Key To The Game: Auburn's Stout Defensive Front vs Georgia's Banged Up O-Line

Key To The Game: Auburn's Stout Defensive Front vs Georgia's Banged Up O-Line

News & Rumors

Key To The Game: Auburn's Stout Defensive Front vs Georgia's Banged Up O-Line


No. 5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1) and Auburn (6-3, 3-3) will play in the 123rd edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry on Saturday in Athens at 7 p.m.

For Georgia to keep Playoff hopes alive, the Dawgs need to take care of business against a talented Auburn group that returned a lot of talent from its impressive 2017 team.

And Georgia became very familiar with that 2017 team. Auburn and Georgia met twice last season, once in a mid-November matchup on the Plains, and then again three weeks later in the SEC Championship. Auburn may have one the first meeting, but the Dawgs got the one that counted, leaving a sour taste in the Tigers’ mouths.

“Obviously, it’s the first time in a long time, probably ever, that we’ve played them three times, in what really amounts to a calendar year,” Smart said. “And these guys have a good football team.”

The strength of this team is certainly the defensive line, which is solid against the run and ranks eighth in the nation in terms of sacks, averaging 3.22 sacks per game.

Derrick Brown, Dontavius Russell, Marlon Davidson, Carl Lawson, Markaviest Bryant.

That’s a lot of talent in the trenches, and Georgia, which is banged up on the offensive line, will need to figure something out to protect Jake Fromm and open up running lanes for the backs.

“When you look at them defensively, they’re loaded up front,” Smart said. “They’ve got a lot of big guys. They’ve got a lot of players who play a lot of snaps. I mean they’re experienced across the board.”

For Georgia, the Bulldogs may be playing the wrong team at the wrong time, as their offensive line is dealing with some injuries to a few of its key players.

Overall, Georgia’s o-line has played pretty well this season, but right now it’s a banged up crew.

Starting guard Ben Cleveland has not played since breaking his fibula against Missouri, though he did dress out last week and Smart said he probably could have played if needed.

True freshman offensive lineman Cade Mays “had a stinger” according to Smart and will practice in non-contact drills. His status remains up in the air.

Starting tackle Andrew Thomas has been playing with an injured ankle as well that has hindered him often.

Starting center Lamont Gaillard hyperextended his knee against Kentucky, and Smart said he is hopeful that Gaillard can return for Auburn. He will start the week in a limited role in practice. Freshman Trey Hill filled in for Gaillard last weekend, and though he did play solid for the most part, there was an errant snap that went over Fromm’s head and resulted in a lost fumble.

Georgia has done a good job of keeping Fromm on his feet this season. UGA ranks 30th in the nation in sacks allowed, at just 1.44 per game. Now, against a team that averages 3.22 sacks per game, expect offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to run plays with the goal of having Fromm release the rock quickly.

Georgia’s rushing offense is among the nation’s best, ranking 17th in the country and putting up 233 yards per game on the ground. Last week, the Dawgs drained Kentucky over the course of 331 rushing yards.

Auburn’s rushing defense ranks the same as Kentucky’s does, sitting at 33rd in the nation with both allowing 132 yards per game on the ground.

Georgia’s going to need to do everything it can to protect Fromm all night against an Auburn defensive front that has at least three future NFL players.

Latest

More UGAwire
Home