Georgia has plenty to be thankful for after defeating Georgia Tech 52-7 on Saturday, but it wasn’t a perfect outing.
While the Governor’s trophy stayed in its rightful Classic City home, the Bulldog’s little brother got under Georgia’s skin a little more than it should have. There are a lot of young guys on the team, but that doesn’t mean someone can sink to the other players’ level.
So for the first half, Georgia will be without its stud freshmen wideout George Pickens, and rightfully so. He made a costly mistake, and he must suffer the consequences.
While there are plenty of dawg bones to give after the win over Tech, I want to focus on how this defense could very well make it happen against LSU. However, I want to give credit to a couple of players who helped make it happen against Tech.
Jake Fromm had a sluggish start to the day but was able to record four touchdown passes and get over 250 passing yards. So despite him not having his best day, he receives that offensive dawg bone.
Dominick Blaylock usually is on the offensive dawg bone side of things, but this week he earns the special team bone for his return efforts. Against the Jackets, he had three returns for 45 yards with a long one of 32. Blaylock kept putting Georgia in good field position, so he earned it.
Georgia’s defense is the strongest part of this team, and it’s how the Bulldogs will get the big win over those Bayou Bengals.
There aren’t many people that think the Bulldogs can do it, but there is a way. Remember, there wasn’t a lot of people that gave Georgia a chance in 2017.
Georgia’s going to come in with a chip on its shoulder and rightfully so because there are so many doubters that thing it’ll be all LSU, the Bulldogs may have something else to say.
All season long, Georgia and LSU have figured out how to enforce their will on teams. However, statistically speaking, Georgia has a better defense on paper.
The Bulldogs defense gives up 10.4 points a game, ranking No. 1 in the SEC and No. 2 nationally behind Clemson, who gives up 10.1 points. As for LSU, the Tigers give up 22.08 points per opponent and rank No. 31 in the country and No. 8 in the SEC.
Georgia ranks No. 1 in the SEC for rush defense as opponents average 71 yards a game. Nationally, the Bulldogs have the No. 2 rush defense behind Utah, who only gives up 56.25 yards. As for the Tigers rank No. 4 in the SEC and No. 28 overall as LSU gives up 124.50 yards on the ground.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite Georgia giving up a lot of yards through the air, the Bulldogs still ranked higher than LSU. Nationally the Bulldogs are No. 15 in pass rush while LSU is No. 56. In the SEC, Georgia is No. 4, giving up 183.4 yards, and LSU is No. 9, giving up 221.4 through the air.
However, LSU’s offense is incredible through the air. Joe Burrows is completing 78.3 percent of his passes and has 44 passing touchdowns and averages 390 through the air on offense. LSU is going to try and expose Georgia’s secondary, so that group needs to be ready.
One of the keys to success on Saturday will be third-down conversions. Georgia’s only allowing 28 percent third-down completion rate. That number ranks No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. LSU is No. 3 in the SEC and No. 12 nationally as opponents only convert 31.13 percent of third downs.
If you look on paper, Georgia’s defense is better statistically; however, this will be a massive test. The biggest thing for either team will be turnovers, and havoc plays. Which defense can cause more problems for the opposing quarterback?
LSU averages 6.67 tackles for loss a game and has 80 on the season. Georgia has 66 total and averages 5.17 a game. As for sacks, LSU has 30 on the year while Georgia has 26.
Despite the Tigers having more sacks and tackles for loss, the more interesting havoc stat is quarterback hurries. The Bulldogs have 202 hurries this year, while LSU only has 31.
Azeez Ojulari alone has more than the entire Tigers defense with 34. While that isn’t as significant as getting a sack or tackle for loss, it’s causing that quarterback to get uncomfortable, and a lot of times, that’s helped Georgia get a stop.
LSU has 14 interceptions, four forced fumbles, and five recovered. As for Georgia, the Bulldogs have six interceptions, seven forced and eight recovered fumbles.
Turnovers are going to be essential in this game. Georgia’s spike pads haven’t gotten used much, and it’s time to knock off the dust. The Bulldogs need to get in the backfield often and get Burrow to make a mistake.
HOW GEORGIA DOES IT
LSU has played some tough teams this year, just like Georgia. Of the top four, these two teams have both played four ranked opponents throughout this season. That number is larger than the other top two teams combined.
Georgia’s offense must establish long drives to help keep that defense fresh.
Another thing Georgia needs to do is establish the run. Make that defense stack the box so you can air it out on them. Despite both teams having great secondaries, that is where both sides can make each other pay. Burrows is hot, Georgia will have to get him out of rhythm if they want another SEC title.
No more boring offense for Georgia, if the Bulldogs want to get taken seriously, it’s time to break open that playbook and see what this offense can do.
It’s time for Georgia to prove a point and convince the world it deserves to be one of the final four. It’s a mini revenge tour for Georgia as LSU was one of its only losses last year, and we’ve all seen what the Bulldogs do to teams who’ve beaten them.