Written by Ryan Lippert
As we are heading down the final stretch of the college football season, the race for the coveted four spots in the College Football Playoff is heating up. The Southeastern Conference is once again standing as one of the main conferences that controls this race. With that being said, we have an SEC matchup this weekend that has major playoff implications tied to it. After coming away with a 27-0 victory over Missouri this past Saturday and watching Alabama fall to LSU, the Georgia Bulldogs found themselves in the fourth spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. On the opposite side of this matchup, the Auburn Tigers are out of the playoff picture but are still a very talented team that is very capable of pulling off the upset at home. With all of this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at this week’s SEC Game of the Week between the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs.
Bo Nix Faces Another Huge Test
The success of this Auburn offense this season has revolved around the surprising breakout year from their true freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Nix started from week one for the Tigers and has proved that they made the right decision. He has completed 56.45% of his passes for 1,798 yards, twelve touchdowns, and six interceptions. His top target so far has been sophomore wide receiver Seth Williams who leads the Tigers with 35 receptions for 569 yards and eight touchdowns. They will be facing a Georgia secondary that has allowed 185.78 yards per game and eight total passing touchdowns while coming away with six interceptions so far.
The Tigers have also found success running the ball this season. Their offense has averaged 219.3 yards per game on the ground while scoring 23 total rushing touchdowns so far this season. Sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow leads the Tigers in rushing with 553 yards and seven touchdowns. He is joined in the backfield by freshman D.J. Williams and senior Kam Martin. Williams has rushed for 303 yards and a touchdown while Martin has 293 yards and two touchdowns. Nix has also shown the ability to run the ball with 214 rushing yards and five touchdowns of his own. They will be going up against a Georgia defense that has been very stingy against the run, allowing only 74.6 rushing yards per game, and has yet to allow a single rushing touchdown so far this season.
Georgia Offense Looks to Stay Hot Against Tough Auburn Defense
While their defense has played great as well, the Bulldogs have been led by a high powered offensive attack this season. Their offense has been led once again by junior quarterback Jake Fromm who has continued to make his case as a first-round prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft. Fromm has had a very impressive year so far, completing 66.95% of his passes for 1,858 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. Grad transfer wide receiver Lawrence Cager has burst onto the scene in the past few weeks as he leads the Bulldogs with 32 receptions for 470 yards and four touchdowns. They will be facing an Auburn secondary that has struggled at times against the pass this season, allowing 221.4 passing yards per game, while giving up 11 total passing touchdowns and coming away with five interceptions.
The Bulldogs have also been electric at times on the ground this season. Their running game is led by junior running back D’Andre Swift who is leaking to sneak into the first-round draft pick discussion himself. Swift has rushed for 921 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. His back up, senior running back Brian Herrien, has also found success when called on with 366 rushing yards and five touchdowns of his own. They will be going up against a very talented Auburn front seven led by defensive tackle Derrick Brown and defensive end Marlon Davidson. The Tigers have been better against the run than the pass this season, allowing 112.7 rushing yards per game and eight total rushing touchdowns this season.
I strongly believe that this game has a very good chance of being a close one, especially with it being at Auburn. Their fans will create a hostile environment and I see Bo Nix making big plays early to keep the Tigers in this game. However, the Bulldogs have experience on their side and they know what is at stake. The high powered Georgia offense led by Fromm and Swift will take over late and pull away in this one. I have the Bulldogs winning 31-21 to stay in the College Football Playoff picture.