“It’s really nice to win the East two times in a row, but now it’s Auburn.”

Hells yeah, J.R.  Get down to business today.

I’m not sure I can put my finger on why, but I feel much calmer about tonight’s game than I have about the previous two.  Perhaps it’s because despite watching his team pull one out of its collective ass against Texas A&M last week, Gus sounds like an offensive-minded coach who really doesn’t know what his offense is doing.

“You look at the rhythm that we ended the game with. That was pretty good,” Malzahn said. “We weren’t substituting. There’s a fine line there. Sometimes you need to substitute for certain things, sometimes you don’t. If you’re not being successful on offense the worst thing you can go is a fast three-and-out and your defense is back out there. There’s strategy that goes with both and every game unfolds a little bit differently.”

Fast or slow, Auburn’s offense has not helped its defensive counterparts this season. Auburn’s goal was once to run 80 plays per game. The Tigers are averaging 68, including 51 last week against Texas A&M, while ranking 11th in total offense in the SEC.

The Tigers’ pace has not been up to the speed of previous seasons, and yet the slower pace has led to tremendously low possession times for the Tigers. Auburn holds on to the ball for a little more than 26 minutes per game, ranking 125th nationally, the sixth-worst mark in the country.

So why not implement a hurry-up plan with less substitutions if the previous substitution-heavy pattern has not worked?

“You look at everything that goes with it,” Malzahn said. “Third downs has been a focus. Like I said, we didn’t do a very good job on third downs. Staying on the field, that’s really the down that we need to be more effective. In the games that we haven’t done that, it’s been extremely tough to win.”

Actually, he sounds like a guy worried that his offense can’t keep his defense off the field.  And therein lies the rub for my biggest worry, that the Auburn defensive front has its way with Georgia’s banged up offensive line.  It’s hard to have your way for four quarters while your offense is racking up six three-and-outs and eight punts in eleven possessions and keeping your ass on the field way more than you’d like.

It’s gonna be pound and ground for Georgia’s offense today.  (If it ain’t broke, Jim, don’t fix it.)  On the other side of the ball, it’s a pretty good matchup for Georgia’s defense.  Auburn’s offensive line doesn’t scare anyone and that’s had a limiting effect on the Tigers’ running game.  Stidham’s got a great deep arm (that one pass he threw in last year’s SECCG still blows me away), but, as Pro Football Focus explains, that’s not the primary focus of Auburn’s passing attack.

Overall, the Tigers’ average depth of target is 8.1 yards or the 11th-lowest in the FBS. Thus, Auburn’s passing offense greatly depends on yards after the catch (64.4% – third-highest in the FBS) or hitting those deep shots. The Bulldogs have rarely been tested down the field as their aDOT against them is 7.8 yards – second-shortest in the FBS.

That would suggest that the short passing game plays right into Tucker’s bend but not break approach in pass coverage.  So, then, what about the deep ball?

Can Georgia pressure Jarrett Stidham to the point where those deep shots are not possible? The Bulldogs would sure hope so after getting a career-best performance from senior Jonathan Ledbetter (87.8 game grade) to go along with increasing contributions from their talented young players to the tune of 19 total QB pressures against Kentucky. Pressure affects Stidham more than the average quarterback as well, as his 36.9 grade under pressure is in the bottom quarter of FBS quarterbacks. In addition, he was only 3-of-14 for 48 yards against pressure in the two games against the Bulldogs in 2017.

It would help Stidham if Auburn had a good offensive line, but it doesn’t.  Georgia managed four sacks last week and that would seem attainable tonight.

I respect that Auburn defensive front, but overall, I like the way these two match up against each other.  Vegas likes Georgia at home by about two touchdowns tonight.  I think Georgia covers.

It’s your game day thread invite, folks.  Have at it in the comments.  We’ll be at it a while.

101 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

101 responses to ““It’s really nice to win the East two times in a row, but now it’s Auburn.”

  1. PTC DAWG

    F the barn.

    Leave no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ChiliDawg

    We’re going in dry.

    Like

  3. Greg

    Auburn looks to be a pretty good team, I believe those 3 losses are by only an average of a touchdown. They also played LSU within a point. Can’t forget about the rivalry thing…and Auburn has won more in Athens than the Dawgs have & vice versa. As though there is no home field advantage for the home team. Part of me thinks this will close.

    ….and the other part thinks that the Dawgs are just getting better, peaking. I think I am going with a blowout, 3 or more TD’s. Provided that Kirby has their heads on straight & he and staff will not lose their collective minds (see LSU)….😏

    Like

    • gastr1

      I had the feeling that this team started a kind of collective momentum after the Florida game, and the fast start against Kentucky (not what we’ve seen all year) made me feel that even more. I think we ride this wave to big wins over Barn and Fech.

      Like

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      “Auburn looks to be a pretty good team…”
      Um, they lost to Tennessee, making Tennessee’s season; hell, UT couldn’t score more than 14 on Charlotte.

      Auburn has a few pieces, and we need to keep Stidham contained and harassed, and we need to pound the rock. I am confident of a win and I hope we cover, and that the only thing in doubt at the beginning of the 4th quarter is whether Fields gets to throw a pass.

      Like

  4. Angry American

    F them. Let’s hang 50 on them..

    Like

  5. Macallanlover

    We look like the team we hoped for after the LSU loss and bye week, let’s hope they have found their traction as they did after getting beat by Auburn last year. Our offense should be too much against that struggling offense that has tired the defense in several games. The energy our team seems to play at during night games makes me feel we cover the 2 TDs and keep rolling. It would be troubling if we don’t, Auburn has not looked good all year on offense, and the defense hasn’t been what was expected. Similar schore to the FU and Kentucky games is my pick. UGA 38 AU 16 with no injuries is my hope. Go Dawgs!

    Like

  6. illinidawg

    Florida beats SC and had the ball on the goal line to end the game. The Gators went to victory instead of trying to score and the Cocks pulled some chickenshit and teed off on Franks.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      Funny, I had SC +7 and was dead as Boom choked away the game in the 4th Qtr. Mullen saved me with the Victory formation for 3 plays inside the 1 yard line. Was afraid the SC thug over center had cost me the gimmee with his cheap shot by pissing Florida off and them deciding to score a TD instead of showing the Cocks mercy. Whew!

      Like

  7. ChiliDawg

    South Carolina had a 31-17 lead and gave up 21 unanswered points to lose lol

    Like

  8. ….. and so it goes with Bama and the officials. I have tried hard to suppress my worst suspicions about what transpired in the Title game last season. But after watching the clear-as-day no fumble on its first drive, I am again viewing this upcoming contest very cynically.

    Like

    • The Dawg abides

      Yep. And Gary couldn’t believe it wasn’t reviewed. Just who’s nutsack does he think he’s been riding all season? There was no way in hell the booth was gonna blow that dead. They’re at least gonna make MSU burn a TO before they refuse to rule against Bama.

      Like

    • gastr1

      The “call” that just happened was far worse. Now they call a delay of game. Seriously…Miss. State is playing the refs too. Damn.

      Like

    • TXBaller

      So biased in favor of Bama….nothing covert either….blatant!

      Like

  9. gastr1

    As if Alabama actually needs help. Shockingly bad refereeing.

    Like

    • GruvenDawg

      They need to move the SEC offices out of Birmingham and to Atlanta. The officials are absolutely ridiculous. We better believe this is the same type of officiating coming up on December 1st. They stole one game, we need to beat them with no chance for doubt so bad officiating can’t steal another game.

      Like

  10. Uglydawg.

    NOTICE TO SEC REFS…Alabama doesn’t need for you to cheat for them. They have a pretty good team without you helping them out. It’s now to the point of embarrassment.
    I have been watching the ball spots during the Alabama game. About 70% of the time the ref gives ‘Bama a half yard to a yard on spots..and takes that away from State.
    But hats off to Mississippi State’s defense. They really played a great game but their offense just couldn’t get a break or a fair shake.

    Like

  11. Bo

    Stidham ripping us a new one so far.

    Like

  12. Bo

    We suck so bad down close. Jesus.

    Like

  13. D as in Dawg

    Now we’re in our own head. We need to line up and run and block the damn ends who keep tackling us from behind.

    Like

  14. Bo

    Auburn went in dry on us on that drive.

    Like

  15. TN Dawg

    Uninspired defense.

    Like

  16. D as in Dawg

    Dog crap anyone? Looking pathetic on defense. This bend but don’t break shit ain’t gonna work on AU. They’ll nickel and dime it to the end zone over and over.

    Like

  17. Bo

    We don’t answer with six on this next drive, we likely get run out of our own stadium.

    Like

  18. Doggoned

    Can’t say I think much of the way we’re using Justin Fields. Would be happy to be proven wrong.

    Like

    • Bo

      It’s ridiculous. No one thinks he’s coming in to throw.

      Like

    • TN Dawg

      It’s just so telegraphed.

      Auburn put a running back in the wildcat and let him throw it in the red zone. We put a quarterback in and it’s just patently obvious exactly what we are going to do.

      Like

  19. Bo

    Anybody have any confidence that we can convert a 3rd and 1?

    Like

  20. D as in Dawg

    It just feels like all the D’s we face have 8 in the box and we put 3. One would think that would provide an advantage in coverage. It might, but the poor tackling is killing that advantage.

    Like

  21. TN Dawg

    Bailed out by a targeting maybe.

    Like

  22. Bo

    Another field goal, coming right up.

    Like

  23. TN Dawg

    Straight ahead, I like it.

    Like

  24. D as in Dawg

    We need all the help we can get. How many targetings does it take to get to the half yard line??

    Like

  25. TN Dawg

    Now another FG.

    Like

  26. Bo

    This would be comical of it wasn’t so fucking sad.

    Like

  27. Bo

    I guess Kirby realizes that if we trade 7 for 3 every time we will get our ass handed to us. I hope he does anyway.

    Like

  28. Paul

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a team, any team, so incapable of scoring on first and goal.

    Like

  29. dawgman3000

    Man, we need Ben Cleveland back healthy ASAP.

    Like

  30. TN Dawg

    The quarterback shuffling is just annoying.

    Either leave Fields in for a series of downs or leave him on the sideline. They’re effectively f*cking up both quarterback’s rhythm.

    Like

  31. D as in Dawg

    This season will be remembered for poor tackling and goal line bed shitting. If we don’t fix at least one of those two right now, we won’t beat any more teams with a pulse. We are supposed to stop the GT option?? Puhlease.

    Like

  32. W Cobb Dawg

    Dawgs lose this one and it won’t surprise me if Chaney is history after the season.

    Like

  33. Bo

    No pressure on Stidham and he’s carving us up.

    Like

  34. TXBaller

    3 = Prince Miller/Bryan Evan’s
    He SUX

    Like

  35. D as in Dawg

    I need one more wise guy to talk about beating someone by multiple touchdowns. This team is back to the LSU game. Wrap that in some advanced stats and shove it. SEC West owns CKS until further notice.

    Like

  36. Bo

    The Gus Bus is running us over.

    Like

  37. D as in Dawg

    Oh, and I love the Gus Malzahn shit talking. He’s about to show CKS what’s up.

    Like

  38. D as in Dawg

    Look!! It’s Stokes! Looks like he finally came in for Campbell??

    Like

  39. TN Dawg

    That’s a decent work-around for first and goal woes.

    Just score before it becomes first and goal.

    Like

  40. D as in Dawg

    7! Just leave Fromm in and let him do his thing. He’s better when he’s not rotating with Fields. I was hard on him earlier this year but he is the heart of this team. Now let’s shut this AU mess down!!

    Like

  41. Bo

    Nice throw Jake. Needed that one.

    Like

  42. TN Dawg

    Lets get some more before half!

    7 here will break their spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. TN Dawg

    That’s how it’s done! 11 to 5! Awburn sucks!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. D as in Dawg

    Fromm and Swift getting it done!!

    Like

  45. ChiliDawg

    Always amusing to check in here at halftime and see just how ridiculous the emotional roller coaster in the comments was.

    Like

  46. Bo

    Man, I think another TD breaks them. We’re letting them hang around.

    Like

  47. TN Dawg

    Swift is doing work!

    Like

  48. Uglydawg.

    I’d love to hear the count on commercials. Got to a record.
    As far as the game goes…we sure are leaving a lot of points on the field…should have put this away..but fourth starting and still in doubt.

    Like

  49. D as in Dawg

    Swift is on a whole other level, people. And damn good blocking by everyone!

    Like

  50. Bo

    That Swift is a decent back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TN Dawg

      I’ll have to wait for the advanced stats to confirm that. It’s possible that Herrien is actually the real game breaker if you used 6th dimensional advanced metrics.

      Now excuse me, I need to go masturbate into a Probabilities and Statistics textbook while calculating the standard deviation of my splooge pattern.

      Liked by 1 person

  51. dawgman3000

    Anyone know what’s going on with Deangelo Gibbs?

    Like

  52. TN Dawg

    Ha! Crowd goes nuts when they let Fields throw it.

    Like

  53. dawgman3000

    Adam Anderson= a Qb’s worst nightmare

    Like

  54. gastr1

    Solid win after the usual Stidham great first quarter and then flame out the rest of the game, but back to our tendency to underperform? Should have scored 40 on their sorry asses. Four trips inside the 10, 13 points to show for it. Weak sauce.

    Also, our fake FG game should really just stay on the shelf.

    Like

  55. Doggoned

    I’ll take a second straight 11-1 regular season and SEC East title in a heartbeat for a team this young. No matter what happens in Atlanta, there’s a new normal at UGA. Put Tech in the ground.

    Like

    • Bo

      Already worried about tech. Florida had success against us with the option. Florida.

      Like

      • Uglydawg.

        Tech is going to have their hands full trying to stop the Georgia running game. I have more faith that Georgia can get more stops against GT than GT can get against Georgia.

        Like

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