Top the Tigers, Pluck the War Eagles, Pound the Plainsmen – ET’s Auburn Preview

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Top the Tigers, Pluck the War Eagles, Pound the Plainsmen – ET’s Auburn Preview

The essence of football
(Photo by John Kelley)
[su_spacer size=”20″] It’s time for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. It’s 55-55-8. It’s a border war between the Peach State and L.A. It’s one of the most underrated rivalries in all of college football. It’s Dawgs and Tigers for the 119th time in Greater Phenix City otherwise known as Auburn. Let’s get to the preview.
[su_spacer size=”40″] When Georgia Has the Ball

The Dawgs want to be able to run the ball, control the line of scrimmage, and manage time of possession. After a good deal of success with the Wild Dawg last week against Kentucky, I expect Schottenheimer to build on that with Terry Godwin and Sony Michel. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dawgs take a shot down the field with Godwin to see if we can catch the Auburn secondary looking into the backfield while in the Wild Dawg. While Godwin at QB may be something to look for, the success of the Georgia offense depends on the ability of the offensive line to create running lanes in base formations for Michel, Keith Marshall, and Brendan Douglas and to give the Georgia quarterbacks time to attack the Auburn secondary. The Tigers aren’t great on defense, but they have gotten Carl Lawson back and ready to play. It’s going to be very important for Isaiah Wynn and John Theus to control Lawson without committing a running back or tight end to help consistently. If the Dawgs’ offense can do all of that, opportunities will be there to put up points and yardage. If not, this game has the potential to get out of hand … and not in a good way.
[su_spacer size=”40″] When Auburn Has the Ball

The Gus Bus offense has gotten progressively better over the last few weeks, and Auburn is going to try to get the tempo up where they attempt to get the game into a track meet. While it’s unclear on who will play quarterback for Auburn, I expect Jeremy Johnson to start the game. Malzahn also wants to control the game with his running game, but he doesn’t have the dual threat quarterback that has typically given the Dawgs fits the last few years (last year against Nick Marshall aside). While I don’t think the Georgia defense can match last year’s effort, they should be able to control the Tigers’ offense enough to keep the team in the game without offensive turnovers and failure to maintain field position. The Georgia front 7 needs to play its best game of the year to slow down the Auburn running game between the dive off the zone read and the sweeps Malzahn will attempt to use to stretch the edge.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What Will Happen

I expect the game to come down to the ability of the offensive lines to control the line of scrimmage. In most of Georgia’s wins in the series since Mark Richt showed up in Athens, the Dawgs have been able to establish the run then exploit advantages in the passing game when the Tigers would bring safeties up to help the front 7. I don’t see anything different this time, but this game appears to be so evenly matched that I believe one of the quarterbacks is going to make the difference one way or the other. At the beginning of the week, I thought that meant trouble but now am leaning the other way. Dawgs win what would be a classic if the game meant anything this year beyond annual bragging rights.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Final Score: Georgia 24, Auburn 21
[su_spacer size=”40″] That’s what I think. I would like to hear from you in the comments below.

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Avid lifelong football fan of the Falcons and Bulldogs, digital and multi-media support for Bulldawg Illustrated, host of BD Illustrated ON-AIR, dabbler in graphic arts, and peach cobbler fears me.