When the National Championship Game kicks off on Monday night in Atlanta, it will be tough for Auburn fans to watch.
That’s because Auburn’s biggest rivals — Alabama and Georgia — are playing for it all, and in a year the Tigers beat both teams, no less.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was in Atlanta for the game, though, stopping by the College GameDay set to discuss how hard it will be for him and Auburn fans everywhere to see.
“It’s tough,” he said. “They earned it, they got here.”
However, Malzahn has some interesting insight as the only coach to take down both squads this year. When it comes to stopping Alabama offensively, he said limiting QB Jalen Hurts is the key.
“You can’t let him beat you with his feet when it’s a passing situation,” he said. “He’s a great player. You have to stop him to have a chance to beat them.”
Offensively against the Tide, Malzahn said staying on schedule with down and distance is imperative.
“You’ve gotta move the football offensively and be patient, try to get to 3rd and 6 or less,” he said.
When Georgia has the ball, Malzahn said the important thing is to stop their first-down running plays.
“You’ve got to stop the run on first down,” he said. “That’s a big deal. You have to get them behind the chains.”
When Alabama has the ball, he noted that not letting star LB Roquan Smith and the Georgia defenders go side-to-side will be crucial.
“You’ve got to run the football downhill,” he said. “Their linebackers can really move side to side.”
Which team will be able to best follow Malzahn’s game plans on Monday night? That remains to be seen, but it will be fun to watch.