When and where: November 16, 2019, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL, 3:30 PM ET
The Auburn Tigers would love nothing more than to spoil the Georgia Bulldogs’ SEC Championship hopes when the two teams collide on Saturday afternoon. Since their shocking double-overtime loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs have gone on to win their last three consecutive games, including an important head-to-head meeting with Florida. The Tigers, on the other hand, gave LSU all they could handle on the road and nearly toppled them in a 20-23 loss. They bounced back with a win over Ole Miss with the intention of upsetting Georgia and shaking up the SEC Conference.
Heavyweight fight in the trenchesThere’s no reason to feign as if Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm looked like anything spectacular in the team’s 27-0 win over Missouri. The Bulldogs won that game with their defense, running game and Fromm staying out of the way. He only completed 44.8 percent of his passes when throwing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Missouri has been tough on defense all season long, but that meeting will pale in comparison to what Georgia will face at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday against Auburn.
The singular threat to slowing down the Bulldogs is controlling the line of scrimmage and closing gaps for star running back D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien to run through. You can always count on Georgia to bolster a ferocious stable of running backs to bludgeon defensive fronts.
However, that hammer in the offensive backfield is going to have to be pretty strong to knock down a defensive wall for Auburn ranking third in the SEC against the run. Teams are only averaging 112.7 yards per game on the ground against them this season. Couple the magnitude of this game with the venue, and running the football against Auburn could feel like moving through quicksand in combat boots.
The Tigers haven’t necessarily been spectacular against the pass, but Fromm also isn’t the quarterback the Bulldogs want airing it out in this situation. If the Bulldogs can’t win at the line of scrimmage, they’ll be in trouble on Saturday. Georgia’s leading receiver Lawrence Cager may not be 100 percent if he takes the field. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury, but he is expected to suit up for the game.
Auburn could change everythingThe Tigers could be the Category 5 storm that runs right through the SEC Championship picture and College Football Playoffs. One thing is certain: This will be one of those rare occasions when even Alabama fans are cheering for Auburn to pull off an upset.
They’ll have to play better than they did against Ole Miss if they have any hope of doing so. It has to be a return to the same Auburn team that made LSU’s prolific offense look beatable in late October. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix is coming off a game where he threw for 340 yards with a 68.2 completion percentage. Some have been stuck on the fact that he wasn’t able to throw any touchdown passes, despite his most important stat being zero interceptions.
Nix has to take care of the ball and take whatever the defense gives him. It won’t be much, quite frankly, against the No. 1 defense in the SEC conference.
On the other side of the ball, the Tigers’ pass rush should get a much-needed boost with leading sack artist Marlon Davidson expected to return after being sidelined with a back injury. But running back JaTarvious Whitlow is still questionable with a knee injury, and leading-tackler Jeremiah Dinson is fighting a virus.
Auburn’s defensive front has to stand its ground and force Georgia into long third-down situations. It’s the only way to force the Bulldogs out of their run-heavy shell of an offense. There is no quicker way of sinking a visiting team than producing turnovers at home. The Tigers have to make plays on defense to put the offense on a short field to generate points.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loss.
- Tigers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a bye week.
- Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.