Auburn football: 4 keys to beating Georgia

Auburn football and Georgia both started their 2020 seasons on a high note. Auburn beat Kentucky 29-13, showing promise on both sides of the ball. Georgia righted the ship in the second half against Arkansas to win 37-10. Georgia enters the game ranked fourth in the nation. Auburn has the seventh-ranked squad in the country, according to the AP Top 25 Poll. The Bulldogs won the last three meetings, dating back to the 2017 SEC Championship Game. Auburn is a 6.5-point underdog as of Thursday night. The game will kickoff in Athens, Georgia at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.

Here are some things Auburn football needs to do well to bring a win back to the Plains.

Be Aggressive

We all saw head coach Gus Malzahn protect his freshman quarterback Bo Nix last season. This was obvious in big games. Nix threw a whopping 50 passes last year against the Bulldogs, but he was not scaring the defense with his deep ball. Malzahn was largely leaning on his defense to stay in the game. Expect offensive coordinator Chad Morris to stretch the field and try to move those talented Georgia safeties.

Having another good defense in 2020, it will be very interesting to see how aggressive the Tigers are on offense. There is an argument Auburn should take more shots down the field because it can lean on the defense to bail it out of some offensive mistakes. With the way Georgia’s offense looked last Saturday, I do not see a reason for Morris to be overly-conservative. This is the time to let Nix off the leash in an important game.

Running Game

With all the above stated, this Georgia defense is elite. Attacking Georgia with just the passing game will not be a successful approach. A few first downs per quarter on the ground will keep Georgia off balance. It would be foolish to think that Malzahn will give up on the rushing attack, but it is extremely important the offensive line creates a push, and the running backs find some holes. This inexperienced offensive line would benefit from a balanced mix of run and pass. It will not have much luck if Georgia’s pass rushers do not have to respect the run and get to tee off on Nix.

Stuffing the Georgia Rushing Attack

Georgia did not look very impressive running the ball against Arkansas last week. The Bulldogs averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. However, running back Zamir White can break out at any point. The sophomore back ran for 5.5 yards per tote and one touchdown last week. Overall, running the ball looks to be the best way for Georgia to attack a defense. If Auburn can shut down the run game, Auburn’s secondary has a huge advantage against Georgia’s receivers and its inexperienced quarterbacks. If Auburn contains White, it could be a long night for the Georgia offense.


When going on the road in the SEC, taking care of the ball is very important. Nix has mostly done a great job of that. If Auburn can hang onto the ball and force a couple key turnovers that could spell the difference in a win or loss. Look at last week for example. Auburn had less yards, while Kentucky had the ball longer and converted more first downs.

The difference was Auburn forcing two turnovers in the red zone and one deep in Auburn territory. If Auburn football finishes even or on top of the turnover battle, it has a great chance to win. This matchup feels like a one-possession game that will be decided by a few big plays. A turnover here or there for the road team would give them an edge.