Knee Jerk Reactions: LSU Edition
THAT was a weekend for the books. Early estimates put me at 3 near heart attacks (UGA/LSU, last Falcons drive, Breaking Bad), two transcendent works achieving greatness, and one eerily familiar pit in my stomach as the result of a football play in a certain end zone in a certain Dome. That said, enough can’t be said about the performance both teams between the hedges on Saturday, but someone had to win, and I sure am glad it was the home team. I’m still a little spent from everything that happened this weekend, so bear with me, as I’m sure the good, the bad and the ugly will bleed heavily into each other. Like an M-60 on a clay pigeon launcher.
– Holy quarterback duel Batman! Cam Cameron’s effect on Zach Mettenberger has been celebrated here repeatedly, but I was in absolute awe as he called a near perfect game on the offensive end for LSU. Much will be made of the Georgia defense’s inability to stop the Tiger passing attack, but trust me when I say that when that playbook is wide-open, there aren’t a whole lot of schools in the country that can stop them. There’s something to be said about an NFL coordinator employing NFL concepts against college kids, but the only word that comes to mind is unfair. Mettenberger was anything but shook in Athens on Saturday, and did everything that his team needed for them to win.
– AARON FREAKING MURRAY!!! Overcoming another early pick (damn you, zone blitz!), he carried this team through consistent adversity to secure the win. Passing for 4 touchdowns, running for one more, and just named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, I think it’s safe to say that he can indeed win ‘the big game’. The lack of big play receiver both flew in the face of my portents of doom and gloom and almost felt answered, after Chris Conley tallied 5 catches of 112 yards and a touchdown in the win. Above all else, Murray was masterful when he needed to be, especially as outlined by the EIC here in the final, deciding drive.
– The O-line play. My god. That front for LSU was labeled world beaters coming in, and for damn good reason. But a veteran offensive line did exactly what they were supposed to do in a big game: continue to grow as a unit and protect the quarterback. The pocket was serene for most of the 4 man rushes, pressure only coming when LSU had to dial-up their blitz package. Even then, the pressure was often ineffective and taken advantage of by the know-how of a veteran unit.
– KEEF Marshall. Welcome back. Running mostly out of shotgun sets, he did a great job of stepping up after Gurley was sidelined. His ability in space in the passing game, and his ability to run helped accentuate that dominant passing game. He spearheaded a running attack that generated 196 yards on 36 carries, and kept the LSU defense off-balance, and less likely to rush hard up field, for fear of getting beat by screens and draws.
– Defense came to play in a big way. One of our biggest points in our LSU preview was the ability of the Tigers to play two-handed, and Grantham and company worked mightily to take away one of those hands, and while LSU’s dedication to the run matched Georgia’s, their 36 runs netted only 77 yards, far and away below their season average. The front for UGA and the backers harassed Mettenberger all day, and the last drive was a perfect picture of both Georgia’s resiliency and Mettenberger’s need to improve against pressure.
– LAST ONE I PROMISE. 55 bleeping yards.
– Todd Gurley left the game after suffering an ankle injury (listed day-to-day) but not before piling up 73 yards rushing on only 8 carries. While it was impressive to get this win without him, I’ll take him getting healthy sooner than later, if it’s all the same to you.
– The secondary got picked on again, but this time it wasn’t by a mobile quarterback altering calls with his legs, it was with a dominant quarterback under center with extreme control over his offense. The secondary breakdowns continue, and I hope these games don’t keep coming down to who needs the stop late, because that’s not a place I feel comfortable with this secondary quite yet.
– That September schedule. WOOF. Three games against top 10 opposition before October 1st, and coming out 3-1? That’s an amazing feat, and if UGA can take care of business going forward, this will be a fun year for the Dawg faithful.
There. I did it. I tore myself away from Breaking Bad finale analysis long enough to re-watch and break down the best college football game of the year so far. Up next is Tennessee, a dangerous team fighting with it’s back against the wall. But, I have faith in this veteran group that has already rallied this team through the early season to not overlook the Vols, to go to Knoxville and to handle business.
— Dpalm66 (@dpalm66) September 28, 2013
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