It’s time for the South’s Oldest Rivalry, and it should be one to remember.
Georgia is finally back home to host the 8th ranked Auburn Tigers, according to ESPN’s AP Poll. A win here would clinch a bowl game for the Dawgs and give them a much-needed confidence boost; a boost that the Dawgs desperately need to close the season on a high. However, for the Dawgs to come out with a W, here are five things that have to happen.
1: Keep Eason Cool, Calm, and Collected:
Jacob Eason has done well this season and is growing with each game. However, there are times where he’s gets rattled. Granted it wasn’t always his fault, but this is something that must not happen with Auburn. He must go into the match-up and play as if it’s a two-minute drill the entire game.
There have been three different occasions that Eason has taken the offense down the field at the end of the game and put Georgia in play. He did this during the Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky game. He is 2-for-3 on those games, regarding winning. Eason has shown he is clutch and he needs to be clutch the entire time against Auburn. If Eason can stay cool, calm and collected against this efficient Auburn defense, then the Dawgs will win.
2: Keep Chaney Upstairs and No More Offensive Stalling:
Last week, coach Jim Chaney decided to call the game from upstairs in the box. The offense seemed to run much smoother.
However, time after time, it appears that the offense would gain momentum and then stall out. “Stalling out” cannot happen against Auburn. The Tigers will take advantage of a stalling offense and gain momentum, feeding off of the struggles. Chaney must keep the momentum going and not slow down. Pedal to the metal. He needs to implement new plays, trick plays, and anything to keep Auburn on their toes.
Chaney must utilize the run like he did against Kentucky, but also use the passing game to his advantage. He needs to use true freshmen, Issac Nauta as well. Nauta has been a silent force all season long.
Coach Chaney needs to have a balanced offensive game. Nick Chubb needs to have his best game of the season as does Sony Michel. However, the Tigers know that Georgia wants to run, and if it is one thing that Auburn does well on defense, it is stopping the run; so, Chaney must implement a simple pass game and let Jacob Eason have a memorable game as well.
3: Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship Stays Hot:
After a career high game against Kentucky and instant celebrity status, Rodrigo Blankenship needs to continue his hot streak. He has made nine consecutive field goals since his first kick that he missed in the Ole Miss game.
Georgia is going up against the SEC’s best kicker, Daniel Carson. So the “Hot Rod” needs to stay on his ‘A’ game and be ready at all times. This game could very well go to the wire, and he could be in the position to kick another game winner. So “Hot Rod” must keep his veins cold and keep doing his thing.
4: Stop the Auburn Run Game:
The defense must play their best game of the season. Auburn has three talented backs they will utilize every chance they get. The Tigers have the only running back in the SEC who has over 1,000 rushing yards, Kamryn Pettway. He is a sophomore that has been hot lately. The last four games, he rushed for over a 150 yards each. However, he’s banged up with a “mystery” injury he suffered last weekend versus Vanderbilt, but I would expect him to play against the Dawgs. The other two backs are Kerryon Johnson and Stanton Tuitt, who are just as talented as Pettway.
This Auburn offense has a veteran line, which benefits them to run the ball as well. Georgia’s rushing defense needs to step up. They must shut down Pettway and contain the other two. The defense has to put Auburn’s offense into obvious passing downs, especially on third down, and then get off the field on those 3rd down plays. If they hold Pettway under 100 yards, Georgia will win the game.
5: Dawg’s Defense Must win Turnover Margin:
The Georgia defense must cause turnovers. When they win the turnover margin, the team has won. The only exceptions are North Carolina, Nichols State, and Kentucky. The Dawgs have caused a total of 18 turnovers this season, and according to ESPN, rank No. 5 in turnovers in the SEC. Auburn has only caused 12 turnovers and ranks 13th in the SEC. The Dawgs must create more turnovers and keep the Auburn offense off the field. If they can keep stay on the positive side of the turnover margin, then Georgia can win.
To Sum It Up:
There are about five things that Georgia must do in the match-up against Auburn if they want to contend. If they want to win, they must do these five things and then some. Georgia has to have their game of the year against this strong Auburn team. There’s an upset brewing in the air and the Dawgs are behind it.
Georgia defeats No. 8 Auburn in Athens on Saturday, 38-28.