AUBURN – After a week of uncertainty, a week when there was more talk of investigations and anonymous sources than of football, it’s finally gameday.
All but lost in the sound and fury of virulent attacks on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s character by people who have never met him has been a football game with championship implications. In the 114th renewal of the Deep South’s longest continuous series, No. 2 Auburn (10-0, 6-0) will play for the Southeastern Conference West Division championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Georgia (5-5, 3-4), winner of four of its last five after a 1-4 start.
Kickoff time is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.
Through the controversy over allegations that Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, sought money to deliver him to Mississippi State last season, Auburn players went about the business of preparing to play for a title.
It’ll be the last game at Jordan-Hare for almost two dozen Auburn seniors, and their last chance to beat Georgia. Auburn’s last win over the Bulldogs was a 31-30 victory in 2005.
Ten storylines to watch in today’s game:
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Has the controversy distracted him. His coaches and teammates say they’ve seen no sign of it.
Georgia wide receiver A.J. Greene. Standing 6-foot-6 and running like a sprinter, Greene is a cinch to go early in the first round of the NFL draft. Can Auburn’s secondary keep him under control?
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. He’s a redshirt freshman, but he has performed like a veteran the past five games.
Auburn’s defensive line. If the Tigers are to hold down Georgia’s passing game, Nick Fairley and friends must get major pressure on Murray.
Georgia’s 3-4 defense. The Bulldogs have been up and down on defense, but their scheme will be different than that to which the Tigers are accustomed. Will that slow down Gus Malzahn’s high-flying show?
Auburn running back Mike Dyer. With 799 rushing yards, Dyer needs just 31 yards to break Bo Jackson’s freshman record.
[/b]Auburn cornerback Neiko Thorpe.[/b] When the Tigers are in man-to-man coverage, he’ll probably draw Greene more often than not.
Auburn’s running game. The Tigers will try to break the 300-yard barrier for the sixth time in seven SEC games.
Auburn’s offensive line.Four seniors will play at Jordan-Hare for the last time.