StatTiger: Analyzing Georgia At Auburn

Stuart Carter (StatTiger) gives his preview of The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

Georgia (8-2 Overall, 5-2 SEC)
at Auburn (5-5 Overall, 2-4 SEC)

National Rankings:

Rush Offense:63rd146.1 YPGRush Offense:48th163.0 YPG
Pass Offense:99th169.3 YPGPass Offense:18th273.8 YPG
Total Offense:100th315.4 YPGTotal Offense:22nd436.8 YPG
Score Offense:102nd19.5 PPGScore Offense:28th32.6 PPG
Rush Defense:49th129.7 YPGRush Defense:13th102.6 YPG
Pass Defense:14th175.3 YPGPass Defense:62nd206.3 YPG
Total Defense:26th305.0 YPGTotal Defense:28th308.9 YPG
Score Defense:13th16.3 PPGScore Defense:63rd24.9 PPG

About Georgia...

In the preseason the Georgia Bulldogs were picked my many to win the SEC and to compete for a National Championship. Their offense has lived up to the hype but they have struggled on defense, especially in key games. Knowshon Moreno enters the game averaging 111.3 yards on nearly six yards per carry. Mathew Stafford is currently averaging 258.7 yards passing per game with 15 TD passes and eight interceptions. The Bulldogs have bookend receivers in A.J. Green and Mohamed Massaquoi with both more than 40 receptions on the season. The Bulldogs are balanced on offense and dangerous in terms of big-play ability.

Rennie Curran has been the leader on the Bulldog defense, leading the team with 89 tackles including nine stops behind the line. The Bulldogs have struggled applying pressure on the opposing quarterbacks with only 17 sacks this season, which is 10th in the SEC. Reshad Jones is second on the team in tackles and the leader in interceptions with three picks. Georgia ranks 13th nationally in run defense but have allowed 140.5 yards against SEC competition, including 199.7 yards in their last three conference games.

Inside the Numbers...

* The Bulldogs have 24 plays of 30 yards or more, or one every 26.8 plays. Of the 24 plays, 20 have come from the passing game. On the flipside, Auburn has 15 offensive plays of 30 yards or more with one every 46 snaps.
* Since 1981 Auburn is 13-5 against Georgia when it outrushes the Bulldogs and is 2-5 when it doesn't.
* Since becoming the fulltime starter at quarterback, Kodi Burns is averaging 273.7 yards per game in total offense. In the seven games prior, the Auburn offense averaged 292.6 yard per game.
* Auburn has nine kick or punt return of 30 yards or more this season with one touchdown return in the punting game and two on kickoffs. Tristan Davis and Robert Dunn could play a major factor in a close game.
* After starting off at 3-0 vs. Georgia, Tuberville and Auburn are 2-4 in the last 6 meetings. The Auburn offense has averaged 337 yards and 23 points per game while the Bulldogs have averaged 361 yards and 26 points. Auburn is 4-1 against the Bulldogs under Tuberville when Auburn outrushing the Bulldogs.
* During the first seven meetings against the Bulldogs, Tuberville's offenses passed for a total of 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. In the last two meetings Auburn has thrown eight interceptions with only two touchdown passes.
* From 2006-2008 Auburn has competed against 15 SEC opponents with a winning record, posting a 7-8 record. The Auburn offense averaged 277 yards and 15 points per game. This included only 120 yards rushing on 3.1 yards per carry.
* From 1982-2007 Auburn's leading rusher against Georgia has averaged 109.6 yards per game including 5.1 yards per carry. Under Tuberville the leading rusher has averaged 104.4 yards per game on 4.5 yards per carry.
* The Bulldogs have averaged 16.1 PPG in the first half this season to Auburn's 12.5. The second half has been a totally different story with Georgia averaging 16.5 in the second half to Auburn's 7.0.
* It's not difficult to understands Auburn's collapse this season when looking at the points scored by quarter. On offense, Auburn has scored 57, 68, 41 and 29 points by quarter. On defense, the Tigers have allowed 13, 46, 50 and 54. The offense lacks punch as the game progresses as the defense slowly dwindles away.
* Under Coach Tuberville Auburn is 28-9 in games it has attempted at least eight first down passes, completing 60% for an average of at least 7.5 yards per attempt. Auburn averaged 173.3 yards rushing in those 37 games and five of the nine losses were by seven points or less.

Can Kodi Burns rise to the challenge and lead the Tigers to victory?

Scoring Margins...

Against SEC competition Auburn is minus-9 on offense and minus-5 on defense with an average score of 13-16. The Bulldogs are plus-11 on offense and plus-2 on defense with an average score of 28-29 in conference play. Taking Auburn's average score against Georgia's average scoring margins and Georgia wins, 27-15. Taking Georgia's average score against Auburn's scoring margins and Georgia wins, 23-20. Average the scores and Georgia wins, 25-17. The line on the game initially came out as 9 points in favor of Georgia but has dropped to 7.5.

This game could be closer than most expect, ranging from a three-point victory to a 12-point victory by the Bulldogs based on scoring margins against SEC opponents.

Final Thoughts...

Both teams are out of the conference race but still have goals to achieve. Georgia still has an outside shot at a BCS bowl with a very strong finish and Auburn is still attempting to become bowl eligible. It has been a disappointing season for both programs in terms of their preseason hype but Auburn's fall has been worse, failing to register one significant victory in 2008. Defeating Georgia would do wonders for an Auburn team searching to prove itself and a Georgia victory would simply be, taking care of business. Only 100 points separate the two programs in the last 57 meetings from 1951-2007. Auburn has averaged 20.8 points per game to Georgia's 19.0.

Both offenses are built around their running game with Georgia possessing a strong vertical passing game. Both teams will strive to establish a running game, while attempting to force the opponent into passing more than they want. The advantage goes to Georgia, who currently averages 139.8 yards rushing against SEC opponents while allowing 123.0 yards. Auburn has averaged only 94.8 yards rushing in conference play while allowing 144.5 yards. The Bulldogs have Moreno to ride, while Auburn has relied on a conglomeration of backs to pave the way. In it's last 15 games against conference opponents with a winning record, Auburn's leading rusher from the running back position has averaged 77 yards on 18 carries.

In order for Auburn to win this game, the Tigers will need to accomplish the following:
* Win the running game battle
* Limit Georgia's big play ability
* Win the field position battle
* Play very well on special teams
* Offense must score at least three touchdowns

In the last three games Auburn has run the ball 86 percent of the time on first down during the first half and 43 percent of the time in the second half. Auburn cannot afford to be as conservative against the Bulldogs. The Tigers must score early before they find themselves climbing out of a hole to deep to ascend. This doesn't mean a wide-open attack, but schemes and play calling that will create confusion on a struggling Georgia defense. Bringing back the War Eagle formation with Fannin at quarterback and putting Burns on the edge will stretch the Georgia front seven. Allowing Burns to pass 40-45 percent of the time on first down will keep the Bulldogs from loading up the box. Allowing Burns to throw a few deep passes and to run a little option would also apply pressure to Georgia's defense. Georgia 31, Auburn 17

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