Five Reasons Why Auburn Could Be a Trap Game

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: D'Andre Swift
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: D'Andre Swift /

When Georgia Football takes on Auburn today, there are a few reasons why the Dawgs need to take the Tigers seriously.

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs will kick off for the 123rd time Saturday night from Sanford Stadium. Georgia Football has the edge in the series 58-56-8 and was 1-1 against the Tigers last season with the win coming in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Although the Dawgs clinched the eastern division last Saturday, there is still plenty to play for. Kirby Smart’s team is ranked fifth in the latest installment of the College Football Playoff rankings and will meet top-ranked Alabama for the SEC Championship on December 2nd. If the Dawgs get caught resting on their laurels, though, this Auburn team is more than capable of an upset. Here are five reasons this could be a trap game for Georgia.

Auburn has nothing to lose

The Tigers, who come in 6-3, have played well below preseason expectations. Some publications even had quarterback Jarrett Stidham pegged as a possible Heisman candidate. Stidham’s play has been lackluster to say the least, with the big-armed quarterback only throwing ten touchdown passes to date. Despite this mediocre play, Stidham is still talented and he can still run Gus Malzahn’s offense effectively. Losses to western division foes LSU and Mississippi State combined with an ugly home loss to a bad Tennessee team derailed Auburn’s season before it really got going. The Tigers responded, however, by coming from behind to knock off a ranked Texas A&M team at home a week ago. Auburn has some very good personnel and with nothing to play for except the best possible bowl, expect the Tigers to let it all hang out in hopes of spoiling Georgia’s season.

Auburn has a roster of very solid players

Speaking of that personnel, Auburn has several players on its roster that they beat Georgia out for on the recruiting trail. Defensive tackle Derrick Brown, wide receiver Darius Slayton and linebacker Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant are just a few players that both schools heavily courted. Slayton, along with Anthony Schwartz are big-play threats for the Tigers along with tailback JaTarvious “Boobee” Whitlow. In short, don’t overlook this roster. They’ve lost three games, but these guys can play and play effectively when they’re on. That’s been the problem for Auburn, though. Their stars have been inconsistent.

The Tigers’ Revenge?

Players will downplay this element of the game, but it has to be in the back of their minds. Georgia dismantled Auburn in Mercedes Benz Stadium last December, ending their hopes of making the College Football Playoff. While this one isn’t for a championship, it’s the first of two opportunities for Auburn to crush a rival’s dreams. The other will come against Alabama in two weeks. In rivalry games like this, it’s difficult to say how much the revenge factor matters, but it does matter. Coaches will downplay and dismiss it, but some of these players have played with or against players on the other team since pee wee ball. They want to beat each other, plain and simple. Throw the records out the window.

Auburn has a stout front seven

To go along with Brown and Bryant, the Tigers have playmakers along their defensive line and in their linebacker corps. Nick Coe is tied for 3rd in the SEC with sacks with seven. Deshaun Davis is 6th in the conference with 71 tackles. Dontavius Russell can also wreak havoc in the backfield. Make no mistake, these guys can play. Georgia will have an opportunity for some shots down the field if they can block this talented group. JJ Holloman and Riley Ridley run great routes and will probably give Auburn’s defensive backs some trouble. Protecting Jake Fromm will be a big key to this game, as Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will look to attack the Georgia signal caller with pressure early and often. If the Dawgs can manage to run the football well, that will likely take the aggressiveness out of the equation for the Tigers.

Georgia has yet to play like it can.

You know it’s true. This immensely talented but young team has yet to play to it’s potential yet. This might very well be the week that they do. Until that happens, Georgia fans are left to wonder what this team is truly capable of. No one is asking for a perfect game, mind you. What Smart would like to see is a game without turnovers, penalties and getting stuffed at the goal line (sorry, had to go there.) Georgia can go as far as they want to this season. They’re THAT good. They’re also a team comprised of 68% freshmen and sophomores. Young pups like Channing Tindall, Adam Anderson and Brenton Cox all made big plays and showed flashes of the future against Kentucky. Maybe they can provide the spark this team needs. One thing is for sure: If Georgia wants to have any chance against Alabama, the time to figure things out starts Saturday.

Next. A Georgia win today makes Auburn very uncomfortable. dark

This is not an article saying Georgia will lose Saturday. They should, based on the season’s first nine games, win and win handily. What this article IS saying is that the Dawgs and their fans need to bring it Saturday night. If they don’t, well, we all remember 2006. A beaten and battered bunch of Bulldogs went into Jordan Hare Stadium with some kid named Stafford and handled the #5 Tigers 37-15. Rivalry games are strange like that. Boatloads of high school talent will be in town, it’s the only SEC night game of the year, and, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, it’s a rivalry game. This is either going to be a strong statement made by the Smart gang, or it’s going to be a year’s worth of bragging rights for the fighting War Eagle Tiger Plainsmen. The result is largely up to the men in red and black.