College Football Game of the Week: Georgia vs. Auburn
While it is only Week 2 in the SEC, there is still a tremendous amount of weight riding on this game. Georgia will have some tough games following Auburn, including No. 3 Florida and No. 2 Alabama. Auburn on the other hand, if it pulls off this upset, will be favored to win every game for the rest of the season until it plays Alabama in November.
Last week, Georgia got off to a shaky start against Arkansas. Head coach Kirby Smart decided to go with redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis as the starting quarterback after his probable starter, Jamie Newman, opted out of the season about a month ago and sophomore transfer, J.T. Daniels was still recovering from his knee injury from early last season at USC.
Georgia was definitely not as dominant in that game as they should have been. A change in quarterback to junior Stetson Bennett gave them some momentum moving forward, but the Bulldogs’ run game was unusually weak.
Kirby Smith announced that J. T. Daniels is ready to go for this week’s matchup, so it will be interesting to see who takes the majority of snaps this weekend.
For Auburn, there is no hesitation that sophomore Bo Nix is their starting quarterback and he has already seen the Bulldogs at their best defensively last season.
Against Kentucky last weekend, Nix threw for 254 passing yards on 50 attempts, however only managed to score 14 points. As for the offensive line, the only returner is center Nick Brahms.
Georgia will need to capitalize on this defensively and take advantage of the inexperience of Auburn’s front.
In Week 1, Auburn relied on its defense for most of the game. It was only 15-12 going into the 4th quarter, but Auburn seemed fairly in control because of their ability to keep Kentucky out of the red zone.
Offensively, Georgia only has two returning starters, so their offense is still trying to adjust. We may see some shifting within the offensive line unit for Week 2.
Sophomore running back Zamir White is looking to follow in the footsteps of Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and D’Andre Swift. He went 71 yards for 13 attempts and had one rushing touchdown - a decent performance but needs improvement if the Bulldogs are hoping to win.
Senior defensive back Richard LeCounte proved to be a force to be reckoned with after recording two interceptions and three tackles last week. Linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith will also not make it easy for Auburn’s offense to produce. By himself, Smith recorded 1.5 sacks and six tackles last game.
Wide receiver Kearis Jackson, replacing the role of big-time play maker Dominick Blaylock, had six receptions last game for a total of 62 yards. Hopefully he is able to connect with whatever quarterback is out there on the field for Georgia.
For the Tigers, defensive lineman Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant returned for his senior year to lead his defense to success. Bryant will have the help of senior linebacker K. J. Britt and junior defensive back Roger McCreary.
Britt earned first team All-SEC honors in 2019 and recorded 11 tackles in Week 1 alone. McCreary forced a fumble last week in addition to an interception and three solo tackles.
Taking into account Georgia’s uncertainty offensively and Auburn’s solid defense, an upset is definitely possible here.
For the Bulldogs to pull off the expected win, they need to step up their run game, maximize their quarterback play and consistently pressure Nix. Auburn needs to look to protect Nix in the pocket and continue to convert in the red zone and excel defensively.
Prediction: Auburn 24, Georgia, 21
Kathryn Tague is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Freshman / Broadcast Journalism