Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers Preview: Hello, Todd Gurley


Regardless of where you fall on the scale when questioning if the Georgia Bulldogs are “still alive in the College Football Playoff” discussion, there is a big game on the horizon in Athens on Saturday evening. The Auburn Tigers invade Sanford Stadium for a primetime kick-off on national television, and the atmosphere should be electric between the hedges. Let’s take a look at what to expect on the field.

Opponent: Auburn Tigers

Time/TV: 7:15 pm ET, ESPN

Georgia Offense vs. Auburn Defense

The visiting Tigers have allowed 30 or more points in four consecutive games, and that provides some real optimism toward the UGA offense. In addition, the Bulldogs have been flying high on that side of the ball, averaging 43 points per game (7th in the nation), and Georgia will be adding arguably the best player in college football in the form of Todd Gurley.

Gurley’s triumphant return is important, simply because he is every bit as good as advertised. The junior running back has 773 rushing yards in only five games this season, and even with Nick Chubb’s incredible play in his absence, Todd Gurley is a different animal altogether. Auburn has been reasonably effective against the run, allowing only 129.4 yards per game (29th in the country), but the Tigers haven’t seen a diverse rushing offense to this degree, and when Nick Chubb is your “change of pace” back, that is a scary proposition.

Through the air, Hutson Mason has been playing much better, and Auburn is ugly against the pass. The Tigers are just 102nd in the country in pass defense at 256.9 yards allowed per game, and with UGA now boasting a full compliment of receivers (in addition to Gurley and the backs), Mason has a myriad of targets to play with in this spot.

Auburn does have athletes on the defensive side of the ball, but if there is anything to “worry about” for Georgia in this game, the offense isn’t it.

Georgia Defense vs. Auburn Offense

Nick Marshall, who (of course) is a former Bulldog, captains an explosive offense for the Tigers. Auburn is 8th in the country in rushing, averaging 286.4 yards per game, and in addition to Marshall and his 698 rushing yards from the quarterback position, Cameron Artis-Payne is one of the more underrated backs in America. Both Marshall and Artis Payne have exceeded five yards per carry for the season, and while Jeremy Pruitt’s defense ranks near the middle of the pack nationally against the run, it is tough to erase memories of the Florida game in this respect.

Fortunately, Marshall isn’t quite the passer that can give UGA fits, and even if he was, the Bulldogs rank in the top 20 nationally against the pass. Sammie Coates and D’Haquille Williams are two more than capable pass catchers for Auburn, but in the same breath, the pass rush could give Marshall issues throughout the game, and the Tigers will likely only rely on their passing game when backed into a corner.

Auburn is capable of putting up points in a hurry, but provided that UGA can control the clock with their own running game, that risk is mitigated to some degree.


Georgia is considered the “favorite” in this spot, based on the home-field, but the majority of Bulldog Nation does not feel entirely comfortable in this spot. Auburn is very dangerous, and while the Georgia Bulldogs have looked very, very good at times in recent weeks, it will take an “A”-level effort to dispatch of one of the best teams in the country, regardless of the venue that hosts the action.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!