Auburn Preview – Paper Tiger or Eye of the Tiger

On Saturday night on the Plains, the Dawgs take on Auburn with an opportunity to clinch the SEC Eastern Division championship.  Georgia comes into the game on the rise with a top 5 ranking and a team that is performing highly on both sides of the ball.  On the other hand, Auburn is reeling as they have struggled on both sides of the ball and is in real danger of going winless in the conference.  The big question is whether the Tigers have packed it in for the season and possibly a new coaching staff or whether they try to save their season and possibly Gene Chizik’s job with a big win.

When Auburn Has the Ball

Auburn will start their 3rd different starting quarterback with freshman Jonathan Wallace at the controls of the Auburn offense that has struggled mightily in conference play.  Chizik can’t be happy with his offensive line after the “jaw-jacking” this week about how easy it should be to control Jarvis Jones.  I would imagine #29 will come into Auburn to prove a point especially in front of the home folks across the Chattahoochee in Columbus.  I look for the Georgia defense to try to put pressure on Wallace and to disguise coverage in the hope of forcing turnovers and sacks.  I think Auburn will try to control the ball with the running game with Wallace, Onterrio McCalebb, and Tre Mason.  Similar to last week, if the Georgia defense can keep the Tigers behind the chains, Auburn will have difficulty driving the length of the field against the Georgia defense.

When Georgia Has the Ball

Aaron Murray shredded the Auburn defense in Sanford Stadium with 4 TD passes last year with Bobo calling off the Dawgs early in the 2nd half.  Malcolm Mitchell in particular was a difficult assignment for the Auburn secondary in last year’s game.  With the loss of Marlon Brown to a season-ending knee injury, Georgia will again be looking for a receiver that can exploit the field between the hashmarks against the zone.  I look for Murray to have another big day against a defense that has had issues with high-powered, balanced offenses.

What Will Happen

This game shouldn’t be close if Georgia shows up on the Plains with the intention of taking care of business.  If the Tigers have early success and get the Tiger Nation into the game, we could have trouble putting the game away quickly.  I look for Georgia to come in ready to play on both sides of the ball and for Auburn ready to put up a fight on their home turf.  I don’t think Auburn has the talent to match up for 60 minutes.  The Dawgs get control of the game in the 2nd quarter and eventually win going away.

Final Score:  Georgia 38, Auburn 17

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