It’s been 3 weeks since the gauntlet of teams from the state of South Carolina concluded, but the Georgia Bulldogs are ready for another massive game. This time, the opponent is 6th-ranked LSU, but the venue is a familiar one for the Bulldogs as they are set to play Between the Hedges. Let’s take a look.
Opponent: LSU Tigers (4-0, 1-0 in SEC)
Time/TV: 3:30 PM ET, CBS
Georgia Offense vs. LSU Defense
Unstoppable force vs. immovable object. The Georgia offense is among the best in the country with Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley both being near (or at) the top of their respective positions nationally. UGA is averaging over 570 yards per game offensively this season (to go along with over 40 points per game), and while I could go on and on about the virtues of the unit, they are stellar and we all know it.
Now, LSU’s defense should be equally fantastic, and they are in the top-20 in both points against and yards against despite playing TCU and Auburn in the early going. At first glance, this would seem like a draw, but LSU has actually had some issues against the run this season.
In 4 games, the Tigers have allowed nearly 550 yards on the ground, and while that isn’t awful, they haven’t seen anything like Todd Gurley and Richard Marshall barreling down the hill at them. The talent is there for LSU (led by Anthony Johnson and Lamin Barrow), so it would be careless to assume that UGA will march up and down the field, but it isn’t necessarily your older brother’s LSU defense.
Georgia Defense vs. LSU Offense
Here’s where I would begin to worry if I am a Bulldogs fan. LSU boasts one of the best tailbacks in the country in Jeremy Hill (who Atlanta sports radio personality Chuck Oliver inserts as the best running back in the nation), and for the first time in a while, the Tigers are set at quarterback with former UGA recruit Zach Mettenberger.
This version of the Georgia defense has been underwhelming this season, but it’s important to note that the competition level that they’ve faced has been elite. LSU isn’t Clemson offensively, and the run defense hasn’t been an issue for Georgia in the early going. I could see Todd Grantham loading up the box to try to contain Hill and the stable of LSU backs, and thus, forcing Mettenberger to beat them through the air.
Mettenberger may very well do that, but he’s far from proven after a 4-game sample, and that’s the best bet for victory for the Bulldogs.
This is an enormous game for Georgia. Every preseason goal is still on the table for UGA thanks to the “vaunted” SEC allowing for a 1-loss champion to make the National Title game. All of that can be derailed by a loss at home in this spot, but if they can navigate Saturday with a win, the schedule opens up a bit for the Bulldogs.
Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!