First, some current context:
2019 SEC — Defensive Yards Per Play, Conference Games Only
- Georgia: 4.30 (1st)
- Auburn: 4.94 (2nd)
2019 SEC — Offensive Yards Per Play, Conference Games Only
- Georgia: 5.95 (5th)
- Auburn: 5.76 (6th)
Combined, in case you’re interested, nets out to a .83 ypp advantage in Georgia’s favor. The general impression, though, is that these are two fairly similar outfits.
It’s a similar story when you look at red zone conversion percentage in SEC games, where Georgia is first, at 95.83%, and Auburn is third, at 90.91%. Though you should also check out defensive red zone conversion percentage in conference games where Georgia’s 44.44% is tops (the Dawgs are also first nationally in that regard) and Auburn’s 77.78% is only good for sixth.
Everything about those stats tells me this is going to be a low-scoring slugfest. One hopeful sign about that is it would be hard for Georgia to lose by 25 points, which has been about the average margin of defeat in its three prior regular season ventures out west under Smart. So there’s that.
Seth Emerson ($$) has another hopeful suggestion in that regard.
There’s an interesting dynamic to Georgia’s recent visits: The last four Auburn wins – 2017, 2013, 2010 and 2004 – came when the Tigers still harbored national title hopes. This is one of those years Auburn doesn’t have those hopes, unless a great miracle happens. (Auburn still technically could win the SEC West, but it would take winning out and having No. 1 LSU lose its final three games.)
Considering one of those three games is Arkansas in Baton Rouge, that ain’t happening. Which means that Georgia has a lot more on the line in this game than does Auburn. When you’ve got pretty even teams facing off, give me eyes on the prize as a separator every time.
If Georgia pulls off a win on the Plains Saturday, it would be slightly amusing if Kirby has to thank Boom for helping his team’s focus. But I’ll take it.