Athens, Ga.--Always one of the most anticipated games of the season for Auburn players, particularly Tigers from the state of Georgia, Saturday’s SEC football showdown at Sanford Stadium is expected to offer a test for the Auburn secondary.
Georgia looks to have one of the better offenses the Tigers have faced this year. Auburn sophomore safety Aairon Savage says he is eager to get back into SEC action after shaking out the cobwebs last week vs. Tennessee Tech. It was his first action since being injured in Auburn’s victory over Florida on Sept. 29th.
“It felt good to be back out there with my teammates,” Savage tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “I was just trying to get my feet wet again. I hadn’t played for a while.”
A full-time starter in 2006, the safety from Albany, Ga., has missed half of Auburn’s games due to shoulder and knee injuries. He made three tackles and recovered a fumble in Auburn’s 35-3 Homecoming victory.
“I felt good, real good, to be out there playing with the guys again,” says Savage, who has 20 tackles this season after being in on 53 stops as a redshirt freshman.
This week the challenge for the Auburn defense is significant against the 10th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, who will bring a 7-2 record into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. CST kickoff at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
“Being from Georgia, it is a big game for me,” Savage says. “It is a big game for the university. I have missed enough games.”
The game, which will be nationally televised on CBS, features the 111th edition of the Southeastern Conference’s oldest rivalry. “You have got to get excited to play in a game like this,” Savage says. “You come to the SEC to play in the big-time, big spotlight games.”
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, whose Tigers are ranked 19th nationally, says it is good to see the hard-hitting Savage back on the field. Tuberville says the Tigers will need all the help they can get against a UGA team the Auburn coach contends is playing its best football of the season.
“The key for us to be successful is the same as always,” Savage says. “We need to go out and play with a lot of emotion. If we play fast and play good, we will be fine.”
Auburn leads the series 53-48-8 and has won 10 of its last 12 games at Sanford Stadium, but Georgia knocked off the Tigers last year in Auburn with a dominating performance in a 37-15 victory. QB Matthew Stafford led the Bulldogs by completing 14-20 passes for 219 yards and rushing for 83 yards on seven carries.
Savage points out he and his teammates have respect for the Bulldogs and their quarterback. “Stafford is a good player,” the safety says. “We are going to go out and see what happens. He is a good player over there and we have good players on our team. We will just see what happens.”
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