Georgia vs Auburn: Highlighting Top Impact Players in Saturday's SEC Showdown

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 15, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Corey Grant (20) leaps over fullback Jay Prosch (35) during the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Auburn Tigers will attempt to keep their slim national championship hopes alive on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the upset-minded Georgia Bulldogs.

Georgia has rebounded from its two-game losing streak in mid-October to win two straight. But the Tigers have won six straight overall and are currently seventh in the BCS standings. 

With the stage set, let's take a look at a trio of impact players who will be worth watching in Saturday's top-25 showdown. 


Corey Grant, Auburn, RB

Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Corey Grant (20) runs the ball for a touchdown as Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon (20) trails behind at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

If Tre Mason is Auburn's workhorse back, consider speedster Corey Grant as the Tigers' home run hitter.

The 5'11", 205-pound sophomore only averages five attempts per game, but averages 10.1 yards per attempt this season. Against Tennessee last week, Grant carried the ball four times for 48 yards and also showcased his talents as an explosive return man, taking the second-half kickoff back 90 yards for a score.

Grant has averaged 12 or more yards per carry on three different occasions this season and has rushed for at least 40 yards in 7 of 10 games. That's awfully impressive when you consider that he's touching the ball five times per game on average and hasn't touched the ball more than nine times in a single game this season.

Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall are both big reasons why Auburn ranks third in the country in rushing yards this season, but Grant is the runner who can change the game when you least suspect it.


Aaron Murray, Georgia, QB

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 02:  Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray will be the most dangerous player on the field Saturday afternoon in Auburn. After all, the senior signal-caller is one of the most prolific passers in college football and will be up against a suspect pass defense.

Murray is one of only 21 FBS quarterbacks to have thrown for at least 20 touchdowns this season and is one of only 13 who averages at least nine yards per pass attempt.

The Tigers rank 78th against the pass in 2013 and have been giving up chunks of yardage through the air. Georgia's Murray-led aerial assault will be the third-best that Auburn sees this season behind Texas A&M and Washington State. 

If Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson can't come up with a game plan to contain Murray and Georgia's outside weapons, this game could become a shootout. 


Dee Ford, Auburn, DE

Oct 19, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive end Dee Ford (30) pressures Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) during the second half at Kyle Field. Tigers won 45-41. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

If you're searching for an impact player to follow on the defensive side of the ball, look no further than Auburn defensive end Dee Ford.

The senior pass-rusher has recorded seven sacks since the start of October and leads the Tigers in tackles for a loss with 10.5. Keep in mind that Ford, who was on the Bednarik Award preseason watch list, did not appear in Auburn's first two games.  

With Aaron Murray standing across the line of scrimmage, you can bet Ford will play a key role in Saturday's matchup. If the 6'2", 240-pound edge-rusher can pressure Murray and get to him throughout, Auburn will be in great shape as they look to pick up win No. 10 on the season. 


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