(4) LSU vs (18) Georgia
By Contributing Fanspeak writer Geoff Nelowet
LSU heads into Athens, GA on Saturday in hopes of avenging last season’s 52-38 home loss to the Georgia. The 18th-ranked Bulldogs are 3-1 on the season, and their only loss came on the first week of the season at Oklahoma State. The LSU Tigers are 4-0 on the season, and they are ranked 4th in the country. Surprisingly, despite their high national rank, both the Tigers’ offensive and defensive units rank near the bottom of the SEC in total production (8th and 9th).
This begs the question: Is LSU overrated? And are the voters taking preseason projection too heavily into consideration? In the first week, LSU was ranked in the top ten in both polls, and they have moved up every week because higher teams have been knocked off – and they haven’t done the knocking. LSU has squeaked past Washington and Mississippi State, and they won rather unconvincingly against lowly Vanderbilt.
This is not meant to criticize LSU because the Tigers are a deep and talented team on both sides of the ball. On offense, they are lead by running backs Keiland Williams and Charles Scott. Scott scored 18 touchdowns a year ago, and rushed for over 1,000 yards. Wide Receiver Brandon LaFell has already scored five touchdowns on the season, and sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson has been getting him the ball. Jefferson has been an efficient quarterback up to this point: he has thrown seven touchdowns to only one interception, and he has completed just over 61% of his passes.
The LSU defense has also held up its end for the most part, but they are not a dominant unit. They gave up 478 yards to Washington in the first game of the season, and they gave up 374 yards to Mississippi State a week ago. In both games they gave up far more yards than their opponent. Senior linebacker Harry Coleman leads the LSU defense, and he led the team in tackles a year ago.
Georgia has a very similar nucleus of players on both offense and defense. Neither unit is exceptional, but they both pull their own weight. The Bulldogs are led by a first-year starter in senior quarterback Joe Cox. Cox has been efficient in throwing nine touchdowns to five interceptions while completing 60% of his passes. Cox’s number one target is sophomore WR A.J. Green, who has over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns this season.
Georgia’s defense has had an up-and-down start to the season. South Carolina and Arkansas both moved the ball with ease, scoring 37 and 41 points respectively, but the Bulldogs still came away with wins. Against Oklahoma State and Arizona State, the Bulldogs kept the opposing offenses in check. They only allowed a combined 511 yards in those games, when allowed 485 yards to Arkansas alone.
These are two evenly matched teams, and the most perplexing aspect to this game is LSU’s rank. Georgia is at home, and they have a lot to play for, as the fourth-best team in the country is threatening them on their home field. Georgia will move the ball effectively, and their defense will show up. I’m going with the Bulldogs. Final score: Georgia 23 LSU 14