Auburn and Georgia will play in the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” for the 117th time this Saturday with major implications on the line. The Tigers need a win to set up a de facto SEC West title game with Alabama on Nov. 30. Georgia needs a win to stay alive in the SEC East and eliminate South Carolina from the discussion. The Dogs also need to beat Kentucky and then could win the East if Missouri loses its final two games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
This rivalry game has had great history, which shows us anything can happen. Auburn has won 10 of the last 15 in Athens, while Georgia has won six of its last nine trips to Jordan Hare.
Auburn’s 320 yards per game rushing is the highest average in the SEC since 1979. Only one team has run for more than 200 yards this season (226) against the Bulldog defense and that was South Carolina in Week 2, a game that Georgia won. The Bulldogs are allowing just 98.6 yards per game on the ground in their last three games. The Tigers lost six fumbles in their first five games, but only two in their last five games. This matchup will be key to the game because Nick Marshall has only attempted 15 passes in the last two games.
Georgia will have Todd Gurley back and he has been a big difference in the win column. The Dogs are 5-1 when he plays and he left the Clemson game early with an injury despite having 154 yards on 12 carries in the three-point loss.
Aaron Murray has thrown 14 of his 20 touchdown passes when Todd Gurley has played in a game this season. Auburn’s defense is trending upward under coordinator Ellis Johnson. It has been very good in the red zone with the second best group in the SEC. Opponents have scored just 14 touchdowns in 32 trips to the Tiger red zone.
Keep An Eye On: Explosive plays. Which defense can limit them? Auburn is fourth in the nation at 7-plus yards per plays. Auburn has 100 runs of 10-plus yards while Georgia has 109 passes of 10-plus yards.
Alabama travels to Starkville to play Mississippi State looking to stay unbeaten and on top of the BCS standings. The Tide have won five straight in the series and may or may not get to see State quarterback Dak Prescott. AJ McCarron has gone 123 passes and five games-plus without throwing an interception. The Crimson Tide defense is playing very well, ranking third-best in the nation in allowing just 130 first downs on the season. The offense has only been held to three-and-out 17 times this season which is fifth-best in the country.
Mississippi State has lost 14 in a row to ranked opponents and this is the fifth top 15 team the Bulldogs have faced this season. Dak Prescott, who is battling injuries, has scored 12 touchdowns. The Mississippi State defense ranks second in the SEC behind Alabama in forcing three-and-outs. The Bulldogs best shot may be to win the first half. Dan Mullen’s team has won 20 in a row when leading at the half.
South Carolina looks to make its final case for the SEC East and could know whether or not Georgia won at Auburn before it takes the field. Connor Shaw is likely to play without a brace for the first time in a month. Shaw has thrown 18 touchdowns and just one interception. Only two quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts have thrown less (zero). South Carolina is not a great third-down team and currently ranks seventh in the SEC.
Florida may not have quarterback Tyler Murphy for its game with South Carolina. The Gators have committed 12 turnovers in their five losses. The Gators defense is still among the nation’s best and they lead the SEC in third-down percentage. Florida has forced just four turnovers in the last four games after forcing 11 in the first five games. The Gators rank 111th in total offense and 105th in scoring offense.
Vanderbilt is looking for its seventh-straight November win and its third consecutive bowl trip with a win Saturday. The Commodores offense continues to excel in the red zone converting 36-of-40 trips which leads the SEC at 90 percent. This has led to a points per game average of 32.3, which would be the highest for a Vanderbilt team since World War I. The Dores are 5-0 when they outrush and opponent this season.
Kentucky is just trying to get an SEC win and has won 8-of-12 against Vanderbilt. The Wildcats are plus-four in the turnover margin on the season. Jaylen Whitlow is coming off a 225-yard passing performance in the loss to Missouri last week. In both Kentucky wins this season it has more total yards than its opponent and led after three quarters in both games.
Ole Miss is out of conference looking for its fourth win in a row against a dangerous Troy team. The Rebel offense has gone over 500 yards in total offense in three consecutive games. Bo Wallace is ranked 25th nationally in total offense and 23rd nationally in passing. This is the first meeting ever and Troy did play SEC Foe Mississippi State early in the season and lost 62-7. The Rebels average 12.4 first downs via the pass per game this season.