Auburn, Ala. — Greetings from the pressbox at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It’s an absolutely gorgeous night for football. It’s actually moving pretty rapidly from what was a warm and sunny afternoon (73 degrees) to a clear and brisk night. It will probably be pretty cool by the time this one is over.
Which, again, makes it a perfect night for football. Georgia is in its traditional silver britches and white jerseys for tonight’s game. The only real question mark heading into this one was would start for Chris Burnette (left shoulder) at right guard and who might start in place of split end Marlon Brown, lost last week to a season-ending knee injury.
Burnette, who started every game at right guard this season, did not travel with the team. Sophomore Mark Beard will get his first career start at left tackle, left tackle Kenarious Gates will slide inside to left guard and left guard Dallas Lee will flip over to the right side to start at Burnette’s guard position.
As for Brown, Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell will likely get the start in a two-receiver set. If the go with three wides, look for sophomore Chris Conley to be first on the field.
A couple other notes for tonight: King is wearing the No. 15 in honor of Brown; senior Mike Gilliard is starting at inside linebacker instead of Amarlo Herrera.
Here’s some other things to be thinking about as Georgia and Auburn renew the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry for the 116th time tonight. . . .
1. How’s life after Marlon Brown? Georgia lost the team’s co-leader in receptions (27) when senior Marlon Brown went down with a knee injury in the second half Saturday against Ole Miss. Initially sophomore Chris Conley will step into the slot position for the Bulldogs when they’re in three-receiver sets. But Georgia also will need Rantavious Wooten, Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley to pick up the pace if it is to replace Brown’s tremendous production.
2. Dogs tackling the unknown? Georgia can’t be entirely sure what it will see in Auburn’s offense. The Tigers’ have utilized three quarterbacks this season, beginning with sophomore Kiehl Frazier as the starter. They turned to junior Clint Mosely in Week 6 and last week, gave the ball to freshman Jonathan Wallace. Wallace (6-foot-2, 197 pounds) completed nine of 16 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown with one interception. The Bulldogs could see just Wallace or all three quarterbacks.
3. Can Dogs punch their SEC ticket? Rare has it been that Georgia reached an SEC championship of any sort without having to get past Auburn to do it. UGA traditionally has played the Tigers as their last SEC opponent of the season. Last year was an exception, when the Bulldogs defeated Kentucky to clinch the East and punch their ticket to the Dome. It’s back to normal this year, as Georgia will have to do as Vince Dooley’s teams did five out of the six times they won the conference title — beat Auburn on The Plains.
A win for Georgia …
Would be its sixth in its past seven games against Auburn.
A win for Auburn …
Would increase the Tigers’ lead in the series to 55-53-8
Matchup to watch
Georgia’s offensive tackles vs. Auburn’s defensive ends? The Tigers haven’t done much well this season, but they still feature one of the SEC’s best edge rushers in Corey Lemonier. The junior finished second in the league to Georgia’s Jarvis Jones in sacks and tackles for loss last season and has five sacks this season. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ tackles Mark Beard, Kenarious Gates and John Theus have struggled against good rush ends, including Saturday, when Ole Miss dropped Aaron Murray five times in the first half.
Tweets of the week
“S/o to my dawgs, family, brothers and everything else. Everyone keep @MB_uno5 @MBennett_82 @JUSTAB3 in your prayers!”
- FB Zander Ogletree (@Non_Stop_Grind)
“Never let momentary circumstances determine your long term goals”
LB Christian Robinson (@crob45)