lsuauburn.101517 HS 758.JPG

LSU running back Derrius Guice (5) is buried by Auburn defenders on the stop in the first quarter, Saturday, October 14, 2017, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

1 CAN KERRYON CARRY ON?

Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson has rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, so he’s critical to the Tigers’ SEC Championship Game hopes against Georgia. But Johnson went down with a shoulder injury last week against Alabama and his availability remains questionable. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he will watch Johnson in pregame warmups to see how he looks physically, an ominous level of security for such an important game.

2 DIG A TRENCH

To be blunt, Georgia was pushed around on Nov. 11 in Auburn like no No. 1-ranked team should be in what turned out to be an embarrassing 40-17 rout. The Bulldogs will have to do a much better job of protecting quarterback Jake Fromm from Auburn’s formidable defensive front and open running lanes for the uber-talented duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel that weren’t there the first time (46 net yards on 32 carries).

3 GAME OF HIS LIFE

Since his 9-of-26 performance in the 27-23 loss at LSU, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham has been rock-steady. In the last five games, Stidham has completed 72 percent of his passes (94-of-130) for 1,172 yards with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’ll probably have to elevate his game even further, though, if Johnson is playing below par. Georgia has to force his issues with an, ahem, dogged pass rush that sacked him twice in Auburn.

4 AND THE WINNER IS …

Since losing to LSU, no one has been more impressive than Auburn, posting five straight double-digit wins including two over CFP No. 1 teams (Georgia, Alabama). But we like the Bulldogs to gain revenge here because of concerns about Johnson’s health, the amount of energy Auburn had to expend to vanquish Bama last week and how hard it is to beat a team as good as Georgia twice in one season. Dawgs in a classic, 26-23.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​