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QBs, Not RBs, Shine As Georgia Nips LSU

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Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray combined for seven passing touchdowns against one interception in yet another SEC game dominated by quarterbacks and touchdowns. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.
Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray combined for seven passing touchdowns against one interception in yet another SEC game dominated by quarterbacks and touchdowns. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

The SEC paraded another exciting Top-10 showdown in front of us Saturday in Athens. Georgia was able to hold off LSU for a 44-41 victory at Sanford Stadium. So far, the nation’s premier conference has produced some of the best games of this young season: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt to begin the year, Alabama at Texas A&M a couple of weeks ago, and now an instant classic between the Tigers and the Bulldogs.

Both teams played well enough to win; it’s a shame LSU had to lose. The loss ended a streak of 29 consecutive games LSU won in either August or September dating back to 2006. All is not lost for the Boys from the Bayou. They still control their own destiny at 4-1 and 1-1 in the SEC. If they win the rest of their games, then they could potentially see the Bulldogs again in Atlanta. 

Here are a few takeaways from the game in Athens:

Impressive Quarterback Play

Fifth-year senior quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger played to the best of their abilities. Mettenberger completed 62 percent of his passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. Not to be outdone, Murray accounted for five touchdowns (four passing and one rushing) with one interception while completing 59 percent of his passes for 298 yards. Both will give defensive coordinators nightmares the rest of the season and both probably solidified themselves as future NFL draft picks in 2014.

Running Game Doesn't Go As Planned

LSU’s offensive line struggles were a surprise. Give Georgia credit for holding the Tigers to just 77 yards rushing and accumulating four sacks. Cam Cameron called a handoff to Jeremy Hill on almost every first down play of the first half. The strategy to get the ground game rolling early did not work the way the LSU braintrust envisioned. LSU had only 13 rushing yards at halftime; meanwhile Georgia pounded away for 143 after the first 30 minutes.

Todd Gurley was having his way with the LSU defense prior to an ankle injury in the second quarter that sidelined him for the rest of the game. He had 73 yards rushing at the time of the injury and Georgia was only able to muster 53 yards on the ground in the second half.

Defensive Struggles

Georgia’s defense appeared confused on several of Cam Cameron’s offensive formations. On several occasions, Georgia defensive backs could be seen signaling to the defense and/or the sideline seeking help and instructions. This was the case when Mettenberger threw his third touchdown to Jarvis Landry.

The teams combined for 28 first-quarter points, 41 points in the first half, and 85 points for the game. The Dawgs and the Tigers also produced 50 first downs and 943 total yards of offense.

This is becoming a popular trend in the SEC, a conference used to pride itself on defensive exhibitions. Now even the best teams in the SEC are having a difficult time keeping up with fast-paced, dynamic offenses.