-- Jarius Wynn and Jeremy Lomax shared a sack to halt an LSU drive. The D line has really been the big story defensively today. The unit played well against Vandy last week despite not getting a sack, but this has been a big step forward against a much more physical line.
-- Props to the LSU fans who can still muster the excitement to sing "Livin' on a Prayer" in unison despite being down by 14. Good for them.
-- Knowshon ducked behind Southerland and didn't come close to a white jersey for 14 yards. Knowshon is averaging 11 yards per carry.
-- Things are falling apart quickly for LSU. They forgot to cover A.J. who picked up 34 yards to the 11. After being shut out in the first half, Green now has 90 receiving yards in the second.
-- You know it's Georgia's day when the QB draw in the red zone actually works. The scoring drive went 63 yards and Georgia now boasts a 45-24 lead. Can we please stop talking about style points now? This game has been more stylish than Vance Cuff's Members Only jacket. (BTW, I forgot to mention this week that Vance was sporting a sweet light blue-and-white Members Only jacket after practice on Wednesday.)
-- A holding call on Richard Milhouse Dixon negates a huge run by Keiland Williams. Still, the big run should be a good reminder of LSU's quick-strike ability, so the Dawgs can't afford to take their foot off the gas now.
-- This is spooky. I type it, and it happens. First-and-goal for LSU at the 6 after a 66-yard pass to Williams down the opposite sideline. Williams scored on the next play to pull LSU to 45-31.
-- Of note, Georgia has 463 yards of offense in this game. Yikes.
-- I get not wanting to do anything dumb, but having a first-and-25 and running three times seemed a little too cautious. LSU is only down 14 right now and there's 6:34 left. As we just saw, the Tigers are capable of getting points in a hurry.
-- I guess I appreciate the enthusiasm of people painting themselves purple, but I imagine it sucks to wake up on Sunday, hungover with purple paint everywhere.
-- Keiland Williams is killing Georgia in the fourth quarter. Georgia is playing like they already won the game. They need to buckle down here.
-- Justin Houston got pressure on Lee, whose pass was broken up by CJ Byrd on LSU's fourth-and-5 play. Huge stop for Georgia, and Houston has had a monster game.
-- Skirmish after Moreno's second-down run. Justin Anderson was flagged for a personal foul after mixing it up with a handful of LSU defenders. Now that is just stupid at this point in the game. Not sure if Georgia's going to hit its penalty goal this week. Could be some up-downs in the team's future -- particularly for Bean.
I'm heading down to the sideline for the rest of the game. I'll have a post game update in about 90 minutes.
-- Georgia receives the kick to start the second half. Also of note, this is apparently the second largest crowd in LSU history. I wondered what smelled like corn dogs.
-- Well, there haven't been many penalties, but once again the ones Georgia gets are costly. An ineligible receiver flag negates a 20-yard gain by Michael Moore that would have been a first down. Instead Stafford is sacked by Rahim Alem -- the first time the O line has allowed a sack since the Alabama game and only the ninth sack against Georgia all season.
-- Nice defensive stand for the Dawgs. LSU nearly had a third-down conversion when Prince Miller jumped a route but didn't come up with the ball. Gamble laid out the receiver to dislodge the ball in yet another of a seemingly endless string of big plays today. Gamble really has been Georgia's second-best defender this year.
-- The stadium announcer just relayed a message for a fan named Ralph Something-or-other to meet sheriff's deputies. Baton Rouge really is fun.
-- Under pressure on a roll out, Stafford hit Durham for a 10-yard gain. Good to see White Lightning back involved in the offense.
-- Nice job by Mo Mass to know right where he was on the field. He picked up five-and-a-half on third-and-five to keep the drive going.
-- Stafford finally hit A.J. Green, but Green dropped the ball. LSU has really done a nice job of shutting him down, but Kenneth Harris and Michael Moore have picked up the slack.
-- Um, never mind. Stafford to A.J. for a 49-yard TD. Sometimes I wonder if me typing something causes the exact opposite to happen. Wait, wait... let's test it. I definitely won't win $10 grand at Harrah's tonight. (Man, I hope this works.) SCORE: Georgia 31, LSU 17.
-- LSU band is playing the "Rocky" theme, which reminds me, I had to shave my Phillies playoff beard yesterday. I'm not sure which is worse for the Phightin' Phils -- me losing the beard or them throwing Jamie Moyer out against Matt Garza tonight.
-- Fake punt! My favorite play in football. LSU ran it to perfection and picked up a first down. Man, that Les Miles is sneaky. Like that time he was going to take the Michigan job and tricked everyone by staying at LSU.
-- LSU comes up with a big third-down conversion on a 20-yard run by Hatch. A great tackle by Reshad Jones was the only thing that kept it from being a TD.
-- Justin Houston had Lee dead to rights. Lee threw the ball away but was flagged for intentional grounding setting up a third-and-23 and taking LSU out of FG range. The D line has really played well today. Hatch hit Byrd for a 19-yard gain to put the Tigers back into David's range for a kick.
-- So Oklahoma put up 58 and Texas Tech put up 63 today. I'm going with the Big 12 has crappy defenses rather than great offenses. That's at least true in the state of Kansas.
-- A false start penalty backed LSU up an extra five yards and David's kick was wide right, preserving Georgia's 14-point lead. I would like to say that a Georgia TD on this drive should seal the game but since I don't want to jinx things for Georgia fans, I won't say that.
-- Knowshon takes the first play 68 yards for a TD. He hit a wall at the line of scrimmage but waited for his block and took it to the house. He has 140 yards now against the 16th-ranked rush defense in the country. Kudos to the offensive line, too, which has improved by leaps and bounds since that Alabama loss. SCORE: Georgia 38, LSU 17. Impressive.
-- Of note: Knowshon's TD gives him 26 for his career, tying him with Thomas Brown for the most of any player under Mark Richt. Brown was a four-year starter. Knowshon has started 14 games.
-- Give LSU credit -- they didn't lay down. Scott carried the ball to the 1 and followed with a TD on the next play to pull the Tigers back to within 14. Good thing I didn't jinx anything by writing that Georgia's last score would seal the game for them. That would have been stupid of me. SCORE: Georgia 38, LSU 24.
-- So much for nnot throwing to the tight ends. Stafford hit Aron White for a 48-yard gain. It was White's first career catches, a particularly interesting note considering Richt said on Thursday that White wouldn't even be making the trip because of a shoulder injury.
-- Stafford hit A.J. Green on third down but couldn't pick up the first, and Walsh came up short on an ugly 55-yard field goal try. It probabaly wasn't a make-or-break moment in the game, but Georgia's failure to convert on that third down could come back to haunt them.
-- That'll wrap up the third quarter with the score 38-24.
-- Some first half numbers of note: LSU actually has three more first downs than Georgia and has held the ball a minute-and-a-half longer. LSU has 105 yards on the ground in the first half -- that's the most Georgia has allowed in an entire game since its loss to Alabama. Knowshon has been just as impressive as LSU's run game though. He's averaging 7.4 yards per carry so far. Stafford is just 9-of-15 throwing and still hasn't completed a pass to A.J. Green. Only three combined penalties in the game so far. Whatever Mark Richt did to correct the high number of flags after the loss to Alabama seems to have worked. Oh, and a tip o' the cap to Michael Moore who has 3 catches and 38 yards and to whoever brewed the press box coffee which is both delicious and essential to my well being.
-- Don't ask me why Stafford continues to throw the fade in the end zone to anyone but A.J. Green -- who should be the obvious target on those plays -- but it worked out this time with a TD pass to Kenneth Harris. SCORE: 21-7 Georgia.
-- I've had my fair share of criticism for Mike Bobo's play calling this season, but this has been an exquisitely planned game. Georgia has mixed up its play selection and spread the ball around to more receivers already than it had all last week.
-- OK, my bad, guess it was Munzenmaier who got the TD. Everyone in the press box was sure it was Chapas. Man, gotta feel bad for that guy.
-- Once again the middle was wide open for LSU on a pass to Richard Murphy for 15 yards. Murphy followed that with an 11-yard run around the left side. The underneath stuff has been open for the Tigers throughout this first half.
-- Bryan Evans became the latest Georgia DB to drop a sure interception, but the Dawgs did stop LSU on third down to force the Tigers into a 51-yard FG try. Colt David had no problem connecting on the kick though, bringing the score to 21-10 Georgia. Of note, the field goal made Colt David the all-time leading scorer in LSU history.
-- Well this is what I get for praising Bobo. On a second-and-10, Georgia goes for the home run ball to A.J. Green down the sideline. Stafford's pass couldn't be corralled in bounds, so the Bulldogs end up in a third-and-10 situation. Stafford hit Moreno on a slant that came up four yards short. When you're sitting on an 11-point lead early, is going deep on second-and-10 really a good idea?
-- Approximately 36 different Georgia players had Demetrius Byrd brought down, but the receiver managed to escape for a 35-yard gain to the Georgia 2-yard line. Hatch came in at QB on the next play and handed off to Scott for the TD. SCORE: Georgia 21, LSU 17.
-- Ramarcus Brown is so close to breaking a return for a score. He looked to be one man away on the return following LSU's TD. As it turns out, that one man leveled Brown instead.
-- Moreno loses two on first down. See, this is why you need to go deep on first down! (Just kidding.)
-- Three-and-out for Georgia. Stafford still hasn't completed a pass to A.J. Green, and LSU's defense has seriously stepped up its performance on the past two drives for Georgia. The Dawgs need a similar defensive stand now.
-- Darryl Gamble nearly took off Jarrett Lee's head, and under pressure, Lee threw the ball up for grabs. Reshad Jones made his third pick of the year along the sideline. That's a huge play for Georgia, which had really lost the momentum they had gained with three early scores.
-- Hey, there's A.J. He takes an end around and picks up 22 yards. Nice call by Bobo to get the ball into Green's hands by any means necessary.
-- Blair Walsh makes up for his two misses last week by connecting on a 50-yarder to give the Bulldogs a 7-point lead. SCORE: 24-17 Georgia.
-- Justin Houston nearly had a pick-six on third-and-12. He stepped in front of Lee's pass and batted it down, but had he caught it there was nothing between him and the end zone. Instead Georgia will have 26 seconds to add to their 24 first-half points. Still no sacks for Georgia, but the defense is getting a lot of pressure on LSU's QBs.
-- That'll do it for the first half -- Georgia 24, LSU 17.
-- Said all week that even if Dannell Ellerbe is available this week, Darryl Gamble needed to be on the field. He showed why on LSU's first play of the game, stepping in front of a Jarrett Lee pass and returning it for a score to give the Dawgs a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game. That's the type of big start Georgia needed, but it certainly won't be the last big play they'll need.
-- Of note, that was Gamble's first career INT.
-- LSU's second drive is going much better than its first. The Tigers have moved the ball easily downfield, driving inside the red zone on a 17-yard run right up the middle followed by a Scott run down to the 8. Hatch comes in at QB but Georgia was quick to snuff out the run around the end. The problem with the two QB system is it's often way too obvious what you plan to do when each QB is in the game.
-- On a third-and-10, Lee hit Brandon LaFell on a short dump off, and LaFell ran straight up the middle and into the end zone untouched. This was a good example of Georgia overpursuing on the pass rush. The lack of an effective rush all season has caused problems both in not getting to the QB, but also in trying too hard to get the sack and leaving people open underneath. SCORE: LSU 7, Georgia 7.
-- Stafford had Massaqoi wide open for a huge gain on second-and-10 and overthrew the pass by a mile. Also, I'd like to point out that I was right about Georgia going deep in the first series.
-- Michael Moore pulls in a first-down catch on third-and-10, picking up 22 yards. Nice to see Moore make a catch. With Kris Durham out, Moore had stepped in as the starting slot receiver but had just one catch for 8 yards.
-- Another first-down grab by Moore. Stafford had really begun relying almost exclusively on Mo Mass and AJ Green the past two weeks, so the diversity on offense is a good sign. Still not holding out much hope of a pass going to a tight end though.
-- Talked to Caleb King earlier this week and he told me how desperately he wants to get another TD. He came up a few inches short on his second carry of the game, but set Georgia up with a first-and-goal at the 1. Shaun Chapas coverted the score though -- something well earned. Chapas has been waiting a long time to get his first TD and has come up just short several times. The irony of it all though: The stadium PA announced the TD was scored by Fred Munzenmaier. Poor Shaun Chapas, even when things go his way he gets screwed. 14-78-6:24. SCORE: 14-7 Georgia.
-- Wouldn't have figured this for an offensive extravaganza, but that's how it's shaping up right now. I think Georgia fans had to feel pretty confident the Dawgs' D could slow down an LSU offense that has struggled at times. The question was whether the Dawgs' O line could carry Georgia down the field on a long drive. Consider that question answered by that last drive. A very encouraging sign. BTW, that was the longest drive of the year to result in a TD for Georgia.
-- Wasn't sure if Georgia could run the ball on LSU. Knowshon says they can. He picked up 47 yards on Georgia's first play of their third drive. BTW, Kris Durham is back on the field for the first time in nearly a month.
-- Demiko Goodman hauls in a pass at the 8 for a 16-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal for the Dawgs. I was saying on the drive out to Baton Rouge this morning that it wouldn't surprise me if Georgia came out and put up some big numbers early the way they did in the SEC title game in 2005. Looks like that's really what happened. The question now is: Can the Dawgs put the final nail in the coffin or will they let LSU hang around?
End of the first quarter with Georgia up 14-7 and on the verge of adding some more.
PREGAME: Wow. Gotta say, I'm a big fan of the festivities in Baton Rouge. A few random pregame thoughts:
-- If Knowshon runs for more than 100 yards today, I think the Dawgs win.
-- LSU has a lot of girls who look good in purple.
-- LSU throws four DEs on the field for an extra pass rush on third-and-longs. I think Georgia might benefit from putting four D tackles on the field. BTW, I think Corvey Irvin and Geno Atkins will have big games today.
-- When you find yourself in a casino at 4 a.m. and you only have enough cash to get a cab ride home, you really need to resist the urge to try to turn that $10 into $1,000.
-- You know you are in a good restaurant when a gigantic cut of roast beef is considered an appetizer.
-- Special message to Paul Dehner of the Albany Herald who didn't make it to the game today: Get more towels from the maid at the hotel.
-- Predictions: A.J. Green 6 catches, 112 yards and a TD, Stafford 16-of-26 for 225 yards and 2 TDs. I also think Stafford goes deep on one of the first three plays of the game.
-- I'm a big fan of press boxes that serve crawfish as a pregame meal.
Back with more updates at kickoff.
Saturday, October 25, 2008