SEC: Taking an Inside Look at Auburn vs. Georgia

Here is my preview of the 24th ranked Auburn Tigers taking on the 5th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. This is an SEC showdown in primetime on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The 6-3 Auburn Tigers, who are 3rd in the SEC West, will take on the 8-1 Georgia Bulldogs, who are 1st in the SEC East. A win at home for the Bulldogs will help them keep pace with the 6-3 Florida Gators and 7-2 Kentucky Wildcats/ LSU Tigers in the SEC for a college playoff spot as they are all behind the 9-0 Alabama Crimson Tide. Georgia is coming off a convincing win over Kentucky 34 to 17 while the Auburn won in the final minutes against Texas A&M 28 to 24 due to their defensive stand.

Georgia went against Alabama in last years college football playoff championship as they lost overtime 26 to 23 as Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovoila threw the game-winning touchdown. They will look for revenge as they should have the upper hand in this SEC matchup as Auburn will look to upset their college playoff standing in the rankings. Considered the Deep South’s oldest rivalry in college football history, will Georgia get their 10th win straight against Auburn? Here are three things to watch in this primetime matchup on Saturday at home for the Bulldogs going against the Auburn Tigers.

Georgia Wide Receiver Riley Ridley

Photo Credit: Casey Sykes

Georgia Wide Receiver Riley Ridley vs. Auburn Cornerback Noah Igbinoghene

Even though Georgia is a run first team with a total of 202 carries between their main two running backs (Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift have 1,296 combined rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns between both of them), Riley Ridley (brother to last years 1st round draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons Calvin Ridley) has been the main go-to target for quarterback Jake Fromm. Ridley leads the team with 30 catches for 411 yards and 5 touchdowns. The junior wide receiver is a big play threat with his speed. However, he is also a red zone target for Fromm at 6’2″ 200 lbs. He has flashed a few times with limited production for the last two years. However, this year, it seems he is taking a step forward as the best receiver for the Bulldogs.

Auburn will have to keep their eye on Ridley downfield and focus on taking him out of the game with double teams and extra help in the secondary. Auburn field cornerback Noah Igbinoghene should shadow him as the former wide receiver converted to cornerback this year and has progressed at his new position as the starter on the outside. He is 2nd on the defense with pass deflections (6) and had a game-winning interception against Texas A&M. If they can slow down Ridley with Igbinoghene, the Auburn defense can focus on the Georgia potent run game.

Auburn Pass Rusher Nick Coe

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

Auburn Pass Rusher Nick Coe vs. Georgia Offensive Tackles

Georgia starting offensive tackles Andrew Thomas (LT) and Isaiah Wilson (RT) will have their hands full going against one of the better pass rushers in the SEC in Nick Coe. The sophomore offensive lineman will have to protect Fromm from sophomore defensive lineman Coe at different spots. He is the buck linebacker/ defensive end for Auburn. Coe has 7 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He will be the impact player on defense that could prevent the Georgia running game from getting out of hand. Coe could make Fromm skittish if he can get to the backfield enough and pressure him. He leads Auburn in sacks by a wide margin and tackles for loss. Georgia should try and double-team him to neutralize his impact in the run game. They should have the running backs/ tight ends chip block him in the passing game.

Georgia Cornerback Deandre Baker

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Cornerback Deandre Baker vs. Auburn Passing Game

One of the better NFL Draft secondary players this year, defensive back Deandre Baker leads the Georgia secondary as they have had some key losses in past drafts. The 5’11” 185 lb. cornerback has 2 interceptions this year (leads team) and has 7 in his career. The senior cornerback also has 8 pass deflections (which also leads the team this year). He has 22 pass deflections in his career. Baker is a possible riser on NFL draft boards and top cornerback in this years draft class.

He will most likely cover Auburn wide receivers Ryan Davis and Darius Slayton, who are quarterback Jarrett Stidham‘s top targets on the outside. They both combine for 835 receiving yards. However, only 1 combined touchdown between the both of them. Stidham should try to avoid throwing Baker’s way. He has not thrown many touchdowns this year (only 12 total touchdowns to 4 interceptions this season). If Baker can shut down one side of the field, it could make Stidham’s night very difficult. Georgia should capitalize on this matchup.

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Andrew Kim

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