Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, can Georgia stop Auburn’s ground attack if SEC-leading rusher Kamryn Pettway plays? Plus, we make a plea to Georgia’s coaches to end our long, national Jayson Stanley nightmare.
To catch a Tiger
How Auburn performs on offense this Saturday depends largely on the injury status of one man: tailback Kamryn Pettway. Pettway sustained a leg injury on his 60-yard run against Vanderbilt last week and is doubtful for this weekend. However, coach Gus Malzahn said he wouldn’t be surprised if his star tailback played.
The sophomore from Montgomery, Ala. is the central cog in Auburn’s third-ranked rushing offense. Pettway is tops in the SEC in rushing yards, churning out 1,106 yards and 7 touchdowns on 173 carries. He runs like a boulder rolling downhill, generating the power to bang in the trenches with his 240-pound frame, but with a burst of speed to get him into the open field.
Kirby on Pettway: 'I'm tired of watching tape of him running north and south.' Talking about the need to have big ILBs against Auburn.
— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) November 8, 2016
Suffice to say, if Pettway plays, he will be the best rusher Georgia’s defense has faced this season. But even if he doesn’t play, or tries to play but is ineffective, Georgia could still have problems with Auburn’s other running backs. Kerryon Johnson has 616 yards and 9 touchdowns, while John Franklin III has another 315, including an 80-yard rush. So, regardless of Pettway’s status, Georgia will be challenged by Auburn on the ground.
It will be an important game for Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick at inside linebacker. Both have steadily improved in the middle of the defense as the season has progressed, and Saturday will show just how far they’ve come. If they can rise to the occasion by keeping Pettway or his understudies under control and not letting them break into the next level, it may be enough to keep Georgia within striking distance of the upset for the full 60 minutes.
- The other side to the otherwise happy story of Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (Chip Towers, DawgNation)
- D’Andre Walker: Georgia’s high-energy outside linebacker (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)
- Georgia losing to Auburn would be historic for all the wrong reasons (Matt Jennings, DawgNation)
- Georgia expects tough test from Auburn pass rush (Jordan D. Hill, Macon Telegraph)
- Georgia’s recent history as underdogs against Auburn (Kyle Funderburk, Fansided)
- Sentell’s Intel: The 5 vital remaining recruiting targets for UGA (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- State’s top undecided prospect, DeAngelo Gibbs, will return to UGA for Auburn game (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
iMac on the run
Remember beating Auburn last season? That was good, wasn’t it? Well, the only reason Georgia won that terrible, terrible game was a 54-yard fourth-quarter punt return touchdown. Let’s watch it again.
That got me thinking about how Georgia has done on punt returns compared to last season, and, no surprise, the Bulldogs have regressed. Isaiah McKenzie already has two more returns than he had last season but 73 fewer yards. He also has no touchdowns compared to 2 last year and his yards per return has regressed by 5 yards.
I don’t have any idea how to fix this other than block better, but if McKenzie has some more return touchdowns in him, this weekend would be a good time to bring ’em out.
Auburn in CFB Playoff top 10
Auburn is once again No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings this week. An SEC West title, and also a potential trip to the playoffs, still is in the cards if the Tigers beat Georgia and, somehow, Alabama.
Make Jayson Stanley great
again for the first time
Sophomore receiver Jayson Stanley has somehow started five games this season without catching a pass. Seriously, look it up. I could be mad about it, and there are probably some fans who are — I mean, what kind of wide receiver can’t get a single catch out of five starts? — but more than anything, I just feel bad for the dude. That big, fat zero on his stat line has to bother him. It bothers me.
So, Jim Chaney and Jacob Eason, let’s make a concerted effort to get Stanley a catch on Saturday. Even if it’s just a bubble screen or one of those three-inch jet sweep passes, just get the man in the stat book. I think it will do a lot for all of our mental healths, because, honestly, having a starting receiver with zero catches is pretty embarrassing.
Baby on top of a dog?
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 8, 2016
Baby on top of a dog.