Auburn has endured the toughest schedule in the country this year, and they currently are ranked 12th with a 7-2 record on the season. According to the eye test, that’s a great mark considering a true freshman is the starting quarterback and is still learning on the job.
However, if you peel back the layer of this offense, there is more than meets the eye. Through their first nine games, Auburn ranks third in rushing yards per game, fifth in total offense, and fifth in points per game. Those statistics aren’t terrible, but it’s not accustomed to what we should see from a Gus Malzahn offense.
After surviving the upset scare from Ole Miss, there is still optimism that Auburn can finish this season strong starting with their next home game against top-10 ranked Georgia.
The main question is, what can the Tigers do to fix their team in preparation for the Bulldogs?
Auburn needs to replicate their 2017 game plan in order to cure their team blues:
- Dominate the ground game: In the game at Jordan-Hare two years ago, the Tigers were able to pound the Bulldogs defense for 237 yards and they were effective running for over five yards per carry. For this upcoming game, it’ll help that Auburn is getting back JaTarvious “Boobie" Whitlow to go along with DJ Williams, who performed well in the absence of Whitlow. By having a tandem like Whitlow and Williams, the Bulldogs should have their hands full.
- Efficient QB play: Georgia was expecting Auburn to run the ball heavily, which they did in 2017, but the Bulldogs weren’t ready for Jarrett Stidham, who completed 69.5 percent of his passes and threw for three touchdowns. Bo Nix has a chance to duplicate that performance as long as he is careful with the ball and is able to utilize deep threats such as Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz.
- Play lights-out defense: This is probably the easiest task for Auburn, as they have been among the conference leaders in points allowed per game. In 2017, the defense was able to smother Georgia’s rushing attack and hold them to 46 yards on the ground. The Tigers have a stout defensive line this year and they’ll need to slow down D'Andre Swift and make Jake Fromm beat them with his arm.
Auburn has had moments of dominance as well as offensive ineptitude this year, so this upcoming game against Georgia will be a measuring stick of whether or not the Tigers are able to get back on the right track of finishing strong with the dream of a New Years Six bowl still looming.