Looking For A Sweep Vs. the Georgia Dawgs

An Auburn football senior wants to finish his career with a quartet of victories over his homestate Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--It's not quite Thanksgiving yet, but Rashaud Walker already knows what he would like for Christmas.

The senior from Decatur, Ga., already has three victories over the Georgia Bulldogs. One more would give him the complete set and put a smile on the cornerback's face like a six-year-old who awakens Dec. 25th to find a shiny new bike awaiting under the Christmas tree.

"This is the last go-around," Walker says with a smile. "It is going to be a special one, too. They are pretty good. We are going to have to go out there and work hard. Both sides are shooting to go to the championship game in Atlanta so they are going to come out fighting. We are going to have to go out there and play hard. It is going to be real special, though."

Auburn, which has knocked off the last two Top 10 teams to visit Jordan-Hare Stadium (LSU 31-7 this year and Florida 23-20 last season), will face seventh-ranked Georgia at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC. If Coach Mark Richt's teams defeat the Tigers it will be Georgia's first ever SEC East championship.

Rashaud Walker is playing this season as a graduate student after picking up his degree in August.

Auburn, ranked 24th, is 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the SEC West. A victory would keep Tommy Tuberville's Tigers very much in the hunt for the divisional crown and improve his AU coaching record to 4-0 vs. the Bulldogs. "Oh, man, that would be like a Christmas gift," Walker says when asked what a victory on Saturday would mean to him. "Going 4-0 against Georgia, that would be real big. Since I have been out there--that would be the time I have been playing on the field--they haven't beat us," the fifth-year senior says.

Walker keeps an eye on Georgia's team and says the Tigers will have to play good football to make it four straight. When asked if this is the best UGA team he has faced, Walker answered, "Before they got banged up, yes. We'll have to play that by ear. They might have a couple of players a little banged up. I say that because this game is so big you never know who's going to play. You never know, even if people are hurt, but I think this is pretty big so we'll just have to play it by ear. But, I think, this is one of the best Georgia teams I've seen since I've been here."

The Bulldogs won their first eight games, including five conference tests, to take the lead in the SEC East. The first loss came on Nov. 2 as the Florida Gators defeated UGA 20-13. The Bulldogs, who have played nine straight weeks coming into the Auburn game, knocked off Ole Miss 31-17 last Saturday night in Athens. Earlier in the day, Auburn easily won its Homecoming game, defeating Louisiana-Monroe 52-14 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the site of this year's Tigers vs. Bulldogs showdown that will start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with TV coverage by CBS.

With 28 Auburn players from the state of Georgia, this game would be intense even without the major stakes both teams are still playing for going into game 11 on the season.

"A lot of guys, getting close to game time, they are going to be real emotional," Walker says. "I mean, a lot of players on our team are talking to these guys all year so it's really been, like, trash-talking them, and saying, ‘Wait 'til we play.' I know Donnay Young has talked to a lot of players on that team so it's going to be real interesting out there. You might see a lot of talking and stuff or somebody getting hit real hard."

Walker is friends with former UGA quarterback Quincy Carter, who left college early to head for the Dallas Cowboys. He also knows UGA wide receiver Terrence Edwards, but the senior receiver is expected to miss the Auburn game with a separated shoulder. That means the No. 1 receiving threat is sophomore wideout Fred Gibson, a 6-4, 190-pounder who Walker and Auburn's other defensive backs will have to watch carefully.

"I think we've got to stay on top of him," Walker says. "He's so elusive and so fast. A guy that tall that can run, he's real dangerous. I think we'll have to stay on top of him, with great technique, be a little physical with him, and also get some safety help so we can double him sometimes."

Auburn leads the SEC's oldest series 51-46-5 after winning 24-17 last season in Athens.


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