StatTiger: Previewing Georgia at Auburn

Stuart Carter crunches the numbers in his prediction on what will happen as the Tigers take on Georgia in the 2013 edition of the SEC's oldest football rivalry.

No. 25 Georgia 6-3 (4-2) at No. 7 Auburn 9-1 (5-1)

Series Record: 54-54-8

Last Meeting: 2012 (Georgia, 38-0)

About the teams:

Auburn won at Tennessee 55-23 last Saturday and Georgia defeated visiting Appalachian State 45-6.

Coach March Richt is 124-43-0 at Georgia and Coach Gus Malzahn is 18-4 overall and 9-1 at Auburn.

Auburn is currently No. 14 nationally in total offense and No. 66 total defense. Georgia is No. 22 in total offense and No. 34 in total defense.

Auburn is No. 3 nationally in run offense and will face a Bulldog defense ranked No. 20 against the run.

Georgia is No. 30 in scoring offense vs. Auburn, which is ranked No. 22 in scoring defense. Auburn is No. 17 in scoring offense vs. Georgia, which is ranked No. 77 in scoring defense.

Georgia senior Aaron Murray is the No. 13 rated passer nationally, averaging 275 yards per game with 20 TD passes. Auburn junior Nick Marshall enters the game with a rating of 137.5 with 734 yards rushing at 7.1 yards per carry.

The Georgia running attack is led by Todd Gurley, who is currently averaging 104 yards per game. Auburn has four players with more than 500 rushing yards. Tre Mason leads the Tigers with 1,038 and rushing 16 TDs. Cameron Artis-Payne has 568 yards at 6.6 yards per carry and Corey Grant has 504 yards on just 50 attempts.

Tre Mason is having a big junior season for the Tigers.

Georgia has suffered several injuries among their wide outs. Chris Conley leads the Bulldogs in receptions with 30 and yardage with 418. Michael Bennett has 24 catches for 322 yards.

Georgia has two extremely active linebackers in Ramik Wilson (92 tackles) and Amarlo Herrera (79 tackles). UGA has five defenders with at least six tackles for loss led by Jordan Jenkins with nine.

Sophomore Cassanova plays weakside linebacker for the Tigers.

Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy leads Auburn in tackles 49. Auburn has five defenders with at least five tackles for loss led by end Dee Ford with 10 1/2.

Inside the Numbers...

*Georgia has the No. 111 punt return offense vs. Auburn's No. 16 punt return defense.

*Georgia has the No. 87 kick return defense vs. Auburn's No. 5 kick return offense.

*Auburn is No. 28 in red zone offense vs. Georgia's No. 94 red zone defense.

*Auburn is No. 17 in scoring offense vs. Georgia's No. 77 scoring defense.

*Auburn is No. 34 in third down offense vs. Georgia's No. 83 third down defense.

*Auburn has the No. 33 rated pass efficiency offense vs. Georgia's No. 79 rated pass efficiency defense.

*Auburn is No. 28 in third down defense vs. Georgia's No. 65 third down offense.

Auburn is No. 61 in turnover margin and Georgia is No. 105.

During that last eight meetings Georgia has averaged 34 points per game, compiling a 6-2 record against the Tigers.

What to watch...

*Georgia has dominated Auburn during the last two meetings, defeating Auburn by a combined score of 83-7. Georgia has rushed for a combined 593 yards to Auburn's 108 yards. This season Auburn appears to have the OL and DL to compete with any team in the Southeastern Conference.

*During the last 25 meetings between the two programs the team with the most rushing yardage is 20-4-1.

*Despite being hurried 17 times and sacked seven times in his three previous meetings against Auburn, Murray has completed 67 percent of his passes for 10 touchdown and no interceptions.

*Based on games against BCS competition, Auburn is projected to rush for 244 yards against the Bulldogs. Auburn is 6-1-1 the last 25 meetings against the Bulldogs when it rushes for at least 200 yards.

*Based on scoring averages and margins from SEC competition, Auburn is projected to win 41-26 and Georgia by a score of 36-35. Average the two scores and Auburn wins, 38-31.

Keys to victory...

*Auburn must be explosive in the run option element of its offense. Since Auburn began to feature the zone read the Tigers have recorded 67 impact plays in their last six games and 47 have come on the ground.

Reese Dismukes is the leader of the offensive line at center.

*During Auburn's five games against run-first offenses the Tigers have given up 205.6 rushing yards per game at 4.8 yards per rush. If Auburn cannot control the Georgia running attack the Tigers will be limited in applying pressure on Murray.

*Auburn must win the turnover battle to make up for the yardage normally allowed on defense (394.4 yards per game).

*Can Auburn maintain its current yards-to-point ratio on defense, which is No. 9 nationally? Georgia is No. 104 nationally in this category, allowing a point for every 12.7 yards surrendered. Auburn is allowing a point for every 19.3 yards. This means Georgia would likely require 580 yards to score 30 points and Auburn would need 382 yards.

*Auburn must be explosive regardless of its run-heavy approach on offense. The Tigers are No. 8 nationally in generating explosive plays on offense, but Georgia is No. 13. On defense Georgia has the edge with a No. 33 ranking in preventing explosive plays compared to Auburn's No. 55 ranking.

Final Word...

Auburn's last two meetings against Georgia resulted in lopsided victories for the Bulldogs. This was primarily due to Georgia owning the line of scrimmage, which was evident by the rushing totals and tackles for loss. For every yard Auburn gained rushing, Georgia gained 5.5 yards. For every tackle for loss Auburn recorded, Georgia registered 2.3.

This season the Tigers enter the showdown rushing for two yards for every one allowed and registering nearly two tackles for loss for each one allowed. This will likely be the best combined fronts Auburn has fielded against the Bulldogs since 2004. The 2013 Tigers are built to be a physical team and should be up for the challenge of competing against Georgia's talented front lines.

The Bulldogs have dealt with multiple injuries on the offensive side of the football, which is the primary reason why they dropped three games coming into Saturday's game. With Gurley back this will be the most balanced offense Auburn has faced this season.

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson knows just how good Murray has been, having faced him on two prior occasions while coaching at South Carolina.

Ellis Johnson, in his first season with the Tigers, coordinates the defense and coaches the linebackers.

In Johnson's four previous encounters with Georgia his defenses have allowed an average of 312 yards and 26 points per game. The Bulldogs will likely rack up yardage, but Auburn must find a way of making critical plays to limit the Bulldogs' scoring. The Auburn offense will face a young but athletic defense with speed. Being physical up front and consistency in execution will be the essential keys for the AU offense.

Emotions will be running high for both teams pumped up for this classic rivalry. The team that weathers the emotional storm early on will have the driver's seat to set the tone for the remainder of the game. Unless turnovers play a major role in what happens, I expect a very close game, which means special teams could become a major factor. Auburn has the statistical edge on special teams in the event the other two phases of the game are basically even.

This game has a history of favoring the more physical team and the team with the better running game. Auburn comes into this game with the superior running attack, the higher ranked scoring defense and the more efficient kicking-game, which should be the difference in the outcome. Auburn 38, Georgia 31

Around the Southeastern Conference:

Ole Miss over Troy
Vanderbilt over Kentucky
South Carolina over Florida
Alabama over Mississippi State

Season Record: 70-11

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