Auburn, Ala.--Even before he signed a scholarship to play for the Tigers, Jake Slaughter realized that the Auburn-Georgia football game is special.
On Saturday evening at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., the Tigers and Bulldogs will meet for the 109th time in the Southeastern Conference’s oldest football series.
“The game I came to see when I decided to come to Auburn was the Georgia game,” Slaughter remembers. “I knew at that moment it was a huge rivalry.
“You can tell the way we are preparing for it that it is a big game,” he adds. “We have been coming in early in the morning this week and the tempo is different. You can tell it is going to be a huge game.”
Slaughter’s blocking is one reason the Auburn offense is averaging 207.1 yards per game as the Tigers lead the SEC in total offense at 435.4 yards per contest. Georgia has the number two offense, averaging 403.4 yards per game.
The senior says that he was particularly impressed with the offensive line’s play as the Tigers racked up 388 rushing yards last week at Kentucky. “I love it,” he says. “They pancaked a lot of people and the young guys stepped up and did well.”
Slaughter also says that sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox is stepping up, too. “I think it is obvious in the way he handles everything in huddle,” Slaughter notes. “He is a lot more confident. He knows what he can do and we know what he can do.”
Auburn improved to 5-1 in the SEC with the victory over Kentucky that featured one of the best blocks of the season by any Tiger when Slaughter knocked down two Wildcats at once with pinball-style action on a nine-yard touchdown run by Kenny Irons.
“I love sweep plays when you can get out on the corner and tee off on those safeties and cornerbacks,” the fullback says. “I got a chance to tee off on one or two of them and I did. It was definitely pretty nice.”
The victory over the Wildcats kept Auburn alive in the competition to defend its SEC title. The Tigers need to win Saturday night at Georgia and the following week at home vs. Alabama to stay in the hunt and LSU must lose one of its three remaining SEC games vs. Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
“These are the two biggest games we will play,” Slaughter says of the rivalry contests vs. Georgia and Alabama. We know what we have got to do. We are going to go out there and do it.”
The Tigers vs. Bulldogs game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff at 6:45 p.m. CST. “We know the game is on TV and lot of people will be watching,” the fullback says. “We will show everybody what we are made of.”