Georgia tight end Brock Bowers breaks away for a 70-plus yard touchdown against South Carolina during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Georgia looks to stay undefeated, host rival Auburn Saturday

After overcoming a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter last weekend in Columbia, Missouri, the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs will return to Athens to host the Auburn Tigers Saturday.

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Georgia is 5-0 and off to a 2-0 start in conference play — first in the SEC East. The Bulldogs are 3-0 at Sanford Stadium this year with an average winning margin of 32 points.

Auburn enters the matchup 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play. The Tigers defeated Mizzou in week four before they suffered a 21-17 home loss to LSU last Saturday.

Keys to the Game

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett leads the nation’s eighth-ranked passing attack — averaging just over 340 yards per game. Barrett is completing nearly 70% of his throws, but the senior completed a season-low 55.8% of his pass attempts last weekend against Missouri. Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin called Bennett a “winner” despite his lack of supreme size and athleticism.

“I don’t see a whole lot of weaknesses in [Bennett’s] game,” Harsin said. “I think he’s got really good command of what [Georgia] is doing, and he’s plenty good to hurt you in all different ways.”

Although six different Bulldogs have already accumulated over 100 receiving yards this year, sophomore tight end Brock Bowers leads the team with 342 yards and 17.2 yards per catch. Bowers currently ranks fourth in the SEC in receiving yards and has more yards than any other tight end in the country. The Napa, California, native is a threat on the ground, too, as he scored a pair of rushing touchdowns against Kent State.

 

Defensively, Georgia ranks second in the nation in touchdowns allowed (4) after holding its opponents out of the end zone until the final minute of week three. The Bulldogs will face an Auburn offense that ranks middle of the pack in most statistical categories. Tigers running back Tank Bigsby remains the focal point of the offense. The junior is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and ranks seventh in the SEC in rushing yards. He leads the team with four touchdowns and has 13 receptions this season — second most on the team. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart called Bigsby “explosive” and “extremely physical” out of the backfield as a runner and receiver.

“[Bigsby] is one of those backs — like the good ones — they get better with their carries,” Smart said. “He’s one of these typical SEC backs that you better bring your lunch pail when you come to tackle him.”

Historic Georgia vs. Auburn Rivalry

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry dates back to 1892 and Georgia leads the series, 62-56. The Bulldogs prevailed in each of their last five meetings and haven’t lost to Auburn at home since 2005.

“The tradition and history of this game is pretty incredible,” Smart said. “I’m expecting our fans to turn out and give us an electric atmosphere to play in against a good Auburn football team.”

Saturday’s kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the game will air on CBS.

About Griffin Foll

Hi, my name is Griffin Foll and I am currently a senior at UF studying sports media journalism with a concentration in political science. I contribute weekly web and radio content for WRUF ESPN Gainesville and help cover the World Cup/Champions League soccer beat. Be sure to check out some of my recent articles!

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