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Georgia Offense vs. Auburn Defense

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Todd Gurley and the Georgia running game will be key against Auburn. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
Todd Gurley and the Georgia running game will be key against Auburn. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

It's getting close to time to renew the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Auburn and Georgia meet on the Plains for the 117th time with the series tied up at 54-54-8.

Georgia currently holds a two-game winning streak and has won six of the last seven meetings, but like in the last meeting where Auburn won (2010), there's a slippery quarterback in the backfield. Dan Haralson's article on the Auburn offense versus the Georgia defense will discuss that in more detail.

Focusing on the Georgia offense vs. the Auburn defense, Georgia seems to have an advantage there, but let's look at the numbers:

Georgia Offense Stat Category Auburn Defense
35.6 Points Per Game 20.4
180.9 Rushing Yards Per Game 155.6
297.7 Passing Yards Per Game 238.8
16 Turnovers 12

*Note: Stats for Auburn's defense are points and yards allowed.

Georgia's Offense

With Todd Gurley in the backfield, things look even better. In the six games Gurley has been active, Georgia is 5-1, with the only loss being at Clemson to open the season. In the games he's missed, the Bulldogs are 1-2, and were close to being 0-3 had Tennessee not fumbled the ball in overtime.

Aaron Murray is now the SEC's all-time leader in passing yards and is having another good statistical season for the Bulldogs. He's thrown for 2,477 yards and 20 touchdowns. However, he does have seven interceptions to his credit.

Out wide, the Bulldogs are hurting with the losses of Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell for the year. Chris Conley returned to practice Wednesday for the Bulldogs, according to Seth Emerson of the Macon TelegraphFor Conley, it's the first step in getting back on the field after injuring his ankle on the final play against Vanderbilt.

Having Conley and Michael Bennett on the field will be key for Murray if he's going to keep up with Auburn's offense. 

Auburn's Defense

The Tigers have a surprisingly good defense. Where their strength lies is within their secondary. All but one of their 11 interceptions come from the secondary, led by Robenson Therezie with four.

The secondary has also broken up 37 passes this year, showing you they're getting their hands on the ball.

Up front, the Tigers have 73 tackles for loss, including 23 sacks. Defensive end Dee Ford has seven of those sacks to lead the team.

The one thing you have to look at when it comes to Auburn's defense is that they allowed 35 points to LSU and 41 points to Texas A&M. So, good offensive teams have shown they can score on the Tigers.

X-Factor In This Matchup

The biggest key here is going to be if Georgia can establish the run and eat up some clock. Auburn can no doubt score with its run game, but so can Georgia.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is going to have to use his workhorse Gurley to get him to the promised land. And most importantly, the Bulldogs can't turn the ball over. That is what cost them in losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt.

If Georgia controls the clock on offense and holds the ball for more than 35 minutes, they'll win the game. If they don't, it's going to be a close one with Auburn getting a bigger advantage the closer the time of possession gets to 50-50.

Prediction

I would like to think the Bulldogs can pull it out, but with the number of injuries they've had this year, I'm not sure it's going to happen. If they do win, it would be an upset that puts them in position to go to the SEC Championship Game since Missouri still has Ole Miss and Texas A&M left on the schedule. But I don't see it happening.

Auburn 42, Georgia 38.