No. 5 Georgia has SEC East locked up but eyes CFP vs Auburn
Auburn (6-3, 3-3 SEC, No. 24 CFP) at No. 5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1, No. 5 CFP), 7 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Georgia by 14.
Series record: Georgia leads 58-56-8.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Georgia has already clinched a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game but probably needs to win out during the regular season to ensure itself a chance to reach the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row. Auburn could put a new spin on a disappointing season by knocking off its foe in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry.
Georgia’s running back duo vs. Auburn’s defense. D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield both rushed for more than 100 yards in last week’s SEC East-clinching victory over Kentucky, leading the Bulldogs to a season-high 331 yards on the ground. Georgia, which leads the SEC in rushing (233.8 yards per game), will be looking to control the clock with its ground game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Auburn: RB JaTarvious Whitlow (or whoever plays at running back). The Tigers have struggled mightily to run the ball behind a shaky offensive line, and they’re coming off a dismal 19-yard performance against Texas A&M, the worst of the season.
Georgia: OLB D’Aandre Walker. The team’s most effective pass rusher (five sacks, no one else has more than one) also leads the Bulldogs with three forced fumbles.
FACTS & FIGURES
This rivalry began in 1892, with the only breaks caused by world wars in 1917-18, as well as 1943. It is tied for the fourth-most meetings of any series in college football. ... Georgia QB Jake Fromm has completed 67.7 percent of his passes, giving him a shot at eclipsing the school record of 67.9 percent set by Huston Mason in 2014. ... Auburn has totaled 11 sacks in its last two games, including five against Texas A&M. ... The Tigers have started four players in their search for a go-to running back. ... Sixteen players have caught at least one pass for Georgia, led by Riley Ridley with 30 receptions for 411 yards and five TDs. Six players have been on the end of at least 10 completions. ... WR Ryan Davis is just one catch away from becoming Auburn’s career leader with receptions. His 152 catches are topped only by Courtney Taylor, who played from 2003-06.