Blog Entry

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 5:23 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

they can avoid giving LSU easy points. No kickoff returns for touchdown, no short fields following fumble giveaways, no pick-sixes or 60-yard bombs over the top. Simple, right?

Not against LSU, it's not; such is the Tigers' incredible strength in special teams and defense that they rank a mediocre 62nd in total offense ... and still a robust 13th in scoring offense at 38 points a game, better than all but seven other BCS conference teams. But as those low yardage totals indicate, putting together 8, 9-play drives that cover 75, 85 yards are not what LSU wants to do or what plays to their strengths. Even the 14-play, 77-yard march that got the Tigers on the board vs. Arkansas had to survive a botched option pitch and a near-interception from Jordan Jefferson to hit paydirt.

The Tigers can bang out those kinds of drives, of course, thanks to Spencer Ware and Michael Ford and the rest of LSU's pounding ground game. But Georgia can answer that with the nation's No. 6 rush defense, Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Christian Robinson and the rest. If Ware and Co. find some tough sledding somewhere between their own 20 and the end zone, is Jefferson good enough to repeatedly execute in the passing game -- against the nation's fourth-ranked secondary in opponent's QB rating, no less -- enough to put those usual 38 points on the board? 

Probably not--which is why if Aaron Murray can protect the ball against Morris Claiborne and the rest of the LSU ballhawks, if the Dawgs can avoid getting burned in special teams, if Drew Butler can match Brad Wing inside-the-20 punt for inside-the-20 punt, if the Dawg secondary can keep Rueben Randle from shortcutting a long drive into a quick one, the Dawgs will have a chance. Those are big -- gigantic -- if's, of course. But that's where the Dawgs have to start.

LSU WILL WIN IF: they play their game. Georgia shouldn't be able to stay even in the special teams department when no one else has. Georgia shouldn't be able to run well enough to keep Murray out of the 3rd-and-8's in which Barkevious Mingo can tee off and Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, and the rest of the defensive backs thrive. Georgia shouldn't be able to get their receivers free against that secondary. Georgia shouldn't be able to offensively overcome to kinds of holes Wing will put them in.

LSU is the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. Georgia's good, but are they so good that if LSU plays to their potential, they'll be able to win anyway? No.

THE X-FACTOR: When Arkansas went up 14-0, the immediate reaction was "how will LSU respond?" Those 14 points represented a deficit more than three times larger than their previous season high ... and it was still erased and then some before halftime. But that was at home, against a team with no ability to stop the LSU ground game, and they got the benefit of Mathieu's game-swinging punt return. Let's say the Bulldogs not only ride a surge of early energy and momentum to a two touchdown first half lead, but hold on to keep a narrow edge into the game's final 20 minutes. Then how does LSU respond? It's a de facto road game. It's against the best defense they've seen since Alabama. It's for the SEC title. Do they keep their unflappable 2011 cool in that situation, too? Or not? 

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 7:01 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

I bet you applied to "Goergia" and didn't get in you idiot.  You're nowhere near the "caliper" of student they'd accept.

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:34 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

311Brew knows the Tigers.  We're weak at one spot - quarterback.  I think both these QB's lost developmental years under Gary Crowton.  Lee reverted to his "deer in the headlights" form against Bama and, thank goodness, Miles sent him to the bench. At least Jefferson is a great dual threat, as evidenced by his TD runs agaisnt North Carolina last opening day and Arkansas last week.  But he, too, gets a little wild with the ball.
    Georgia, despite its gaudy record, has not beaten any very good teams.  They have losses to Bosie State and South Carolina (though by only three), the two current top 25 teams they played.  The next highest ranked team is Georgia Tech, currently number 38 in the Congrove poll.  Meanwhile, LSU has wins over numbers 3, 10, 11 and 25.  And only one of those games was still in doubt at the end of the third quarter.  Looking at the results of this year, Georgia shouldn't have a chance (despite what a UGA writer says about their "similar" schedules).
   Georgia needs to jump on LSU early, play the run, dare LSU to beat them passing, chew the clock and STILL not make any mistakes.  If they can get a couple of picks off Jefferson (Miles is no fool: Jarrett Lee will not see the field until the game is out of reach) and score with short fields, they have a better chance than the author thinks.
   That all said, I was not convinced this LSU team was near-unbeatable untill I saw them shut down Arkansas.  Now, short of a near perfect game, I don't think anyone SHOULD be able to beat them, except maybe Alabama.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2011 3:37 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

Right now, Alabama has it's wagon hitched to LSU so tight with safety bolts, will they be able to un-hitch fast enough if LSU has a bad game and loses by 10+?    That's the only scenario where I see any other team actually getting a shot (in order - OSU, Va Tech, Stanford; and I'm not sure about Stanford as I think LSU would come back into the discussion at that point).

All the pressure is on LSU and Alabama is pretty much either going to be vacationing or sweating bullets as they'll have no affect upon this game or their destiny.  It'll be real interesting to watch how the officials call this one also.  Anywhere there is so much money on the line is always a consideration to look after...

Since: Nov 8, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:23 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

What EVERYONE at LSU knows is that Jefferson is a GOOD throwing QB who makes poor decisions. Lee is a GOOD throwing QB who can't scramble.  Combined, Jefferson and Lee have thrown a grand total of 4 interceptions in 12 games, so good luck on those turnovers you are counting on. 

Since: Nov 8, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:10 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

Whole lotta IFs in that scenario. I could make a statement for Slippery Rock winning the BCS IF I could insert enough IFs.  They will play the game on Saturday and Georgia will want to win badly, just as LSU will want to win badly.  It won't even come down to which team wants it the most. It will come to talent and coaching and depth, all of which fall in favor of LSU.  There is the possibility that LSU could lose the game, given all the IFs, but they will not, because they will be prepared and they will be the superior team in the Georgia Dome.

Since: Nov 7, 2011
Posted on: November 30, 2011 4:10 am

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

I'm sorry but Goergia doesn't stand a chance against LSU. Goergia is a decent team but no where near the caliper of team that LSU or Alabama is this year. LSU will dominate all stages of this game from the openning kick off till the final whistle sounds. I believe this will be another one sided affair by LSU and what should be a exciting game being the SEC Championship will end up being a bore.. Anyway Roll Tide and just maybe we will see LSU again soon..

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: November 29, 2011 7:57 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

One would think that this analysis is correct. I think LSU's special teams play is the biggest potential advantage in the game based on UGA's performance this year. Mike Bobo's stupid playcalling at times is concern #2.

Still, let's consider what position advantages UGA has over LSU: QB and linebackers. If the UGA line holds up fairly well and Crowell holds up fairly well, it's not far fetched to think that Murray can connect on a handful of big plays. On defense, the UGA line is big enough to slow down the LSU line push, so it's linebackers have a chance to challenge LSU running backs near the line of scrimmage. The Dawgs are susceptible to trickery and a scrambling QB, but if the linebackers slow down the LSU running attack, EVERYONE knows that Jordan Jefferson and Jarret Lee are poor throwing QB's, and the UGA secondary is good enough to reel in bad throws even if it isn't elite in pass coverage. 

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:00 pm

Keys to the Game: Georgia vs. LSU

What college football needs is a playoff. Then the best teamS in the country can compete for the championship, like every other sport. Imagine a 16-team tournament that has auto-bids for the 11 conference champs, and 5 at-large slots for the best remaining teams in the BCS rankings. The seeds would be determined by the BCS rankings. Higher seeds at home until the final four. 

Here is what it would look like heading into championship week: 

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