Dec 3, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) throws a pass against the LSU Tigers during the second half of the 2011 SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Outlasts LSU, 44-41

Editor’s Note: Due to travel over the weekend (ahem, Brad Rowland), we’ve asked a “pinch hitter” to recap the Georgia/LSU game today. Without further ado, here is a friend of ATL All Day, James Niemeyer, with all the details. 

Two SEC powerhouses met between the hedges in Athens earlier today and played arguably the best CFB game of the year. Ex-roommates Aaron Murray (20/34, 298 yds, 4TD/1INT, 1 rush TD) and Zach Mettenberger (23/37, 372 yds, 3TD/0INT) went blow for blow, but UGA’s defense landed the knockout with a turnover on downs late in the 4th, allowing Murray to take a victory kneel.

UGA and Murray started out strong and set the tone with an 8 play 75 yd opening drive, ending with a strike from Murray to Bennett. Not to be outdone, Mettenberger responded with a nice drive, capped off by an easy pitch to Boone, which was made all the easier when the UGA defender fell down on the coverage.
On Georgia’s second possession, the Mad Hatter pulled out a defensive trick when he dropped DL Anthony Johnson into coverage, which led to a Murray INT and great field position for LSU. Mettenberger quickly capitalized on the turnover. They went five-wide on 3rd and goal; Mettenberger once again found Boone cutting across the end zone and LSU took an early 14-7 lead.

The battle-hardened Murray shook off the early INT and went back to work; he found Connelly for a beautiful 25 yd pass to finish the quarter, with the teams dead-locked at 14-14.

Amongst all of the great QB plays was terrific running by Heisman hopeful Todd Gurley and running-mate Keith Marshall. Gurley ran well early, but found himself in the locker room in the 2nd quarter with a tweaked left ankle and never returned.
LSU wasn’t particularly great on the ground, but got the big yards when they needed it in the redzone. LSU scored twice in the 4th quarter with a 2 yd run from Kenny Hilliard and an 8 yd rumble from Jeremy Hill, which put LSU ahead late in the 4th. Intermingled in between the pounding runs and the big time throws were some huge special teams play by both kickers.

Fresh off suspension, UGA kicker Marshall Morgan put on a show with 3 FG’s, with one coming from the Janakowski –land of 55 yds. LSU kicker Delahoussaye was also perfect on the night from 39 and 49 yds.
The 4th quarter was one for the ages as the LSU offense put a great deal of pressure on a vulnerable UGA secondary. Facing a 3rd and 23 deep in their own territory, Mettenberger found Odell Beckham for 25 yds and a fresh set of downs.
That helped keep alive a must-have late 4th quarter drive that was finished by Jeremy Hill from 8 yds out. Murray, with 4 mins left, took the reins and with the UGA season on his shoulders, started his march down field. The LSU defense was playing a soft zone and Murray continued finding the soft spot in the middle. Deep in LSU territory, Murray finally found Justin Scott-Wesley uncovered on the sideline; Scott-Wesley marched in uncontested from 25 yds out and put UGA ahead for good with 2 minutes left.

The SEC has certainly strayed away from the usual defensive battles (see Bama-9 LSU-6). This year the SEC has some of the best QB’s in the country and most match-ups are turning into a track meet; this game was no different. Murray and Mettenberger both ran the anchor legs with Murray edging his former roommate at the tape.

Tags: Georgia Bulldogs LSU Tigers

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