Beating ranked foe a top goal for Bulldogs

None of the teams that Georgia has defeated this year will make anyone stand up and take notice.

Louisiana-Lafayette, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Idaho State have a combined 13-33 record.

That can change Saturday on the Plains if the Bulldogs can upset No. 2 and unbeaten Auburn in a CBS nationally televised game at 3:30 p.m.

Gallery: UGA vs. Idaho State

Video: Coach Richt talks about Saturday’s performance

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"It could be huge for us," Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. "It’s going to be exciting. We’re ready for the challenge. I don’t think we’ve beat a ranked team all year. That’s one of our goals."

Georgia (5-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) is 0-2 against ranked teams this year, losing to South Carolina and Arkansas.

The Bulldogs, winners of four of their last five, haven’t beaten a team as highly ranked as Auburn in 25 years, since a 24-3 victory over then-No. 1 Florida on Nov. 9, 1985.

Georgia’s last win against a top-five opponent was a 37-15 win at No. 5 Auburn on Nov. 11, 2006, but coach Mark Richt on Sunday night wasn’t embracing the notion that the Bulldogs are looking for a signature win or a defining game Saturday.

"The bottom line is it’s another Southeastern Conference game," Richt said. "It’s very important to us. It’s a big-time rival game for us, which is very important to us and it’s the next game. We want to play well. We want to play where we’ll be proud of our effort. We want the Bulldog Nation to be proud of the way we play. Those are a lot of things that are running through our minds."

Auburn (10-0, 6-0 SEC) will clinch a spot in the SEC championship game if it beats Georgia.

LSU and Alabama, still in contention for the SEC West title, will be pulling for Georgia.

"We just got out of a meeting and there’s not a lot you have to talk about," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday. "Everybody knows what is at stake. We said weeks ago that if you keep winning, the stakes get higher every week. One of the reasons we don’t talk about it a lot is because they already know it. We’ll try to proceed business as usual, but obviously everybody on our team knows how big the week is."

The Tigers can still advance to to the title game if it loses to Georgia and beats Alabama on Nov. 26.

Georgia would become bowl-eligible with a victory against a team it has beaten four straight years in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry.

With a loss, the Bulldogs still would have one more try at their sixth win on Nov. 27 against Georgia Tech.

Auburn’s Heisman Trophy frontrunner Cam Newton leads the SEC in rushing (114.6 yards per game) and passing efficiency (182.77).

The quarterback is the headliner of an Auburn offense that is tops in the conference and sixth nationally in scoring offense (42.2 points per game) and total offense (509.4).

"They’ve got good athletes at other spots, so you can’t say, ‘Hey he’s the guy,’ because they’ll hand it to somebody else and those guys can break it to the house," Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "They’ve put up a lot of numbers on a lot of people and we’re going to have to be ready to play."

Said receiver A.J. Green: "If we can come out with this one, there’s going to be a lot of people that will respect us. It’s going to be a big game. We’re ready for it. … It would be great to come out of there with a victory."

► Notes: Georgia’s 12 interceptions are two more than they had all of last season and third in the SEC behind Florida and Alabama. … Saturday’s game will feature the SEC’s top two pass-rushers. Bulldogs outside linebacker Justin Houston is first in the SEC in sacks with nine and Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley has 7 1/2. Fairley leads with 18 tackles for loss. Houston is second with 16 1/2. … Two backups, nose guard Kwame Geathers (ankle) and receiver Logan Gray (jaw), both have a good chance to play Saturday, Richt said. … Freshman safety Alec Ogletree is likely to start for the second straight game in the secondary. "We saw really good things in him," Richt said. "We were pleased with what he did."

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