No. 25 Georgia Bulldogs (6-3 SU, 1-7-1 ATS) vs. No. 7 Auburn Tigers (9-1 SU, 8-2 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date and Time: Saturday November 16th, 2013. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA +4/AUB -4
Over/Under Total: 62.5
An important SEC showdown awaits inside Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday
when the no. 7 Auburn Tigers host the no. 25 Georgia
Bulldogs. Auburn has had a surprisingly strong run this season
under first year head coach Gus Malzahn, the former Tigers’ offensive coordinator
from 2009-2011. Not only has Auburn posted an impressive 9-1 SU mark but
they have climbed from the depths of the unranked, to their current no.
7 spot in the polls. If the Tigers can pull out another win this weekend
over Georgia, it would set the stage for a huge meeting with Alabama in
the Iron Bowl with the SEC West Division title on the line.
The visiting Bulldogs also have SEC Championship implications on the line this Saturday. Georgia is in a must win situation to stay alive in the SEC East race. The Bulldogs were riddled with injuries during the mid part of the year but are starting to regain their early season form. Running back Todd Gurley is back after missing 3 straight games previously which has really helped the offense regain momentum. Gurley carried the ball 17 times for 100 yards with a touchdown in Georgia’s big win over Florida 23-20 and he will be an important instrument to the Bulldogs offense again this week.
Auburn’s defense has not been too impressive against the run allowing 155 yards per game. Therefore if Gurley gets the ground game going, it will definitely make things easier on quarterback Aaron Murray. Despite being one of the better throwing quarterbacks in the SEC (2,196 yards, 18 TDs, 6 picks), Murray does not have a true ‘go-to’ guy in the passing game. The key for Georgia is staying out of obvious passing situations which I think can only be accomplished if Gurley runs the ball well. Those types of passing situations led to several turnovers in Georgia’s two SEC losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt. Needless to say, Georgia cannot afford to turn the ball over on the road in a hostile environment against a team like Auburn if they are going to pull out a victory.
Perhaps the most important task for Georgia this Saturday, will be stopping the run on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs have been solid against the run thus far this season allowing just 120 yards per game which currently ranks 20th in the FBS. However, Auburn’s offense is currently 3rd in rushing as they average an impressive 320 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Nick Marshall had a huge game last week rushing for 214 yards in a big road victory against Tennessee. Marshall had two touchdowns and averaged over 15 yards each time he tucked the ball away. Running back Tre Mason added 117 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground as the Tigers stomped Tennessee 55.23.
Marshall and Mason alone have combined to run for more than 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Coach Malzahn believes Marshall can be an effective passer but even admitted last week that the Tigers have not been forced to throw the ball. Remember the old saying if it is not broke, don’t fix it? Well Auburn has definitely been able to run the ball with ease and it will be interesting to see if they can keep a similar pace against the Bulldogs this Saturday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am a bit baffled by this line considering how well Auburn is playing and how unimpressive Georgia has been. I guess the thinking here is Georgia does a good job of stopping the run but I am simply not buying it. The Tigers are playing well in every facet of the game. Last week the Auburn special teams set an NCAA record by averaging 44.85 yards over 7 kick and punt returns. Not to mention the Tigers defense has been very respectable in recent weeks. Add to the fact, Georgia is just 1-7-1 ATS this season and I just do not see any way the Bulldogs pull this one out. Take Auburn -4!
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