Georgia Football: 3 Auburn players to Watch out for on Saturday

Bo Nix of the Auburn Tigers scrambles as he is pursued by Lewis Cine. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Bo Nix of the Auburn Tigers scrambles as he is pursued by Lewis Cine. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

After an impressive 37-0 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia football can now focus their attention on the No. 18 Auburn Tigers.

Auburn is 4-1 and second in the SEC West, following a 24-19 win at LSU, the first time the Tigers won in Baton Rouge since 1999.

The Tigers are getting into the meat of their schedule following four non-conference games, including their season’s only loss against Penn State. While LSU isn’t the team they were two years ago, or anything close for that matter, Auburn’s numbers looked good on the offensive side of the ball.

Junior quarterback Bo Nix completed 23-of-44 passes for 255 yards, with one touchdown. Nix also ran the ball 12 times for 74 yards and a rushing score. Freshman running back Jarquez Hunter added 65 rushing yards and a score of his own on six carries. Senior tight end John Samuel Shenker led the Tigers with 102 receiving yards on five receptions.

On defense, Auburn allowed LSU to pick up a total of 336 yards, with 325 of them through the air. Still, Auburn holding LSU to just 11 total rushing yards was quite impressive. LSU ran the ball 26 times, so it’s not like it was from a lack of effort.

Instead, the Auburn running defense was just that good. They rank No. 2 in the SEC as they give up on average 86 yards a game. Even against Penn State, Auburn’s toughest opponent so far this season, the Tigers held the Nittany Lions to just 84 rushing yards, an average of only 2.5 yards a carry.

Still, Auburn has yet to play anyone with Georgia’s talent on either side of the ball. That being said, there are a few areas where the Dawgs need to be ready for a challenging game.

So here are the three Tigers I think Georgia players and fans alike need to watch.

Jarquez Hunter

This freshman running back is someone Georgia’s defense will have to keep their eyes on at all times. While Hunter leads Auburn with 447 rushing yards, he has only run the ball 42 times through five games.

Hunter has averaged over 10 yards a carry and found the endzone for three touchdowns.

His best game of the season came against Alabama State during Week 2 of the season. He galloped for 147 rushing yards on just eight carries, one of which went for 94 yards. Hunter scored a touchdown and had his longest run of the season.

The Bulldogs have the best defense in the country right now and are only giving up an average of 70.6 rushing yards per game. Still, Hunter is the No. 29 running back in the nation.

This feat deserves respect. No, I don’t see Hunter averaging close to 10 yards a carry against the Dawgs, but he can take off on any given play.

Despite being a freshman, Hunter is able to hold his own in an offense that has playmakers, including Tank Bigsby, with who he shares the running load on Saturdays.

Hunter is the perfect 1-2 punch with Bigsby because they compliment each other.

Tank Bigsby

Obviously, I don’t have much respect for Bo Nix and the Auburn air attack, at least against the Georgia defense. Still, with running backs like Tank Bigsby and Hunter, who needs to throw the ball. I know, I know — Georgia has been difficult for anyone to run against. Still, If Auburn puts points on the board, I think it happens through their running game.

Bigsby is the workhorse of the Tiger’s backfield. He has run the ball 74 times for 430 yards and four touchdowns. As impressive as Hunter’s 10 yards a touch have been, Bigsby is averaging 5.8 yards a carry himself. This number has to be taken seriously and accounted for because it’s impressive.

When it comes to finding the endzone, Bigsby’s best game of the season came against Penn State when he carried the ball over the goal line twice. He ran for a total of 102 yards that game on 23 carries. Against Alabama State, he ran for 122 yards, averaging over 11 yards a touch.

Bigsby has run for at least 100 yards in three of Auburn’s five games this season. When you consider that he is only a sophomore and Hunter is a freshman, this Auburn ground attack could be fierce over the next couple of years. We will see how the duo fares against a solid defense this weekend.

Auburn’s defensive line

Ok, this is supposed to be “three Auburn players to watch,” however, after looking at the Tiger’s defensive stats, I have difficulty limiting it to just one player on the defense, especially the defensive line.

Auburn has three defensive ends in T.D. Moultry, Derrick Hall, and Eku Leota who each have three sacks. As a team, the Tigers have 15 sacks on the season, just three less than Georgia.

While I am not too concerned, some questions are surrounding the starting Georgia quarterback. I by no means consider it a “controversy.” JT Daniels has just had some issues with staying healthy this season. Again, I’m not saying he shouldn’t be the starter when he’s healthy, but Stetson Bennett can be trusted, and he has earned his spot on this team.

Regardless of who is under center for the Dawgs Saturday at Auburn, the Georgia ground attack will need to have a big game.

The Tigers have been holding opponents to an average of 294 yards per game, with only 86 of them coming on the ground. Auburn has allowed an opponent to run the ball for over 100 yards just once in their first five games. In three of those games, they held the team under a total of 50 rushing yards.

Georgia has been running the ball for an average of 196 yards per game. They have multiple running backs that can run for a first down on any given play.

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I don’t expect any of this to change during this weekend’s game. Still, the Bulldogs offensive line needs to be ready for a tough matchup this weekend.