- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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If Auburn is going to spoil Georgia's Eastern Division championship plans, one thing definitely has to change for the Tigers.
They need to play better on the road.
In fact, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday it would take the Tigers' best road effort of the season to beat the Bulldogs. Auburn's lone road win this season came over South Carolina, a 16-13 decision back on Oct. 1.
In the Tigers' three road losses, they've been outscored by a 121-48 margin and given up an average of 485 yards in total offense. It's worth noting that Clemson rolled up 624 yards, so the Tigers have improved some on the defensive side away from home. It just hasn't been good enough.
The other thing they've done in their three road losses is turn the ball over. They've committed six turnovers and forced only two.
Big scoring plays have also been a problem. In all three losses, Auburn has allowed a scoring play of more than 40 yards. No. 1 LSU had two in the 45-10 blowout of Auburn two weeks ago.
What the Tigers have going for them heading to Sanford Stadium this weekend is that they're rested and should be as healthy as they've been in a while. Auburn had played nine straight weeks before getting a bye last week, which was longer than any other SEC team.
The extra recovery time looks like it's going to pay dividends at the receiver position. Emory Blake and Trovon Reed will both be on the field Saturday against Georgia in what's been an injury-plagued season for both of them.
As Chizik pointed out, even if they're just 85 or 95 percent, having them both on the field at the same time should be a huge boost for an Auburn passing game that has struggled to make plays down the field all season.
3hSam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough
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1hSam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough