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#371 Georgia -3 vs.
#372 Auburn 43
Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 3:30pm EST
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#371 The University of Georgia
#372 Auburn University
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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 trenches

There’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 everything

The 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.

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This is one of those rare opportunities for Nix to make a name for himself behind center. He won’t face the arduous task of being on the road against one of the best teams in the country. Georgia is coming to his doorstep with everything to lose, and he has a chance to knock them off the mountain and catapult his name in college football circles.

The Bulldogs lack a consistent pass-rushing threat, and the Tigers’ offensive front has done a tremendous job of keeping Nix’s jersey clean. So he should have some time to think about where he wants to go with the football when he drops back to pass. Make no mistake, he’s going to have to make some big throws for the Tigers to win this game. Georgia is too good at stopping the run, and Whitlow hasn’t been healthy enough to depend on.

Obviously, the Auburn defense will also have to continue to hold up its end. They currently rank fourth in the conference with an average allowance of 334.1 yards per game. It’s worth noting they held LSU to only 23 points on the road. This is not a group to be sleeping on in this game.

I’m taking the Tigers and the points on Saturday.

Prediction: Auburn Tigers (+7)

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Points won’t be easy to come by in a game featuring two of the top-three scoring defenses in the conference. Both teams have prided themselves on their ability to run the ball consistently, but that could be negated considering the run-stuffing talent boasted by both defensive fronts.

While the Tigers rank third in the conference in run defense, the Bulldogs rank fourth in the nation behind Penn State with an average allowance of 74.6 rushing yards per game. This will be a low-scoring game that will be more heavily-reliant on throwing the ball than initially perceived. I’m expecting plenty of missed catches and batted down throws leading to the under betting total being the winner here.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.