Georgia/Auburn Matchups

Josh Kendall takes a look at how Georgia and Auburn match up as well as the keys to Saturday's game.

Georgia rush offense vs. Auburn rush defense
Auburn's front seven is one of the best units in the country. Georgia coach Mark Richt says four of the seven -- linebackers Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas and linemen Reggie Torbor and DeMarco McNeil -- are "great" players. Auburn is 10th in the country in rush defense. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, average just 3.7 yards per carry so look for Georgia to run the ball out of passing sets when it does run.

Auburn rush offense vs. Georgia rush defense
This will be the key matchup of the game. The Tigers live off their running game (186.5 ypg), and the Bulldogs pride themselves on their ability to stop it (86.6 ypg). Georgia's gap control defense has been solid all year, and there's no reason to expect any difference Saturday. The Bulldog defenders will be in the right places, the question will be whether they can make sure tackles. Cornerback Decory Bryant's loss could be felt here. He was one of the team's two surest tackles in the open field.

Georgia pass offense vs. Auburn pass defense
There's not much give in Auburn's defense here, either. The Bulldogs have had trouble making big plays in the passing game all season, and the Tigers have done a good job of avoiding the big play so don't look for Georgia's fortunes to turn in that category this week. The Bulldogs have plenty of receivers talented enough to get open against Auburn's secondary, but they have to catch the ball.

Auburn pass offense vs. Georgia pass defense
If Georgia's pass defense is tested Saturday, that will be a good sign for the Bulldogs because it will mean they are slowing down the Tigers' running game. Tiger quarterback Jason Campbell won't beat anybody, but he's not beating Auburn lately, either, which had been a problem in the past. Campbell is averaging an interception every 53 pass attempts, which is much better than David Greene's 34.5-to-one ratio. Still, Georgia will take its chances with Campbell carrying the load.

Special Teams
Both groups have been pretty average this season. Georgia has a slight edge in punt returns, but Auburn gets a little more out of its kickoff return team. The Tigers get the edge in punting with Kody Bliss' 43.5-yard average, which is 5 yards better than Gordon Ely-Kelso's 38.2, but Georgia has a better place-kicker in senior Billy Bennett. Despite Bennett's inconsistencies, the Dogs will be confident if he lines up for a game-winning kick Saturday.

Prediction
This game looks too close to call, and, in that case, it's usually a good idea to go with the road team in this series particularly if it's Auburn. The Tigers have lost just once in Sanford Stadium since 1981 and just twice since 1976. It's a streak that defies explanation and that Georgia defensive end David Pollack calls "mumbo jumbo." More important than the past, though, is the present, and the Bulldogs have more to play for Saturday.

Georgia 19, Auburn 12

Keys to the Game

Auburn's rushing attack. If Georgia doesn't discourage the Tigers from running the ball down after down after down, it will be a long afternoon for the Bulldogs. Jason Campbell, the Tigers quarterback is coming off maybe his most efficient game of the season. Can he keep that up with All-American David Pollack harassing him all day? Georgia's blocking. The Bulldogs will start either a true freshman at either guard or center Saturday so watch for pressure up the middle.

No. 7 Georgia (7-2, 4-2 SEC) vs. Auburn (6-4, 4-2)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,058)
Tickets: Sold out
Kickoff weather: High of 61, low of 43. Mostly cloudy. 20 percent chance of rain
Series: Auburn leads 51-47-8
Odds: Georgia favored by 7
Injuries: Georgia -- Probable: RB Tyson Browning (knee), DT Gerald Anderson (knee), OL Ryan Schnetzer (ankle); Questionable: S Sean Jones (shoulder); Doubtful: FB Jamario Smith (ankle); Out: OL Bartley Miller (shoulder). Auburn -- Probable: FB Brandon Johnson, (ankle), RB Brandon Jacobs (bruised kidney), OL Marcus McNeill (back), OL Danny Lindsey (ankle).
Up next: Georgia vs. Kentucky, Nov. 22, 12:30 p.m.; Auburn vs. Alabama, Nov. 22

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