Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - No. 2 Auburn will look to continue their 'party crasher' role in hopes of extending their likelihood of making their first College Football Playoff appearance.
The Tigers have one more team in their way of their push for a national championship, No. 6 Georgia, a team they know all too well.
Facing the Bulldogs for the second time in a month will be no easy task for Auburn, but after looking back over the last game and where both teams stand now, Auburn has to make minimal changes the second time around.
So, for the SEC Championship, I decided to switch things up and break down the first meeting of Auburn and Georgia and what could change the second time around.
You can read my 5 keys to taking down Georgia to see how Auburn was able to beat the Bulldogs the first time, and in my opinion, how the Tigers can win a second time.
Here is my break down of what went well for Auburn the first time and what could change Saturday:
1) The Auburn run game vs. UGA
Auburn put up impressive numbers in the running game category against the Bulldogs on Nov. 11, something I believe ultimately helped them dominate the game offensively.
The Tigers finished with 237 total rushing yards, about half of their 488 total offensive yards.
If you look at this, Auburn dominated in every category of the game against Georgia, especially in running offense.
But if you look more closely at Auburn's 237 rushing yards, you will find Kerryon Johnson finished the game with 137 yards of that total.
On top of that, Johnson finished with 66 receiving yards and a touchdown.
So, now seeing these numbers, you can see the Auburn run game was the highlight of their offense against Georgia.
"I hope like hell Kerryon Johnson is out. Believe me." -Kirby Smart— Andrew Lipham (@andrew_lipham) November 26, 2017
I'll come back to this point later.
2) Auburn's dominant defensive line
Auburn's run defense put on a show in their first match-up with Georgia.
The Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage holding the Georgia run game to 46 total yards.
Now, looking back before the game, the Bulldogs averaged just about 280 total rushing yards per game. With that in mind, the number 46 stands up even more.
Georgia is led by two star running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
The Auburn defensive line led Chubb to 27 yards and a touchdown that occurred on their first drive of the game.
While Michel, on the other hand, could only manage 21 yards.
Why would Kevin Steele leave Auburn for Tennessee? KS has the Auburn defense rolling right now.— Scott Robinson (@Grassgoat) November 30, 2017
Clearly stopping the Georgia run game in the first meeting came much easier than expected. However, this may change the second time around.
I'll tell you why this matters later.
3) Stidham's well-rounded performance
Jarrett Stidham played an outstanding game versus the Bulldogs. He has also improved every week since the season against Georgia Southern, and clearly never looked back.
In their first beatdown of the Bulldogs, Stidham passed for 214 yards and a whopping 3 touchdowns.
He was able to balance the Auburn run game with an effective passing game. This then forced the Georgia defense to not only stop the run but cover the Auburn receivers downfield.
Ultimately, Stidham helped Auburn open up their offense in every aspect.
Knowing Stidham was able to effectively move the ball offensively the first time is clearly a bright spot due to the injury concern of Kerryon Johnson.
According to head coach Gus Malzahn, Johnson is "day-to-day."
I'll highlight the possibility of Johnson not playing in the SEC Championship at the end. However, with Stidham's outstanding play the first time around, it will be crucial he play the same way Saturday.
4) Georgia hate week round two
In every rivalry game you will get the best out of both teams, and in this match-up, Georgia has nothing to lose while Auburn has everything to lose.
Pretty simple now for Final 4:— TheRealMrACL (@TheRealMrACL) November 26, 2017
Oklahoma if they win Big12
Wisconsin if they win Big10. If not then Ohio St or Alabama
The Tigers partied on the sidelines following their first win over the Bulldogs. This most definitely struck a cord with the Georgia players.
The way Auburn treated the Bulldogs the first time around, no question, added fuel to this upcoming fire.
In my opinion, forget the Auburn sidelines attitude, losing to your rival in a total beatdown is enough to add extra motivation to beat them the next chance you get.
Georgia will come out playing with a chip on their shoulder wanting the ultimate revenge, and there's no question about it.
5) How the south will be won
Beating Georgia the first time around was no easy task for Auburn, even though they made it look easy.
Well this time, it will be even harder.
By playing Georgia again, the Bulldogs get a chance to learn from all their mistakes and correct them in order to help give them an edge.
There are no questions about it: Georgia will find a way to run Chubb and Michel.
Also, Georgia will do everything they can to find a way to stop the Auburn run game defensively.
With Johnson potentially out for the Tigers, that task could be much easier.
Overall, this rematch is going to be a close one and a battle until the clock hits zero.
In my opinion, Auburn can win this game, they just have to make some changes in their plays in order to confuse Georgia.
I believe the SEC crown will be won in a one-score game, so Tiger fans don't expect another blow-out over the Bulldogs.