Ahead of the 125th edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, The Auburn Plainsman reached out to The Red & Black’s editor in chief Augusta Stone for a Q&A previewing this year’s Georgia team. Here’s what she had to say about the Bulldogs.
Q: How do you expect Georgia’s offense to do against Auburn’s defense?
A: I have almost no idea what to expect from Georgia’s offense. The quarterback is still uncertain, and it took a while for the Bulldogs to get their run game going against Arkansas — which is not nearly as competitive as Auburn defensively.
The most glaring issue I see for Georgia is the offensive line, which has taken a big hit from all of its NFL departures. Auburn’s defense doesn’t have as much Georgia film to work with as it usually does — given that the game has moved up to earlier in the season — but with all of the unknowns, they will inevitably have to rely on halftime adjustments.
Q: How do you expect Georgia’s defense to do against Auburn’s offense?
A: Georgia’s defense is a huge bright spot. It won’t be easy to get past the guys up front — the defensive line looks stronger than it has in a while, and the Bulldogs’ weapons at linebacker (Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith, Monty Rice, Azeez Ojulari, to name a few) are lethal. Georgia’s defense will do a good job of keeping the game close even if its offense sputters, but if Auburn is able to get enough big plays from its talented receivers, it could spell trouble for the Bulldogs.
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Q: This is Auburn’s first road game/Georgia’s first home game. How much of an effect do you think the environment will have in Athens?
A: If it’s anything like the Arkansas game last week, I doubt we’ll be able to tell a difference with the crowd noise they’ll pump into Sanford Stadium. I expect the noise to resemble a typical Georgia home crowd, despite the fact the stadium only be filled to 20-25% of its normal capacity.
Q: Who do you think Georgia’s QB will be?
A: Since JT Daniels should be cleared by Saturday, I think Georgia will go with him. Stetson Bennett did well last week — but that was against Arkansas, and I don’t think he’s the one they’ll pick to take on Auburn.
Q: Score prediction?
A: It will definitely be a low-scoring game, and I’m giving the edge to Auburn. There are too many questions around Georgia’s offense right now, and I expect Auburn to be able to adjust well to Georgia in the second half. It will be close, but I’ll go 20-17 Auburn.
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