Know Your Enemy: Georgia-Auburn Q&A With


The Georgia-Auburn game (aka the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry) has particularly big ramifications for both teams this year.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer, the old saying goes. And with that in mind, we called upon our friend/foe Auburn FanSided site,, to answer a few questions about this year’s game and the 2014 Auburn Tigers.

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You can follow Fly War Eagle on Twitter at @FlyWarEagle, and their fine editor Nicholas Ian Allen at @NicholasIAllen. You can also see the questions they had for us here.

DOTD: The feeling among many fans at Georgia is that Auburn was overrated last year and much of this year. While it’s great to be lucky, do you feel that much of the Tigers’ success over the past two seasons can be attributed to luck rather going out and just winning games?

FWE: I’d be lying if I said anyone expected Auburn to go from 3-9 in 2012 to SEC Champions and the BCS National Championship Game last season. However, I’d stop short of saying they were “lucky” to do it.

Sure, there were some fortunate bounces at just the right times, but the 2013 team had a lot of talent and great coaching. The same is true this season. Gus Malzahn is one of the great offensive minds of our generation, and though the defense has struggled recently, most fans have a lot of faith in Ellis Johnson as well.

DOTD: Everyone knows that Nick Marshall is a very talented athlete and can run the ball well, as well as direct the read-option. But his skills as a passer have often come into question. Do you feel that Marshall has made any progress from last season in that area, or is he still just looked at as a runner with mediocre skills as an actual QB?

FWE: Marshall has improved a lot since he became the starting quarterback prior to the 2013 season opener, and he’s improved some from where he was at the end of last season, particularly in his footwork and command of the offense. He throws a pretty ball and has a strong arm, but accuracy is still an issue at times. Marshall’s certainly more than just a runner. Will he be a quarterback in the NFL though? That’s tough to say.

DOTD: Auburn is ranked 29th in the nation in rushing defense, giving up 129 yards per game. Is there concern that the Tigers won’t be able to hold up against Georgia’s extremely potent running attack, particularly with Todd Gurley returning.

Nov 16, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) looks to pass against the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 43-38. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

FWE: Auburn’s run defense has been pretty good this season, and front six of Ellis Johnson’s 4-2-5 scheme is definitely stronger at this point in the season than the secondary. So far this season, the Tigers have held all but two opponents to fewer than 176 yards on the ground – and wouldn’t you know it – those two opponents were Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

I don’t see Georgia racking up 350 yards or anything like that, but the Tigers will certainly have their hands full with one of the nation’s most talented backfields and a solid offensive line. I say the Tigers keep Georgia under 225.

DOTD: Georgia QB Hutson Mason had one of his best games last week against a Kentucky pass defense that hadn’t been burned badly all season. Is there a feeling that Mason could be the wild card in this game, and surprise Auburn, or have they taken him seriously as a QB who could possibly be dangerous?

FWE: Mason is certainly dangerous. Prior to the season, we ranked him as the SEC’s fifth best quarterback, and tops among new starters. And, after seeing what true freshman Kyle Allen did to the Auburn secondary in the first half last week, the Tigers had better take every quarterback seriously – especially those with five years in the same offensive system. That said, Mason hasn’t proven quite as dangerous as Gurley or Chubb, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see Auburn stack the line, play a lot of man coverage on the outside and make Mason beat them.

DOTD: Although this is a big rivalry, is there any chance Auburn is taking Georgia too lightly and looking ahead to the Iron Bowl?

FWE: I don’t think so. With their backs against the wall following last week’s surprising loss (perhaps Auburn was looking ahead to Georgia Saturday), there’s no way the Tigers can afford to overlook an SEC opponent. Especially one as talented as Georgia. Plus, there’s a week in between the Georgia game and the Iron Bowl, so that should help.

DOTD: Care to give some predictions for Saturday’s matchup?

FWE: These two teams are very evenly matched, so I think it’ll be a close game similar to what we saw in 2013. I think it will be slightly lower scoring than many of the predictions I’ve seen so far, and will come down to a late defensive stop. It’s a real toss up (get it?), but I see Auburn winning somewhere in the neighborhood of 31-30