A Beatdown in the Bayou, Rough Night in Redstick, Trouble in Tiger Stadium … any headline you want to put on it, it was a long Oct. 13 afternoon for then unbeaten and 2nd-ranked Georgia as 13th-ranked LSU mauled the Bulldogs 36-16.
But that very disappointing day, when both Georgia’s young and veteran players were exposed by the fired-up Tigers, is now ancient history for this UGA team as it prepares to remain in the SEC title race against East Division co-leader Florida on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville.
But one final look at the debacle in Baton Rouge as we document the weekly Stats That Matter, which admittedly are not a pretty sight for all those who follow and love the Red and Black.
Plays of 20 plus yards (offense/defense)
Illustrating the frustration experienced by the Georgia offense, the Bulldogs had one measly 20 yards or more play until the fourth quarter. And that was when Jake Fromm passed 23 yards to Isaac Nauta in the third period. The other two came in the final quarter when the game was out of reach … a Fromm-to-Riley Ridley 35-yard completion and Fromm and Ridley teaming up again on a 27-yard scoring pass with six minutes left. Meanwhile the Tigers were riddling the UGA defense with one big play after another. Quarterback Joe Burrow completed passes of 37 yards to Terrace Marshall and 50 and 37 yards to Justin Jefferson. And there was a 47-yard run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire and, of all things, a 59-yard keeper by Burrow that set up LSU’s final touchdown.
Oh boy! An early 28-yard run by Elijah Holyfield — Georgia’s longest from scrimmage in the game — was nullified due to a holding penalty on tackle Isaiah Wilson. There was that inexplicable fake field goal attempt when Rodrigo Blankenship, instead of kicking the 31-yarder to tie the game at 3-3, attempted to run for a first down and was stuffed by the Tigers for a loss. Blankenship running the football? A reverse to say, Mecole Hardman, would have made much more sense; still, drilling the field goal and tying the game at 3-3 in the first quarter would have been the best bet. There were also four turnovers by Georgia that kept giving LSU momentum … two interceptions thrown by Fromm and lost fumbles by Hardman on a kickoff return and Blankenship on his fake field goal run. If there was a positive sign, after being slapped with 13 penalties for 115 yards against Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs cut that down to just four penalties for 20 yards in this setback.
Special teams wins vs. miscues
The biggest miscue of course was the botched fake field goal attempt. Also Hardman’s fumble on his only kickoff return at Georgia’s own 14-yard line that led to a Tiger field goal. Freshman Jake Camarda’s punting was again shaky with a 35.5 average on six kicks. Blankenship did make the only field goal attempt he actually kicked, a 40-yard boot in the third quarter.
Too many of these, especially by the Bulldogs’ defensive linemen and linebackers, as evident by Georgia’s defensive backs leading the team in tackles this game. Time and again, LSU backs burst through the front line of defense for huge gains with the Tigers putting a whopping 275 yards rushing on the Dawgs.
As mentioned, Georgia’s turning the ball over four times against a team like LSU is a recipe for disaster … the two picks thrown by Fromm on his worst showing of the season and the lost fumbles by Blankenship and Hardman. And for the second consecutive game, the Bulldog defense didn’t force any turnovers from their opponent.
Red Zone (offense/defense)
Wow, again showing the domination by the Tigers, LSU was a flawless 8-of-8 scoring inside the red zone, three by touchdowns and five field goals. The Bulldogs drove inside the LSU 20 only three times, getting one touchdown and one field goal out of it.
Third down conversions
Another ugly number here for Georgia as it was 5-of-14 on third down conversions and 0-for-1 on a fourth down try. The Tigers weren’t any better on third downs, going 6-of-19 but, LSU converted all four times the Tigers went for it on fourth down in short-yardage situations.
Run/pass attempts (total plays)
Again, a big LSU advantage here as the Tigers ran 81 plays for 475 yards of offense while the Bulldogs managed just 64 plays for their lowest offensive output of the season, just 322 total yards.