the Tigers and reach the midpoint of the regular season with an unblemished record, there are some areas where Georgia must improve to get back to peak performance. Over the last two weeks, in a 39-22 victory over Kent State and the four-point win at Mizzou, Georgia turned the football over a total of five times. The Bulldogs are minus – four in turnover differential in the last two games. Georgia had no turnovers in the first three games of the campaign, victories over Oregon, Samford and South Carolina by a combined score of 130-10.
Red Zone productivity is another area where Georgia is striving for better production – as in score more touchdowns. Georgia’s first four scores in CoMo were field goals. But, the Bulldogs were two for their last two in Columbia, with those fourth quarter TDs making the difference.
In this era of “what have you done for me (not lately, but) today,” in the SEC, where the wins are so hard to come by, every victory is so precious. And every player for these old foes will try and make their mark and slice of history in one of college football’s best rivalries.