a, Ala.--If Auburn is going to pull off an upset on Saturday vs. its oldest rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, a key player for making that happen will likely be wide receiver Emory Blake.
Without Blake in the lineup, Auburn’s passing game, and overall offense, has struggled this football season. Back from an ankle injury in game nine vs. Ole Miss, Blake caught five passes for 71 yards and the go-ahead touchdown for the Tigers.
“He really gave us a shot in the arm,” said offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. “He gives everybody confidence.”
A major reason for that confidence is when Blake and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen are on the field for the offense, good things tend to happen for the Tigers. Auburn has posted a 19-2 record in games in which Blake or Lutzenkirchen, both juniors, catch a touchdown pass in a game.
Blake had appeared for only one play the past three games while dealing with his injury and his presence has been missed. No receiver had caught more than two passes in any of the past four games for Tigers in his absence since he was injured in a victory at South Carolina.
It is no coincidence that Blake's top four games this season in receiving yardage are also Auburn's top four games in points scored.
Clint Moseley, who threw four touchdown passes vs. the Rebels, said having Blake on the field is a good feeling for a quarterback. “He helps us, there’s no argument there,” the quarterback said. “He’s a great receiver and a great football player.”
Emory Blake is shown catching a touchdown pass in Auburn's victory over Ole Miss.
Blake led the 2010 national champions in touchdown catches with eight. He has five this year and is averaging 16.8 yards per reception, the exact number he averaged last season.
“It has been tough not playing, especially when I know I can have an impact on the game and hopefully change the game for the better for us,” said Blake, who noted that he was about 75 percent of full speed vs. Ole Miss.
With the Tigers having two weeks to prepare for Georgia, with an off-week that is giving Blake extra time to rest and rehab. He should be much closer to full speed as the SEC’s oldest rivalry, dating back to 1892, is played for the 115th time.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Central time in Athens, a location where the Tigers have had previous success posting a 14-10-2 mark vs. the Bulldogs in games played between’s Sanford Stadium’s hedges. Auburn brings a 6-3 record into the contest while Georgia is 7-2 with a seven-game winning streak.
Premium Subscription Signup