Georgia football had another game where the perception was worst than reality. Yes, the Missouri game was close. However, the score was the only thing close. Statistically, Georgia dominated.
The scoreboard is all that matters, though. Georgia’s offense struggled to get touchdowns when in the red zone. Georgia’s defense had to step up and get stops. It just had too many bends that led to Missouri getting three points.
Georgia allowed Missouri to kick five field goals and did surrender one touchdown. The score came on a short field after the Dawgs coughed up the ball. Allowing 192 passing and 102 rushing is good for some teams. As has been said, the standard has changed in Athens. I do not think Georgia is far from starting to dominate again.
Why not let it start with the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry? Here are three things the defense must do to help get a dominating victory over the Tigers.
Georgia football must force turnovers
Eventually, losing the turnover battle will cost you. Georgia lost the turnover battle to Kent State and Missouri. Only one turnover versus Kent State and none against Missouri — this is something Georgia has to change.
Auburn comes into this game with a struggling and beat-up offensive line. The Tigers have allowed 15 sacks this season. Georgia has to create havoc. The Dawgs don’t have to light up the sack stat line. They just need to get Auburn’s starting quarterback Robby Ashford moving.
Ashford has thrown three interceptions this season. He is quick to move out of pocket and will force throws.
Georgia football has to stuff the run
Georgia has dominated in stopping the run during the last few meetings with Auburn. Only allowing 84 rushing yards in 2019, 39 rushing yards in 2020, and 46 last season, it’s clear that Georgia knows the importance of stopping the run.
Auburn has struggled to get a big-time run game going this season. Tank Bigsby has rushed for 326 yards on 69 carries, averages 4.7 yards per carry. The Tigers’ second-leading rusher is Ashford. Auburn will call some design run plays, but many of his yards are scramble yards.
The Tigers are No.10 in the SEC in rushing, averaging 159.4 yards per game. Georgia is No.2 in SEC against the run, giving up an average of 89.2 yards per game.
Georgia will be without star and future first-round NFL draft pick Jalen Carter. While this injury does hurt the Dawgs’ defense, there is no reason Georgia can not demolish the Auburn running game.
Georgia football needs to give a not-so-warm welcome to Robby Ashford
Auburn opened the season with five straight home games. Ashford has two SEC starts under his belt. A narrow 17-14 overtime win against Missouri and a 21-17 loss to LSU. Both games were at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Ashford has yet to play in an SEC road game. We know Sanford Stadium can get loud. Arkansas last season comes to mind when talking crowd noise. With Georgia’s first two home games being Samford and Kent State, the students and fans are hungry for a big game. Well, here it is. It’s a rivalry at home on national television (CBS).
Ashford has been able to scramble this season. However, he has not played a team with the speed this Georgia defense has. The Dawgs’ linebackers up and down roster can flat-out fly to the football. Ashford has been quick to get out of pocket this season— expect Georgia to know that and to be there when he does.
Sanford Stadium is going to be a ruckus. The noise is going to deafen. There is no doubt with all the drama going on at Auburn with head coach Bryan Harsin if Georgia’s defense can get to Ashford and eliminate Auburn’s rushing attack, the game could be over early.
Auburn is looking for the upset. They see the Missouri score and believe they can beat Georgia. Georgia needs to use this game to prove they have not slipped and are still the national champions.