All the questions about Aaron Murray and his ability to lead Georgia to big wins have disappeared, as he put in another clutch performance to give the Bulldogs another big victory over a ranked opponent, cementing the team’s place as the best in the SEC East, and his place as the best quarterback in College Football.
Georgia became the first team since Alabama in 2008 to beat two top 10 opponents before October 1, as they handed LSU their first loss of the season in a 44-41 shootout, beating former Georgia backup Zach Mettenberger on the scoreboard (but not in individual stats), following their big win at home over South Carolina to take back the lead in the division.
The biggest thing to take out of this win was Georgia’s ability to stop the run, limiting LSU and the Jeremy Hill-led group to only 77 yards on 36 carries. The Tigers did enjoy a huge day in the air from Mettenberger, pulling off his best performance as a college player with 372 yards and three touchdown passes, but it wasn’t enough, as Georgia kept coming back from everything LSU threw at them.
Georgia have issues on defense as they gave up too many points for the third time this season, but their defense did have a shot at redemption with 1:47 left in the game, following the touchdown pass from Murray to Justin Scott-Wesley to give them the three point lead. Mettenberger had time to create something, but he was sacked on the first play of the drive, and threw four consecutive incompletions after an 18-yard pass advanced him to his own 35.
But while quarterback duels are fun and give each side a reason to pat each other on the back, in the dog eat dog world of the SEC, in which every loss is a tragedy, especially when it comes in a conference and division with Alabama in it as well, there was room for only one winner, and one guy alone to feel happy about his performance.
We’ve grown up a lot this past month. I think everyone in the nation knows what Georgia football is about now. We’re a tough group of guys. We’re fighters. It’s the team. I think we’ve proved to the nation that this is a tough team and a resilient team. The loss at Clemson was obviously tough, but I think we grew up from that loss and got better.
It wasn’t the Aaron Murray show only for Georgia, even though he did throw four touchdown passes, there was plenty of running from Kendall Marshall and Todd Gurley, leading the ground game to 196 yards on 36 carries. It had 148 rushing yards before contact, the most the Tigers have allowed in any game in the last three seasons and 80 more than they allowed per game in their first 4 games this season.
The defense has been giving up points all season, but they kept Jeremy Hill at 86 yards and Kenny Hilliard at only 11 with four carries. Eventually, it did have enough stops, including forcing the Tigers to two field goals, in order to come out with their hand on top when the dust settled.
Georgia can’t relax just yet, because they still have Florida on their calendar and Georgia Tech at the end of the season. However, with their offense rolling as well as anyone else this side of Oregon and the defense getting a chance to fix some flaws against inferior opposition, there aren’t too many reasons the Bulldogs don’t win the SEC East once again at the end of the season.