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UGA vs. Auburn Preview and Prediction – September 30, 2023

UGA vs. Auburn Preview and Prediction – September 30, 2023

UGA VS. AUBURN PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – SEPTEMBER 30, 2023 – September 30, 2023 — For the first time in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, the Dawgs and Tigers face off in September.

Hugh Freeze is back in the SEC to try and resurrect a program left in shambles after Bryan Harsin’s brief tenure. Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs are banged up, but still coming in with some momentum after a couple of disappointing performances against lesser opponents to begin the season. 

Related: Utah vs. Oregon State Expert Pick and Prediction

The Odds







(4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS)






(3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS)






When: Saturday, September 30th at 3:30 pm EDT

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL


Public Bets: Georgia, 77%

Public Money: Georgia, 77%

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of September 29th, 2023.


Auburn is 3-1, coming off of their first loss last week to Texas A&M. They’ve beaten UMASS, Cal, and Samford so far this year, and the Cal game was a tight 14-10 contest.

Under Payton Thorne, the offense has struggled against their P5 opponents. While Hugh Freeze has insisted that Thorne knows the offense the best, he has yet to impress throwing 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

Robby Ashford, last year’s starter, has yet to make much of an impact either when he has rotated in the game. The Auburn passing game has not been pretty against P5 opponents. 

The Running Game

Their running game has been solid behind Jarquez Hunter, Damari Alston, and Brian Battie. Unfortunately, Alston is out indefinitely after dislocating his shoulder in the game last week.

Hunter is one of the better backs in the SEC and will need to shoulder the load of the offense against UGA. 

Receivers Room

Auburn doesn’t have any world beaters in the receiver room. Jay Fair is the teams leading receiver in terms of yards and catches. He is opposite Shane Hooks, a 6’4 senior who has made some explosive plays this year. Auburn will use their tight end a good bit as well, but again their passing game is nothing to fear.

However, both Thorne and Ashford will make plays with their feet. As Georgia has struggled at times to set the edge, Auburn has a chance to make the Dawgs pay if their QB’s can become the wild card in the running game. 

The Defense

Defensively, Auburn has played above expectations so far this year. They will be missing two starters against UGA, LB Austin Keys, and DB Keionte Scott, and have several guys banged up who will still give it a go.

They have forced 8 turnovers in 4 games, scoring 2 touchdowns. Their starting safety and nickel corner are dealing with injuries as well.

While the defensive front have performed well this year, the secondary is really struggling to manage the number of injuries. 

Related: Georgia vs. UAB Recap


There are two things that heavily favor the Tigers this weekend. First, the crowd at Jordan-Hare stadium can quickly become a defining factor in the game.

If UGA gets off to a slow start, or if the Auburn defense is able to force a turnover early and keep the crowd in this game, the Dawgs will feel the pressure. While preparing for the anticipated crowd noise, the Dawgs blew out the speakers in their practice facility. 

The second thing in Auburn’s favor going into this game is they just have that flukey, miracle tendency to win. Georgia still feels the PTSD from the prayer at Jordan-Hare 10 years ago.

Or the humiliating loss that happened in 2017. Over the years, Auburn has just found a way to win against all odds against a number of opponents. They just have that thing, that ability, to win games they have no business winning. 

The Dawgs

Georgia does not have the crowd, or that ability to win games they shouldn’t win. What they do have is a roster full of 4 and 5 star guys and one of the best coaching staffs in the nation.

And if I have to pick the home crowd and flukey wins or take talent and coaching, I’m rolling with talent and coaching every time. 

The Injury Report

Georgia may actually have some good news on the injury front heading into this game. It is expected that Mykel Williams will be back in this game.

Better still, S Javon Bullard posted on social media “I’m Back,” giving Dawg fans the impression that he has healed from his ankle injury. If Georgia can return their two top defensive players, Auburn will need a Herculean effort to move the ball against this defense.

I don’t expect WR Ladd McConkey back, and RT Amarius Mims will be out still. Yet, Georgia has seen improved performances from Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint andRaRa Thomas, which should help the in passing game. Jackson Meeks returned last week from injury and isn’t likely to make a major impact receiving, but may provide the blocking needed to bust a big play out wide.

RB Kendal Milton should not be ready to go, and Rodrick Robinson will be out again too. WR/KR Mekhi Mews has been seen in a boot this week, so keep an eye if he goes. He’s a threat on special teams, and about the only positive UGA has on special teams so far this year. 

Offense for the Dawgs

Offensively, Georgia seemed to finally find a rhythm last week with Carson Beck throwing the ball downfield. While they still hit screen plays left and right, they are now stretching the field, which is the one missing dynamic so far this year.

Last week, the Dawgs leaned on Brock Bowers for the first time, finding him for 9 catches. I expect Brock to get fed a lot this week as well, and most weeks moving forward.

I’ll be curious to see how Beck responds to his first road start. I do think he’ll be a bit shaky to begin, and Auburn would be wise to load the box and dare him to throw it deep to start the game.

If you get beat, you accept it. If you stifle the run game and stuff some screens, now you’ve got momentum. Beck has the physical talent to be elite. Does he have ice in his veins? He did in the second half against Carolina, and led the Dawgs to a comeback victory. But that was at home. Can he do it against a hostile crowd? 

The Defense

Defensively, this game plays into UGA’s hands in many ways. While Georgia has not excelled at stopping the run to the standard of the last two years, they still have done a solid job of clogging lanes and not giving up chunk plays on the ground.

They also haven’t faced a running game as effective as Auburn’s yet. LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson needs a big game after underwhelming performances so far this year. I suspect Smael Mondon and Malaki Starks will get themselves involved in the run game too. 

Match Up

The teams that beat Kirby Smart’s Dawgs almost always have an NFL-caliber QB, two NFL-caliber wide outs, and solid line play on both ends. Auburn doesn’t really check the box on any of those.

Georgia is coming in with some confidence and momentum. They’re beginning to get some key players healthy, and more importantly, Carson Beck seems to be settling in.

This is one of those games that on paper, Georgia should wax Auburn. I’m shocked the line is only 14.5, when South Carolina’s was 28. To keep this close, Georgia will either need to repeatedly shoot itself in the foot or Auburn will need to establish a ground game and hit a couple of explosives in the passing game.

Georgia may shoot itself in the foot once or twice, but I just don’t see a beat up Auburn defense stopping the Dawgs. And I definitely don’t see the Auburn offense consistently moving the ball. 

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While I shudder to write this because I know the flukey, miracle thing can happen, and Auburn is the perfect team to have it happen, I think UGA makes a statement in this game.

I think they start fast and take the crowd out of it. Bobo dials up some winners early to get Carson going, while Daijun Edwards ends up carving up the defense for a solid performance by the end of the night. The Dawg defense feasted against Ashford last year. I think they shut things down again and Georgia covers somewhat comfortably. 

Dawgs Win: 38-13.


FUN My Pillow

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