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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Running Auburn-Georgia pre-game blog post

You're looking LIVE at Jordan-Hare Stadium on a gorgeous day here in Auburn, where unnamed sources have confirmed to me that there's a varsity tackle football game taking place. I've arrived just to see if this report is true.

Of course, Cam Newton is in the spotlight today. Here's the latest in the story.

Will he play today? Barring some unforeseen circumstance, yes. Will the constant allegations affect him? Who knows? Some athletes thrive on this stuff. Others wilt. We'll see.

The stadium is very serene right now, with hardly a soul inside it. And it's a beautiful day for football (and tailgating), with a current temperature of 65 degrees and barely any wind. Weather.com says it'll be 70 degrees for kickoff.

As for football stuff, the Macon Telegraph Georgia beat writer Seth Emerson and I combined to do matchup breakdown for today's newspaper. Check it out here. (Also, take a gander at Seth's blog here, with an interesting post about Mark Richt possibly having an interest in the opening at Colorado as a way to get away from the SEC pressure cooker.)

Check back on this post for running updates leading up to the game. And follow the blog on Twitter for instant updates and commentary during the game. Tweet at me and I'll try to respond.

Pre-game minutia? Yep. We've got it:
  • Auburn leads the all-time series with Georgia 53-52-8. The Deep South's oldest rivalry is the seventh-most played series in college football history.
  • In 113 meetings, the teams are separated by 56 points (Georgia 1,778, Auburn 1,722).
  • Road teams have won more often than home ones in this series. Georgia is 14-9-2 in game played in Auburn.
  • In fact, the road team has won nine of the last 15 games in the series.
  • Auburn's need-to-know offensive numbers: it's fourth nationally in rushing offense (307.2 ypg), sixth in total offense (509.4 ypg) and scoring offense (42.4 ypg).
  • The Tigers have rushed for over 300 yards in their last five league games, a school record. They've averaged 324.7 yards per game against SEC competition this year.
  • Newton leads the SEC and is 10th nationally in rushing (114.6 yards per game). Nobody else in the country has five 170-yard games this year.
  • Newton has accounted for 35 touchdowns this season (19 passing, 15 rushing, 1 receiving). Florida's Tim Tebow is the only player in NCAA history to pass for 20 touchdowns and run for 20 in the same season (2007).
  • Record watch: RB Mike Dyer needs 31 yards to break Bo Jackson's Auburn freshman rushing record of 829 yards.'
  • RB Onterio McCalebb is averaging 9.27 yards per carry. That's best in the nation among rushers ranked in the top 100.
  • DT Nick Fairley's 18 tackles for a loss are tops in the SEC and third nationally.
  • On the Georgia side, coach Mark Richt is 4-2 with the Bulldogs against teams ranked in the top 10. The last was a 30-24 win against No. 7 Georgia Tech last year.
  • Georgia is 4-13-1 when unranked and facing a ranked Auburn squad. But the Bulldogs pulled off the upset last time this situation came up, winning 37-15 while unranked against No. 5 Auburn in 2006.
  • KR Brandon Boykin needs 22 kick return yards to set Georgia's career record. He has 1,616 yards on 60 returns for his career. Gene Washington (1973-76) has the record with 1,637 yards. Boykin has an SEC-record there 100-yard returns.
  • WR A.J. Green was suspended for the first four games of the season for selling one of his jerseys last spring (how ridiculous does that sounds in hindsight, by the way?). He has 32 receptions for 510 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games since coming back.
  • QB Aaron Murray has the highest passing efficiency (155.3) of any freshman nationally. He's thrown for 2,307 yards and 17 touchdowns to six interceptions.
  • LB Justin Houston is keeping pace with Fairley. The junior leads the SEC with nine sacks and has 16.5 tackles for a loss.
  • The line? The places that haven't taken this game off the board because of the unknowns surrounding Newton have Auburn as a 6.5- to 7-point favorite.
UPDATE, 12:48 p.m.: Newton was seen bouncing through the Tiger Walk. The stadium crowd watching on the video board erupted in cheers when they saw him. Looks like he's going to play today.

In other news, LB Daren Bates is also here. Hasn't played the last two games because of a shoulder injury.

UPDATE, 1:19 p.m.: The Cam Watch continues. He's on the field with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and the other three quarterbacks as usual for the pre-game walkthrough.

UPDATE, 1:47 p.m.: More Cam Watch. He's dressed out and taking snaps from first-team center Ryan Pugh. Everything points to him starting today. (Unless this is the greatest ruse of all-time.)

UPDATE, 1:57 p.m.: LB Daren Bates (shoulder), CB T'Sharvan Bell (hamstring) and TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (unknown) are all dressed out.

In other news, the Birmingham News reports that Newton spoke with the NCAA on Thursday. That means Auburn decided it was OK for him to play after having those discussions.


Clint Richardson said...

I don't really think all this will bother Cam. I don't think he's mad at all. I do think his teamates are mad. His O-line his pissed. The D-line is pissed. This team will play with a lot of emotion and passion today because they ae playing for a brother's reputation.

If any of this does bother Cam, we will know as soon as he steps foot on the field. If he comes out and plays like he has the past 10 games, there's nothing to this story. If he comes out sluggish, and not playing well, there might be something there. We'll just have to wait and see.


AUsome mom said...

Looking forward to puttin' a whoopin' on them there dawgs today!! Cam will be fine because he is innocent in all of this. Go Cam.....go Dyer, Adams, Etheridge, Fannin, McCaleb, Bynes, Fairley, TZac, Q, Pugh, Shoemaker, all my other Tigers, coaches and fans!! ALL IN! WDE!

Aubiester said...

AuburnSports.com reporting the Newtons met with the NCAA on Thursday. Sounds like good news to me since he's playing!

postermom said...

I'd rather have a calm and focused Cammy Cam than an angry Cammy Cam--angry people aren't always in complete control. (And I'd really like defensive backs whose necks swivel.)I say we play the heck out of Cam, no matter what, and win it all. If it should all get taken away a few years from now, we'll still know we won it all.

Lisa said...

This is great news. Keep us posted Andy! Atlanta area loves your up to date info!

Simmons B. Buntin said...

I seriously doubt Cam's poise determines his guilt or not; but I do think the team is angry and we're very due against Georgia. War Damn Eagle!!!

Tiger said...

Cam Newton on the field. (Video) http://iheardcamnewton.com/post/2183/