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Homecoming 2017: UGA vs Mizzou

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Image by Field Street Forum

The 1-4 Missouri Tigers head to Sanford Stadium this Saturday night for their 3rd meeting in Athens and 7th overall. The Bulldogs hold a 5-1 series lead, including three straight victories over the Tigers. Look no further than last year in Columbia when Georgia rallied for a 28-27 win behind the heroics of true freshman Quarterback Jacob Eason throwing a game-winning 20-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie on 4th & 10. Though, things are different this time around. Jake Fromm, another true freshman Quarterback, is leading the Dawgs offense this year due to Jacob Eason’s injury as well as his play during this 6-0 start.
Something else that is different is the trajectory of these two programs, Missouri is trending downward after getting blown out by South Carolina in year two of Muschamp, Purdue in year one of Jeff Brohm after being a dumpster fire for several years, and finally Auburn whom many were questioning Gus Malzahn after their offensive performances against Clemson (6 points) & Mercer (24 points). To put into perspective, Auburn scored 51 points at Missouri, or more than twice what they scored at home against Mercer (24). All of this was after Barry Odom fired his defensive Coordinator DeMontie Cross on September 11th against South Carolina. It has caused some Missouri fans to already contemplate Odom’s future in year two, while on the other end of the spectrum Georgia fans are thrilled with Kirby Smart’s year two. Georgia’s offensive line is playing much better than it was during this matchup last year in Columbia. In addition, Georgia’s secondary is playing fundamentally sound with very few breakdowns like you saw in last year’s game. I do not expect Mizzou QB Drew Lock to throw for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns like he did last year.
Though, the main key to ensure a Georgia victory is to eliminate the Drew Lock to J’Mon Moore connection. Missouri does not matchup with Georgia from a talent standpoint, but this one connection can keep the Tigers in the game like it did last year when they connected for 8 catches 196 yards and 2 TD’s. If Georgia can shut this option down, I do not see how Missouri can win this game. Their talent level has significantly diminished from the Gary Pinkel teams of 2013 & 2014. On the other side, one could argue the 2017 Georgia team is more talented than the 2013 & 2014 Bulldog teams. That being said, I see this game being over by the third Quarter on Saturday night, with Georgia winning 48-13.
God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA @Van 2017

For the first time since the 2005 season, Georgia will travel to Nashville to face Vanderbilt, 5-0. Dawg fans can only hope for a similar outcome to the 2005 team that was also ranked #5 & 5-0 with SEC wins over Mississippi State (23-10) and Tennessee (27-14) in back to back games going into that October 15, 2005 matchup. Georgia went on to win that ballgame 34-17 against the Dores and carried that momentum all the way to an upset win the SEC Championship over LSU 34-14. So, looking at the 2017 team, who also comes into this game winning their last two games against Mississippi State & Tennessee, it is essential for Georgia to follow the same path as the last SEC Championship team.
The first thing that is similar is how well this secondary runs to the football to gang tackle the opposing players. Malkom Parrish, Aaron Davis, Deandre Baker, & company are the best tackling secondary I’ve seen since the 2005 Dawgs of Greg Blue, Tim Jennings, Demario Minter, and others. Also, this is the deepest/most experienced healthy backfield in my opinion since 2005 with Thomas Brown, Danny Ware, & Kregg Lumpkin. Finally, the Special Teams area is very similar to the 2005 team. Rodrigo Blankenship resembles Brandan Coutu, as well as Cameron Nizialek punting as well as Gordon Ely-Kelso did.
Given these similarities I expect Georgia to be motivated for this game. Yes, it’s a noon kickoff which can be tough to be energized for, but let us not forget Vanderbilt came into Athens last year and beat UGA 17-16 even though the Dawgs outgained Vandy 421-171 in total yards. Plus, it looks like this team is focused on not having a letdown like previous Georgia teams. Kirby Smart knows it is his job to not allow complacency, making sure that this team is not satisfied where they’re at right now. I believe Smart will continue doing a good job of this, with the team having another impressive performance. I see the final score being 34-7 Georgia with the defense finally giving up a touchdown in SEC play but still dominating.
God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

Georgia @ Tennessee 2017

IMG_2196Picture posted by Georgia Football Twitter Account

For the first time since 1995, Georgia will play at Neyland Stadium before October. The Dawgs and Vols will be meeting for the 47th time, Tennessee leading the series 23-21-2 thanks to two straight victories in the series. Though, it is Georgia that comes into this game with all of the momentum, 4-0 including last week’s win over #17 Mississippi State. While Tennessee enters the game 3-1, surviving against lowly UMass last week 17-13. That should not matter this weekend though, as every game between these two programs since 2011 has been decided by 8 points or less.
Given that stat, it is fitting that the Vegas line is Georgia by 7 ½, but for Georgia to become 5-0 they must do these three things to win. First, Tennessee’s main playmaker is their tailback John Kelly, who comes into the game with 450 yards and 6 touchdowns. So, it is paramount for Georgia to stop Kelly, something they’ve done to the leading rushers in the first four games. The second key for the game is special teams. That is one area that can keep the Vols in the game, just like it did in 2013. Georgia clearly had the better team that day, but a blocked punt for a Touchdown for Tennessee in the third quarter helped them stay in the game before losing to Georgia in Overtime. Therefore, it is important for Rodrigo Blankenship to continue notching touchbacks on kickoffs and Cameron Nizialek to continue his 44.5 yard average on punts to flip the field position. Finally, if Georgia can continue to run the football for over 200 yards in a game, they can control time of possession and grind out a win on the road. Tennessee has the worst rush defense in the SEC, though that is skewed somewhat due to facing Georgia Tech’s triple option in the opening game.
Come Saturday night around 8 PM when the game is over, I expect Georgia to prevail with a 27-14 win. My hope is for Nick Chubb to be the focal point of the game, having a stat line along the lines of 31 carries 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is returning to Neyland Stadium 2 years after his devastating knee injury on the first play, so here’s to hoping he gets the final laugh.
God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

Dawgs vs Dogs of Miss.St 2017

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Picture from t-shirts passed out to students at Ramsey center Thursday night.

For the first time in six years, the two SEC schools that associate themselves as Bulldogs will meet on the football field. A lot has changed since these two teams last met, on October 1, 2011 at Sanford Stadium. For example, the SEC has seen two members added to the conference: Missouri and Texas A&M). In addition, Alabama has claimed all 3 of the national championships for the SEC. Though, looking at Mississippi State as a football program, they’ve seen a series of great moments. The 2014 season will always be remembered by MSU fans, as College Gameday came to Starkville for the first time, beating Auburn which lead to being ranked #1 for multiple weeks. This was culminated by a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl, heading to Miami for the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech.
Looking back on the 2011 matchup, Georgia started off strong with an early touchdown pass from Quarterback Aaron Murray to high school teammate Orson Charles. Things were all Georgia the first half, as they built up a 21-3 halftime lead after a Malcom Mitchell touchdown catch as well as a Carlton Thomas 7- yard rushing touchdown. Georgia relied on burning the clock in the second half and safely secured a 24-10 victory over Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs. Though, it must be noted that Dan Mullen has the only Mississippi State victory over Georgia since 1974. Which happened the previous year on September 25, 2010 in Starkville with MSU winning 24-12.
Just like 2010, Mullen’s 2017 team comes into this game with a lot of confidence after beating #12 LSU badly last week, 37-7 in Starkville. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has a ton of confidence in his second year starting and would love to come into Athens and beat the team he grew up cheering for. (From Richmond Hill, GA) Fitzgerald is known a dual threat QB, which Mullen is known for coaching to their fullest potential. (Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott) On the flip side, Kirby Smart’s defenses have struggled with mobile Quarterbacks during his time at Alabama & Georgia. For example, (Johnny Manziel, Nick Marshall, Tim Tebow, Chad Kelly). Given these examples, it will be crucial for Roquan Smith & Natrez Patrick to act as a spy on Fitzgerald, containing him from getting to the outside. Georgia did a very good job of this two weeks ago in South Bend against Brandon Wimbush. To put it in perspective, Wimbush rushed for 1 yard against Georgia while having 106 & 207 yards in the other two games this season. Georgia’s ability to cover from sideline to sideline as well as Trent Thompson & company’s ability to stuff the middle is why I believe Georgia has the slight advantage in this game. This will be Jake Fromm’s first action in SEC play, but the return of Sony Michel as well as the emergence of Terry Godwin & Javon Wims is why I believe Georgia wins a tight game 24-20.
God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA vs Samford 2017

This weekend the Georgia Bulldogs return to the familiar confines of Sanford Stadium to continue non-conference play against the fellow bulldogs of Samford University. Samford is a football team that comes from Birmingham, Alabama with a 2-0 record: wins against Kennesaw State 28-23 & West Alabama 49-41 (CBS Sports). They are most known for Bobby Bowden playing there, though current Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher played for Samford as well.
Samford is led by head coach Chris Hatcher, a man in his third year with the Bulldogs after stints that included Valdosta State & Georgia Southern. In fact, Dawgnation wrote an article alluding to Kirby Smart starting his coaching career under Hatcher at Valdosta State in 2000. The article also notes how Kirby was referred for the job by former teammate Will Muschamp, receiving a salary of $8,000, compared to making over $8,000 per day at UGA now.
Given that Georgia is playing a FCS program, there are not any areas you look at and say Georgia must win this battle to win the game. Instead, most fans and the coaches view today’s game as an opportunity to clean up areas that are struggling. First, not having 127 yards in penalties like last week against Notre Dame is a start. I’ve never seen six hands to face/facemask penalties by one team in a game before. Another area for improvement is catching the football, not just the wide receivers but also the defensive backs, as Georgia dropped two potential pick sixes last week and have zero interceptions through two games. Finally, Georgia’s offensive line during run blocking plays needs to improve. They are still struggling to open holes as well as missing their assignments. Evidenced twice last week on third and short situations, where the left side of the line missed the Notre Dame defensive end.

A 7:30 kickoff should allow fans yet another Saturday of extended tailgating, something Georgia fans haven’t experience with 3 or more consecutive night games since 1994 (UGASPORTS.com). The coaches and fans hope the game will be out of reach by the third quarter so that the younger guys can get meaningful snaps to showcase themselves. Though, I have a feeling the starters will still be in the game during the 4th Quarter. Under Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney, Georgia has yet to score over 35 points in a game during his 15 games as coach at Georgia. Those 35 points occurred against Louisiana Lafayette last year and 7 of those 35 points came by a punt return, not an offensive score. Fans are hopeful this is the game Georgia finally scores over 40 points for the first time in 25 games (48-6 vs Southern in 2015) though I’m under the “I’ll see it when I believe it”. I see the final score being a Georgia win along the lines of 35-7.

God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA @ Notre Dame 2017

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Picture From UGA Football Live Twitter Account

September 9th, 2017 at 7:30 PM in South Bend, Indiana: Georgia @ Notre Dame, a game that has been circled on the calendars of Georgia fans since the home and home series was announced in June 2014, is finally upon us. For many Dawg fans, this game was viewed as a once in a lifetime trip to one of college football’s most iconic stadiums. From Touchdown Jesus, to the Golden Dome, and of course the Play Like A Champion Sign, Notre Dame has a certain prestige that few programs can match. Also, acknowledge the fact that these two programs have only met on the gridiron once before; a thrilling 17-10 victory for Georgia on January 1, 1981 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans where Georgia claimed the 1980 National Championship. A game where Scott Woerner intercepted two passes, Herschel Walker scored two rushing touchdowns, and one crucial fumbled kickoff return by Notre Dame on their own one-yard line. If Georgia wants to win this time around, it will most likely need a different recipe for success.

True Freshman Quarterback Jake Fromm has unexpectedly been handed the keys to the starting job this weekend in South Bend. As you all know, Jacob Eason sprained his LCL in the first quarter last week against App State, resulting in Fromm subbing in to throw for 143 yards and 1 touchdown. Though, this week will likely present Fromm’s toughest challenge in his entire athletic career. Any first start is difficult, but few have been of the likes of a primetime game in front of 77,000 fans on the road at night. Some Quarterbacks have had successful wins in their first start being on the road, Hutson Mason: UGA at Georgia Tech 2013, Matt Flynn: LSU at Mississippi State 2007, while others have struggled, Jordan Jefferson: LSU at Arkansas 2008, Brad Kaaya: Miami at Louisville 2014, Cole Stoudt: Clemson at Georgia 2014 to name a few. So, what does Fromm have to do join the first category rather than the latter? First, I think Fromm must manage the game from the standpoint of knowing the plays and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. The crowd will be deafening, unlike anything he heard playing high school football in Warner Robins. Second, I think it’s important for Fromm to use up-tempo offense where he can get in rhythm throwing short patterns like the slant route from last week. Finally, Fromm must be disciplined with his eyes during his progressions. There cannot be any instances on locking in on his first target like last week, because triple coverage against Notre Dame results in an interception, not a touchdown like App State.

Obviously, there are other units from Georgia that must play well, in fact it is most likely necessary for them elevate their play to take the load of Fromm’s shoulders. It all starts up front with Georgia’s offensive line, because without them opening holes for Chubb and Michel, Georgia has no shot of winning. It is still unknown whether Right Guard Solomon Kindley will play, if not Georgia will rely on two upperclassman Kendall Baker or Dyshon Sims. Georgia should have the advantage in this area, as Notre Dame is breaking in new defensive lineman as well as their Coordinator Mike Elko from Wake Forest. Yes, their first game was against Temple, but all reports are the defense looked improved from last year’s D Coordinator Brian VanGorder (former UGA D Coordinator 2001-2004)

Finally, instead of doing keys to the game; I’m going to focus on something no sports analyst I’ve seen, has brought up this week regarding Fromm starting. Fromm is a similar quarterback to what Georgia has had for the last 15 years, under center utilizing play-action pass with occasional shotgun work. That contrasts what Eason did in high school in Washington as well as most of last year, having Chubb run from the shotgun mainly. Having watched Nick Chubb, the last 3 ½ seasons I can say very confidently he does a lot better from the I-formation with a fullback in front of him. I believe there is a reason, last year, Chubb’s best game was his 222 yards 2 touchdown performance in the opener at the Georgia Dome against North Carolina. Do you know who started that game? Greyson Lambert, a

Quarterback who lined up under center with Christian Payne right behind him most of the game. Yes, Eason threw the ball better in that game which helped prompt him into the starting role from there on out, but I firmly believe Chubb having to alter his style to running primarily out of the shotgun caused his per rush average to go from 8 yards to 5 after that game. So, with a Quarterback under center more frequently this upcoming Saturday, I would not be surprised to see an improved rushing attack from Chubb, topping at least 100 yards.

Yes, Georgia will be losing ground at the Quarterback spot in experience this Saturday, but I firmly believe this small change in formation could be the key ingredient to Georgia upsetting the Irish on Saturday night. Notre Dame right now is favored by 4 ½ points in Vegas, though the line has moved down from 6 ½ from Tuesday. With that being said, my head tells me Georgia will find a way to win, but my heart knows it’s very difficult to insert a true freshman Quarterback on the road for his first start and win. I see Notre Dame winning the game along the lines of 21-13. Obviously, I hope I am wrong, having invested time and money to fly north this weekend to see the Dawgs play at Notre Dame Stadium in person. No matter what, I am excited to see this historic campus and stadium under the lights. It will be a once in a lifetime trip, so I am going to soak it all in with all the other Georgia fans who are making the trip.

God Bless & Go Dawgs!

Tyler Agee

UGA vs Appalachian State 2017

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Photo by ESPN

The 2017 football season kicks off for the Georgia Bulldogs under the lights this Saturday evening against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at 6:15 pm. In fact, this will be Georgia’s first opening home game to start after 6pm since the 2007 opening game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, which the Dawgs won 35-14. Starting that day for Georgia at Quarterback, was a true sophomore Matthew Stafford, a five-star recruit who had an up and down freshman season. Stafford went 18/24 for 234 yards and 2 passing touchdowns that day against the Cowboys a decade ago. The reason for mentioning this is ten years later Georgia is in a similar predicament. Again, the starting Quarterback for the Dawgs will be a true sophomore quarterback who was a five-star recruit in high school: Jacob Eason. Comparing numbers, Eason had a better freshman campaign, 16 passing touchdowns to Stafford’s 7, 8 interceptions to Stafford’s 13, and yards, 2,430 to 1,749. Though the one area Stafford has the edge was a 9-4 record, including 3 straight victories over ranked opponents (at #5 Auburn, #16 Georgia Tech, & vs #14 Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl) to Eason’s 8-5 record.

On Saturday against the Mountaineers Eason should face an easier opponent than Stafford did ten years ago, though App State should not be taken lightly. As everyone knows, the same day Stafford beat Oklahoma State, Appalachian State had the college football upset of the century with a 34-32 win at the Big House over #5 Michigan. As well as last year, as App State almost beat #9 Tennessee in Neyland Stadium, losing in Overtime 20-13. Coming into this year, App State returns 6 starters on defense that only allowed 18 points a game last year headlined by Eric Boggs who posted 3 INT’s. In addition, their offense is headlined by senior Quarterback Taylor Lamb, who is from Georgia and whose Grandfather worked in the Georgia Athletic Department for many years. Lamb is 27-5 as a starter, with experience playing in SEC stadium environments, so it’s crucial for Georgia to take this player and team seriously.

To piggyback off that, the three keys to the game must start with Georgia’s offensive line. It has been the most talked about unit this offseason as there will be three new starters on the offensive line. Left Tackle is set with Isaiah Wynn, a two-year starter, followed by new Left Guard Pat Allen out of Maryland, Lamont Gaillard at Center moving over from Right Guard, New Right Guard Solomon Kindley or Dyshon Sims, and Right Tackle true freshman Andrew Thomas. The reason for mentioning these five big uglies is if Georgia can’t get the run game going with Chubb & Michel, it opens the door for App State to control the time of possession and stay in the game. The second key is turnover margin, as in any game. Just use App State’s first game last year, where Tennessee fumbled the ball in Overtime but recovered it in the endzone for a touchdown, that ended up being the difference in the upset quest. Finally, Georgia’s defensive line push needs to be up to par on Saturday. Georgia’s defensive line is expected to be a strength with Trent Thompson poised for a potential All-American season as a junior after a three-sack performance in the bowl game against TCU. Though, App State has a more balanced offense approach compared to the horned frogs, averaging 251 yards rushing last year.

With all that being said, I expect Georgia to be focused for the first game as they finally get to play an opponent after a long 9-month hiatus. The Vegas point spread is 13 ½ points and I expect Georgia to cover, winning 34-17 in a game where the starters should play into the 4th quarter.

God Bless & Go Dawgs!

Tyler Agee

UGA vs GT 2016

For the 111th time, the Georgia Bulldogs will face off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for the state title of best team. For Georgia, it is about the seniors last game at Sanford Stadium and wanting to go out with a win. For Georgia Tech, it is about reclaiming the Governor’s Cup trophy and winning in Athens for a second straight time. Both teams come into the game with a 7-4 record as well as well as going 4-4 in conference play. In addition, the Dawgs and Yellow Jackets have each faced two common opponents on their schedule this far, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Georgia and Tech each went 1-1 in those games, winning against the opposite teams. Georgia opened their year with a 33-24 win against North Carolina while Tech lost in Chapel Hill to the Tar Heels 48-20. On the other hand, Tech beat Vanderbilt at home 38-7 while Georgia lost 17-16 back in October.
Looking at the series history of the Dawgs and Jackets, Georgia has done well in this series of late. Winning 13 of the last 15 meetings or 20 of the last 25 games. During that span, Georgia has two separate 7 game winning streaks (1991-1997 and 2001-2007). Though it should be noted that 4 of Georgia Tech’s 5 wins since 1991 have come at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Including the last meeting in 2014, with Tech winning in Overtime 30-24. It happened after Tech kicker Harrison Butker kicking a game-tying 53 yard field goal at the end of regulation and Georgia Quarterback Hutson Mason throwing a pick in Overtime to seal the victory for Tech. Last year’s game in Atlanta was a low-scoring affair with Georgia prevailing 13-7 behind Sony Michel’s 149 yard performance and Georgia’s defense forcing 3 turnovers. The last play of the game was a Malkom Parrish interception, which ended up being the last play for head coach Mark Richt, finishing 13-2 in the state rivalry. For Kirby Smart to have similar success, let us look at the 3 keys to the game.
The first key will be Georgia’s ability to control time of possession much like the Auburn game, in fact Georgia Tech’s defense is on the field for an average of 10 more plays a game than their offense. So, Georgia’s ability to convert third downs to keep the chains moving will prevent Justin Thomas and company from finding a rhythm. It also helps that Georgia Tech’s offense is 112th in the country in first downs, with only 195 on the season. The second key will be Georgia’s ability to contain Tech’s A backs which line up on the edge. Georgia has done well on stuffing the run up the middle but not so much on the edge. Tech’s motions with their A backs can cause confusion, especially when both run to the same side as one acts as a lead blocker for the other. So, Georgia will need good games from both Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter in order to win. Finally, Georgia needs to continue to do well in the passing game against Tech, who has the 88th pass defense in the country as well as being 108th in the country in sacks with only 16. Look for Eason to connect with Riley Ridley and Javon Wims on the deep ball, both whom Eason is more comfortable with in the 12th game.
With all of that being said, I expect both teams to run the ball a lot, meaning the clock will be running more, thus each possession is crucial. The line for the game is 4 ½ for Georgia which seems about right, look for Georgia to win a close ballgame 21-17 and improve to 8-4 on the regular season. With a win against Tech, Georgia would improve to 2-2 on the season against their 4 biggest rivals (Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Tech). Georgia has beaten at least 2 of the 4 in every year since 2001, so Georgia needs a victory on Saturday to keep the streak alive. In fact, it would be the 4th time in the last ten years (2006, 2009, 2015, & 2016) that Georgia would start off 0-2 (losses to Tennessee and Florida) and finish 2-0 (wins against Auburn and Tech). So lets hope Kirby Smart starts off on the right foot and beats Georgia Tech in his first year.

God Bless and Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA vs ULL

For the second straight week, the Louisiana Lafayette Rajin Cajuns travel to the state of Georgia for their game. Last week, Lafayette won down in Statesboro 33-26 against the Georgia Southern Eagles. The number two is a common theme here, as this will be the second matchup between these schools all-time. The previous meeting was to kick off the 2010 season, with UGA winning 55-7 in Aaron Murray’s first game as Quarterback. Finally, two of Louisiana Lafayette’s losses this year have come in multiple overtimes, so they are just a few plays away from being over .500 rather than 4-5 overall.

Now to the keys of the game, the main key will be the secondary of Georgia limiting the Rajin Cajuns in the vertical passing game. Quarterback Anthony Jennings has seen his fair share of SEC defenses, having been the former starting quarterback of LSU. Jennings number one target is Wide Receiver Keenan Barnes, who already has 6 touchdowns on the year. So look for Malkom Parrish to cover Barnes as much as possible to eliminate that threat. The second key will be Georgia’s ability to call plays away from Cajuns Freshman Linebacker Joe Dillion, who already has 6 sacks on the season. He’s arguably the best middle linebacker Georgia has faced since Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, and we all know how that turned out. Finally, Georgia will need to continue to stuff the run up the middle. Louisiana Lafayette’s leading Tailback is only averaging 4.8 yards per carry. So if the Dawgs continue their positive trend of late, I do not see this being a very close game unlike every other game this year. There is room to be cautious, as Georgia only beat Nicholls State by 2, but I think Georgia will be more focused this time around for a noon kick. I see Georgia winning this game by a score of 35-14. Hopefully the fans enjoy seeing the black jerseys for the first time since the 2008 Alabama game, and lets hope the outcome is far better than that night.

God Bless and Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA vs Auburn 2016

Before we talk football, I hope we all remember this is Veterans Day weekend, so thank you to all of the men and women who have served in our military. Festivities for veterans day weekend include a flyover before the game which is always a very cool moment.

Now to the game, the Georgia Bulldogs welcome a top ten opponent in the Auburn Tigers to Sanford Stadium. A place the visiting Tigers/War Eagle/Plainsmen/whatever mascot has not won since the 2005 game. In that game the Tigers converted a 4th and 10 to Wide Receiver Devin Aromashadu who took the ball all the way to the Georgia one yard line. The Tigers converted a game winning field goal to win 31-30, though the Dawgs clinched the SEC East the next week. For the more recent meetings, Georgia has won the last two games against Auburn. Last year at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Georgia came from behind in the second half to win 20-13 behind two Isaiah McKenzie touchdowns. That win catapulted Georgia to the lead in the all-time series 56-55-8. Winning ten of the last fifteen matchups against Auburn helped Georgia catch up. The most famous of those ten wins this century would have to be the 2007 game where Georgia ran out in black jerseys for the first time. That was the loudest I’ve ever heard Sanford Stadium as the Dawgs fed of their energy to win 45-20 behind tailback Knowshon Moreno’s two touchdowns.

Now towards this matchup, the biggest key will be Georgia’s ability to load the box to stop Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway. Pettway has run for at least 123 yards in every game he has played in except the LSU game. Georgia will have to force Sean White to beat them through the air. The second key will be Georgia’s ability to convert touchdowns in the red zone. Last week against Kentucky Georgia had to settle for 3 field goals, which will not cut it against Auburn, who has the 16th best red zone defense in America. Finally, Jacob Eason is going to have to convert the deep ball this game. Auburn’s Defensive Line is stout, so they’ll be stuffing Nick Chubb and Sony Michel I expect based on Georgia’s Offensive Line. So Eason will have to win this game on his own, even if he doesn’t convert them all, hopefully Auburn will be called for a few pass interferences. Auburn is 6th in the country in fewest penalty yards per game so hopefully Eason will exploit them this week.

When it’s all said and done, I expect Auburn to cover the spread of ten points and win 31-20. I think Georgia has been doing well on the interior rush defense but expect Pettway to follow his tendency to bounce it outside and break a few long runs. I fully expect Auburn to control the time of possession and put the game away in the second half. If Georgia does lose, it would be the first time since 1962 that Georgia has not won a SEC home game in a season. That type of statistic does not speak well of Kirby Smart’s first year as head coach as well as the overall state of the program. As always, I hope I am wrong when I pick against Georgia, but my faith in the upset happening is only about 20%.

God Bless and Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee