Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post LSU storylines

Friday October 24, 2008

If you need to drum up some kind of grudge for the game, both teams will have to reach. LSU can look back at the last two meetings between the teams – way back in 2004 and 2005. Georgia can drum up indignation over the 2007 BCS. There’s not much bad blood – certainly not as much as you’ll see in coming weeks when Georgia plays Florida and LSU plays Alabama. But that doesn’t mean that it’s casual and insignificant when Georgia and LSU play. Two of the last three meetings have been in the Georgia Dome with the SEC title up for grabs, and the odd game out was between the defending national champion and the #3 team in the nation.

Both teams enter this game with an opportunity for a little bit of redemption. The lopsided nature of Georgia’s loss to Alabama and LSU’s loss at Florida knocked both teams down several pegs, and both have been waiting for another chance on the national stage to put up a better result. Georgia bounced back with wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and LSU put away a resurgent South Carolina team. With a lot on the line, here’s what I’ll be looking at in the game:

Keying on the run

There’s no question that the running game is the focal points of both teams’ offenses. One of the biggest consequences of Alabama’s quick start at Georgia was taking Knowshon Moreno out of the game, but Moreno is coming off a season-high effort last week. Mark Richt kind of bristled on Saturday when he was asked why Knowshon Moreno kept coming out of the Vanderbilt game. It’s true that it’s more or less Moreno’s call, and that’s fine. I think the question has more to do with this: after that touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half, the SEC Offense Player of the Week was more or less a non-factor until the drive that began with 8:29 remaining in the game. He had three carries for three yards and a nice 10-yard reception over a span of time that was a little longer than a quarter.

The running game is even more important to LSU. With a relatively inexperienced quarterback, the Tigers have leaned on Charles Scott this season with good results, and Keiland Williams has been more than an effective change of pace. LSU has started using both in the game at the same time with the bruising Scott playing a little fullback. Georgia will no doubt be paying attention to the run, and we’ll have to see if the dual-QB approach can make Georgia pay with opportunities in the passing game as Alabama did.


The Dawgs recorded a pair of interceptions last week, but the ones they missed have been the story this week. What’s also noteworthy has been Georgia’s giveaways. Though the season total is still relatively low, Georgia has had two giveaways in each of their last three games. That’s not a positive development after a relatively thrifty start to the season. Most concerning is Stafford’s five interceptions over those three games after zero in the first four games. This is as good of a chance as Stafford will get to shed the interception bug; LSU is 11th in the SEC (yes, behind even Georgia) with only four interceptions on the season.

Second half points

Georgia scored 30 points in the second half against Alabama. Whether or not the Tide let up, it was at the very least a commendable effort by Georgia to get back off the mat.

In the four other games against BCS conference teams, Georgia has managed in aggregate that same 30 points in the second half. The Dawgs scored no more than ten second half points in any of those games, and there has not been a single fourth quarter touchdown. Yes, those were all wins, but they were also (with one exception) one-possession games into the fourth quarter. It’s not like Georgia was sitting on leads of 20+ points. Mark Richt might not be worried about style points, but being able to close the door with the offense is another matter.

The third option

The emergence of A.J. Green should have opened things up for other Georgia receivers, but it hasn’t really happened. David Hale notes how the trend is actually towards the opposite: a higher concentration of passes going to Massaquoi and Green. Goodman is really the only other receiver to do much lately, and he only has a handful of catches. The disappearance of the tight end and injuries to Durham and King haven’t helped. LSU is right there with Georgia when it comes to struggles against the pass, but the Bulldog passing game – protection willing – should be in a better position to do something about it. Will Green and MoMass continue to make plays despite the attention they’ll get, or will that third option that Hale mentions emerge this week?

The matchup

Georgia’s young an injury-riddled offensive line versus LSU’s group of big, bad men. It seems every time we go to Baton Rouge lately, the Georgia offensive line is an issue. In 1998, Anthony McFarland was a menace against the interior Georgia line, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win for the Tigers. In 2003, David Greene was harassed all day, and numerous passes were tipped. The challenge for the Georgia line seems at least as great this year. If there’s positive news, it’s been the steady progress of the line over the past two games. The ability to lead solid fourth quarter drives against quality SEC defenses was very impressive, and the line held league-leading Vanderbilt without a sack last week. LSU is no Vanderbilt, but will this prove to be as big of a mismatch as people expect?

Comments are closed.