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‘Fuel and motivation’

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah’s first two games against Georgia were losses by a combined score of 83-7.

Uzomah has two TD catches this season/Todd Van Emst photo

That doesn’t sit so well with the Suwanee, Ga., native.

“As a team, we are disappointed in those last two seasons. We’re going to use that as fuel for this game,” Uzomah said. “...We were shutout last year. Two years ago, we got seven points. We know that’s what the outcomes were. We’re going to use that as fuel and motivation.”

Unlike the last two years, No. 7 Auburn will enter this year's game at Jordan-Hare Stadium as the favorite over No. 25 Georgia. But the Tigers didn’t get to 9-1 this season by taking teams for granted, and that certainly won’t change this week.

“Coach has been saying this is going to be a physical game and we’re going to have to be able to run the ball and throw the ball when necessary, and their front seven, they’re going to be one of the best that we’ve played,” Uzomah said. “We’re going to have to work on our assignments, focus on the little things this week and do what we’ve been doing.”

Auburn’s offense, which is first in the SEC averaging 320.0 rushing yards per game, will face a Georgia defense that’s ranked fourth against the rush giving up just 126.0 yards per game. They held the SEC’s second-best rushing team, Missouri, to 142 yards on the ground last month, but still lost 41-26 after committing four turnovers and giving up 233 passing yards.

“They're a very aggressive style of defense, do some multiple fronts. Same thing on the back end with their blitzes,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “They were young this year, but you can tell that now they're nine games in, they're getting healthy, too, overall, so they're aggressive.

“They create some matchup problems and some unique things that are maybe different from what we've seen the last couple of weeks, but nothing we haven't seen before. They do a good job and they put good athletes on the field. I think the defense we're going to face on Saturday might be one of the better defenses, if not the best, that we've faced this year.”

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive end Ray Drew have become key playmakers for the Bulldog defense combining for 14.5 tackles-for-loss and 11.5 sacks. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins has 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks.

C.J. Uzomah interview

Uzomah knows the difficult task ahead, and said the Tigers will fully prepare this week for a physical, four-quarter game Saturday.

“We know the implications. We know what’s at stake and how important this game is,” Uzomah said. “That’s another part of the reason we’re focusing on this game as hard as we are. This isn’t going to be a cakewalk by any means. They’re an unbelievable team; they have great talent on both sides of the ball. We’ll have to execute and have a great week of practice.”


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