When the Georgia Bulldogs take the field against the mighty Auburn Tigers on Saturday, plenty of emotion should fill the air for this heated rivalry. A couple weeks ago, this game was building towards a top five showdown, however, both teams has inopportune stumbles in back to back weeks.
Instead of entering week 12 with the college football playoff spot on the line, Georgia and Auburn have to win out and get help just to represent their respective division in the SEC championship game.
With that said, the return of Todd Gurley into Georgia’s lineup is enough to make this a must see game. Let’s just say, the winner of this game will be back in the playoff hunt. They won’t be a frontrunner by any stretch, but they’ll at the heels of other one-loss teams.
Here are Five Keys to a Georgia victory.
1. Defense: Georgia had a huge problem against Florida’s running attack in their loss. On Saturday, the Bulldogs must do a better job of tackling in space. Auburn is multiple in their attack, and they put pressure on a defense in various ways. Their inside run with the running backs, is fueled by Nick Marshall getting on the edge. If Georgia is unable to read their keys, Auburn will have a field day.
2. Offense: Georgia has the ability to run the ball on anybody, so they need to do it effectively from the start of the game. Their rushing attack with Todd Gurley should build momentum throughout the game. It will also keep Auburn’s offense off the field. In addition, Georgia must score touchdowns when the opportunity presents itself. Look for Sony Michel to have a big day in the passing game.
3. Hutson Mason: The Georgia quarterback gets his own category. Mason must make all the throws to keep drives alive. He must also take advantage of Auburn’s defensive lapses. The most important thing for Hutson Mason in this game is to not turn the ball over. Auburn has an easy enough time of scoring. Georgia can’t afford to put the defense in a bad position.
4. Special Teams. In each team’s last lost, a special teams play was essential in swaying momentum. Georgia gave up fake field for a touchdown. The play gave Florida life, and the Gators never looked back. Last week, Auburn got their last second field goal blocked for a touchdown right before the half. It gave Texas A&M more life, and much needed points. Overall, Georgia’s kicking game must be sound.
5. The Fourth Quarter: If the Bulldogs are playing well throughout, they’ll be in the game. They must be mentally strong in the fourth quarter. Auburn’s offense has a tendency to gas defenses late in the second half. Georgia must show the will to win.