Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CST on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., as Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers try to keep their lead in the series from being cut more than it has been during Georgia's three-game winning streak. Both teams are 3-3 in the SEC going into the contest. Auburn is 7-3 overall and the Bulldogs are 5-4 and still working on becoming bowl eligible.
Auburn leads the series 53-51-8, including an 18-10 advantage in games played on the UGA campus. Unlike many collegiate rivalry series, the road teams have had more success than the home teams.
In fact, the visiting team has won nine of the last 14 Auburn vs. Georgia contests, which could be a good omen for the Tigers. However, Auburn is ranked 25th in this week's coaches' poll and UGA is unranked. In the last 13 games between the Tigers and Bulldogs the lower ranked team has won seven times--UGA in 1996, Auburn in 1997, Auburn in 1999, Auburn in 2000, Auburn in AU-2005 and UGA in 2006.
The rivalry has been played since 1892 starting with a game at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The Tigers and Bulldogs played 12 times in Atlanta with Auburn holding a 5-4-3 margin in those matchups.
The series has also been played in Columbus, Ga., (UGA leads 27-26-6), in Auburn (UGA leads 14-9-2), in Macon (2-2), in Montgomery (Auburn leads 2-0) and in Savannah (Auburn leads 1-0-1).
Chizik said he can tell the players are looking forward to this game. "Our guys have had a great practice all week," he said. "They are really into playing this game and are very much looking forward to it. It is another great SEC rivalry. Our guys will be up for it."
Chizik said Auburn has a major challenge this Saturday against the Bulldogs. "They are loaded everywhere on their football team...just a very, very athletic, big football team that is very fast. That is what we are up against."
Georgia has been strong in the kicking game this year while Auburn has been inconsistent. "We can't get in a hole with our special teams," Chizik said. "That is one of the things we have been focused on."
In other news and notes:
*Senior quaterback Chris Todd heads to Athens with an excellent touchdown to interception ratio of 17 TDs with three interceptions. That currently puts him second on AU's single-season list at 5.667 behind Ben Leard's 12.0 (12 touchdowns, one interception) in 1999. Georgia starting quarterback Joe Cox also has 17 touchdown passes this year. Cox has been intercepted 12 times, which is one of the reasons the Bulldogs are last nationally (119th) in turnover ratio at minus .178 per game. Auburn is 40th nationally at plus .40.
*Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has focused on improving his group's third down conversion percentage. AU was among the worst in the nation earlier in the season, but has improved to 17th nationally this week at 32.7 percent. Roof's group has held its opponents under 25 percent conversions in four of the last six games.
The game will be carried on satellite radio. It is 121 on Sirius and 141 on XM. Inside Sanford Stadium on Saturday the Auburn Network's coverage of the game will be broadcast on either 87.9 FM or 89.7 FM on a low power broadcast.
*In the history of the Auburn vs. Georgia series there have been a large number of strong rushing performances by the Tigers. Auburn ranks 10th nationally in rushing yards per game at 230.0.
*Junior left offensive tackle Lee Ziemba heads to Athens with the team's longest starting streak with at 35 consecutive games. Center Ryan Pugh is second with 25. On defense the longest streak is 23 by junior linebacker Craig Stevens, which is one ahead of senior cornerback Walt McFadden.