Updated: Nov 2
Photo by Auburn Athletics
Following their first loss of the season in College Station, TX, Auburn will travel home to take on the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the 128th edition of the Deep South’s Oldest rivalry, the first contest between the two in the month of September.
“Excited to be back home to play one of the gold standards in college football right now. What coach Smart has done there, and in his eight seasons, well, he's got it rolling,” said Hugh Freeze. “So it’ll be a great test for us. Thank God we're in Jordan-Hare. I know it will be electric and we're gonna get the kids that are healthy enough ready to play and compete in this game.”
The Tigers are coming off a rough offensive performance out in Texas. Thorne struggled to get the Tigers going through the air with only 44 yards passing and an average yards per attempt of 3.7. Auburn went without an offensive touchdown for the first time since their last trip to Kyle Field in 2021.
In Auburn’s last five contests against power five opponents, dating back to the 2022 season, the Tigers have failed to throw for 100 or more yards.
“He's (Thorne) really sharp in practice. Last week, particularly he was really sharp in practice and we keep hoping to see that translate to the games,” Freeze said. “And again, it's a combination. It's not all Peyton but, sometimes it is. And he owns it.”
Despite the struggles, Auburn was able to find itself in potential scoring opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. A trend that will have to change if the Tigers want to stay in the game against the back to back defending champions.
“So we've got to continue to work. And coach that better. And then get us more consistent and stay out of the negative play situations where we easily could have had some points in that first half and made that a game,” Freeze said.
Photo by Auburn Athletics
Freeze’s squad has a tall task having to face a Georgia team that is close to breaking several of the programs all time records. The Bulldogs are on a school record 21-game winning streak that began with a 34-11 win over Michigan in the 2021 CFP semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Georgia has won 20 regular season SEC games in a row dating back to a 31-24 win over Mississippi State on Nov. 21, 2020. The Bulldogs school record for consecutive SEC wins is 23, which was set during a stretch from 1980 to 1983.
“You know, I don't know that we'll have enough tickets for all the recruits that want to come. I'm glad I'm not having to deal with that. But our recruiting staff is working diligently. We got official visits so we got top kids here unofficially,” Freeze said. “And so it'll be all hands on deck. Our place is incredible to watch a game at the atmosphere and so now we've got to make sure they see what Auburn is really about while they're here for a game of this magnitude.”
Despite the unlikely odds of Auburn pulling off a massive upset against the Bulldogs in Freeze’s first year, the contest provides an opportunity for Auburn to continue to make progress in the rebuild of the program through talent acquisition.
The 128th edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will take place inside Jordan-Hare Stadium at 2:30pm CT and will be televised on CBS. The game can also be heard around the state of Alabama on the Auburn Sports Network.