No. 4 Georgia, No. 7 Auburn collide with QB cliffhanger subplot

Sports

Georgia’s quarterback situation is getting more complicated as the No. 4 Bulldogs prepare to host No. 7 Auburn on Saturday night.

D’Wan Mathis started the season opener at Arkansas last week. Stetson Bennett replaced him and provided a spark in a 37-10 victory.

Now USC transfer J.T. Daniels enters the picture.

Daniels was medically cleared to play after missing the opener as he returns from a knee injury suffered last season. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said Carson Beck also is in the mix.

“We’ll be looking at everybody across the board,” Smart said. “J.T.’s got to be able to show that he can function efficiently and do it with his knee being able to do it.

“We’re not putting ourselves in a pigeonhole, saying we can only have one quarterback. We’ve got to develop all of our quarterbacks.”

Any of those options at quarterback will benefit if the Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0 SEC) are able to run the ball better than they did against the Razorbacks. Georgia had just 121 rushing yards, averaging 2.9 per carry.

“Historically we’ve been able to run the ball at a good rate compared to a lot of people in our league,” Smart said, “and we didn’t do that Saturday.”

This is an unusually early part of the season for the annual matchup dubbed “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.”

“This is one of the most traditional rivalries in all of college football,” Smart said.

Auburn (1-0, 1-0) has no doubt about its quarterback. It’s Bo Nix, who was the SEC Freshman of the Year last season and threw three second-half touchdowns in a 29-13 victory over visiting Kentucky in the opener last Saturday.

Nix threw two touchdown passes to Seth Williams and one to Eli Stove as he completed 16 of 27 passes for 233 yards. Williams caught six passes for 112 yards.

“They’re on the same page,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said of Nix and Williams. “They’re starting to develop that special connection between a quarterback and a receiver.”

Another receiver, Anthony Schwartz (three catches for 40 yards) said he has seen growth in Nix since last season.

“He’s like a professional quarterback, not panicking, getting through his reads and just being able to throw the ball under pressure, throwing accurate balls,” Schwartz said. “I don’t think there was one that wasn’t a great pass (Saturday).

“When the pressure came he didn’t try to unnecessarily roll out. He just sat in there and got the throws off. I think he was very locked in and very poised.”

Nix and the offense’s job was made easier by the defense causing three turnovers.

“The defense and offense complemented each other,” Malzahn said.

Nix has thrown an Auburn-record 218 consecutive passes without an interception.

Last season, Georgia had a 21-0 lead after three quarters and held on for a 21-14 victory against Auburn.

–Field Level Media

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