There is nothing real complicated about what Georgia is going to do on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Bulldogs are a balanced offensive team that is effective running and throwing football.
Coach Mark Richt’s team is not going to try to trick you. They are going to line up and come straight at the Tigers. For Auburn’s defense it will be more like playing LSU than the spread teams that have given the Tigers so much trouble this year, but it will still be a major challenge because of Georgia’s quarterback.
If you give Aaron Murray adequate time he can throw the football he can pick apart a defense and make big play after big play. If the Bulldogs don’t give him enough time to find his receivers then he is a lot closer to average. A key for Auburn to have success on Saturday night will be to contain the run and get after Murray early and often.
I don’t think Auburn can let the Bulldogs score a lot of points and have any kind of chance to win this game because Georgia is too good on defense for that to happen. The Bulldogs haven’t been as consistent as they would like on that side of the ball, but there is a lot of talent there and it looks like the group is improving now that their key players are back on the field.
Another key for the Tigers is to protect the football on offense and keep penalties to a minimum on both sides of the line of scrimmage. At times this year, especially early in the season, Auburn was its own worst enemy by making too many mistakes. That is something the Tigers cannot afford to do against the Bulldogs.
Florida turned the ball over six times to Georgia and that got them beat. That is why Florida is on the outside looking in hoping for the Tigers to upset the Bulldogs so the Gators can win the SEC East and a spot in the SEC Championship Game. If the Tigers do something similar to turning the ball over a half dozen times, they are going to get beat badly Saturday night.
One of the fascinating things about the Georgia-Auburn series is the team that is supposed to win this game doesn’t always do it. In games I was involved in we won some we weren’t supposed to win and we lost games we were supposed to have won.
A colorful series like this one that has been fiercely competitive going back to the 1800s is what makes college football so great, and the SEC in particular such a special place for the game. Fans look forward to these old rivalries from year to year and remember big games, and even big plays, many years after they happen.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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