Sunday, November 6, 2011

Auburn Week Underway


With a 63-16 victory over New Mexico State to improve the team’s win streak to seven, the Dawgs (7-2, 5-1 SEC) begin to look toward their contest with the Auburn Tigers (6-3, 4-2 SEC) on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The match-up between Georgia and Auburn will be televised by CBS with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

With South Carolina’s loss to Arkansas, Georgia holds first place in the SEC Eastern Division while ranking No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

“I know that the players all understand what is at stake and that we are in a better position now and do control our destiny,” coach Mark Richt said on Sunday. “We have been fighting like mad for that ever since the moment South Carolina beat us. The thing that has gotten us this far on a weekly basis is just trying to take care of business. That has to be our focus—for every man to do his job starting tomorrow and not waiting until Saturday. Everybody has a job to do. We have to focus on that, and focus on the process. We feel like good things will happen if we do.”

Georgia will return running backs Carlton Thomas, Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome for Auburn after the three were suspended for one game. In their absence, redshirt sophomore Brandon Harton stepped up to gain 98 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.

“We liked what he did,” Richt said. “There was no doubt about that. With Richard Samuel out, I’m not going to say with a certainty he would be at worst the number three back, but he is battling for that spot. We are just going to have to play it out this week in practice real hard to see who we think are best suited to play.”

Freshman wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is also expected to return. Mitchell has not played since leaving the Tennessee game with an injury.

Auburn comes to Athens after taking its bye week following a 41-23 victory versus Ole Miss. For the Tigers, Michael Dyer has had a standout season, as he leads the team rushing with 989 yards this season.

“I’m very impressed with him,” Richt said. “He’s very strong. His lower body strength is different than most guys. A lot of guys hit him low, and they are going down. He is so strong he breaks tackles out of the powerful legs that he has. He is one of the best backs if not the best back in the league right now. I think a year ago as a freshman people thought he was benefitting form Cam Newton in the backfield, and that’s where the focal point was. He has been the focal point this year, and he has been producing in a big way.”

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