It’s Georgia Week on The Plains … Beat Them UGaly Dogs!
Since 1892, the first year college football was played in the deep South, two SEC teams lock up in combat every November. The Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs have been playing this game for 120 years and are two of the nation’s most storied programs. With an all time record of 54-54-8, their rivalry couldn’t be any closer.
And this is the Week the rivalry is renewed. Yes it’s “Georgia Week” on The Plains. Time for all Auburn people to get their game faces on! Even though the two schools have big in state rivals, there is still nothing like the South’s Oldest Rivalry. This game has always been a war and is noted for one of the hardest hitting battles in the SEC.
With a 120 years of history, usually a fourth of Auburn’s roster made up of players from Georgia, and championship implications often on the line for one or both teams; the game has more often than not been a high-stakes event.
Twenty times SEC and Divisional Championships have come down to which team wins this game. And this year has those same implications. Which ever team wins this one stays in contention for a championship, with the loser being effectively eliminated from the race.
Although Georgia week in Auburn is always special, this year is even more important for the Tigers. With the exception of 2010, Georgia has owned the series the last seven years. That’s why Auburn people (like yours truly) are looking forward to getting the dogs between our own hedges. It’s time for some payback!
That’s especially true since the Dogs laid an embarrassing 38-0 butt whipping on the Tigers last season. But that was then and this is now. This season has truly been a “New Day” for Auburn Football.
The No.7 Tigers have the No.1 rushing offense in the SEC (3rd in the nation). Averaging 38.6 points per game they are second in the league in total offense with 493.3 yards. First in red zone offense, the Tigers score 89.19 percent of the time when they get inside the 20. In addition Tre Mason is a 1,000 yard rusher who leads the conference with 117.7 yards per game average and Nick Marshall ranks fourth in the country among quarterbacks rushing with 734 yards.
There has been a lot made over only15 passes being thrown by the QB’s in the last two games. Yet Marshall has thrown for over 1300 yards and both he and back up Jeremy Johnson have thrown TD’s this year. Wide Receiver Sammie Coates has been the main target, presently ranking second in the SEC with 15.8 yards per catch.
Although the young defense has given up significant yardage between the twenties, the Tiger D is second in the league in the red zone and third in scoring defense (20.1 pts per game). Their 23 sacks is good enough for third place. In addition Robenson Therezie three picks is tied for third place for the most interceptions in the conference.
Even though the Tigers bring an entirely different team to the fight this year it won’t be easy – it never is. Expect this one to be a war. Georgia presents a big challenge for the Tigers. Considered one of the best teams in the nation early on before being hit with a rash of injuries, the Dogs will have several of those guys back; the most important being 6,1- 230 lb. tailback Todd Gurley. Defensive Coordinator, Ellis Johnson said yesterday Gurley, “May be the most physical back in the league.” And of course they have Aaron Murray, the SEC’s all-time leader in touchdown passes.
Added to the story line this year is the fact that Nick Marshall is a former Bulldog and native Georgian. He’s had a good year too but his accomplishments pale in comparison to Georgia’s Murray. Nevertheless, Marshall may have been even more important to the Tigers. Nick has given Auburn the main ingredients missing from last year’s squad – an effective quarterback who exudes calm leadership in the heat of the battle.
So the stage is set for the 121st meeting of the Deep South’s oldest rivalry. It’s “Georgia Week” on The Plains. The players are ready, the coaches are ready, the fans are ready. There is just one thing left to do … Beat them UGaly Dogs!