First Look at the Bulldogs
Taking our first glance at Georgia; Spotlighting the top Bulldogs
by Matt Deville and Matt Reynolds
Tiger Rag Staff
(At left) Mark Richt is 2-2 against LSU
Just over five years ago, the LSU Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs locked horns in one of the most memorable games in Tiger Stadium history.
On Sept. 20, 2003, the Tigers defeated the visiting Bulldogs 17-10, in a gamed which launched LSU into the college football stratsophere and propelled the Bayou Bengals to their first of two BCS national titles over the next five seasons.
Backed up against his own goal line and trailing 10-3, Georgia quarterback David Greene hit Tyson Browning on a 93-yard touchdown pass, the sixth longeast scoring pass in SEC history. Less than a minute later, Matt Mauck hit Skyler Green on the 34-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with 1:22 left in the game.
The two teams, who have been the two most successful programs in the SEC in the past five years, have played three times since that historic day in Death Valley. LSU beat Georgia 34-13 in the 2003 SEC Championship Game.
But that was the last time the Tigers topped the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. Georgia, then ranked third in the nation, beat the 13th-ranked Tigers 45-16 in Athens. In the 2005 SEC Championship Game, the No. 13 ranked Bulldogs hammered No. 3 LSU 34-14.
Saturday, No. 11 LSU (5-1, 3-1 SEC) hosts the 9th-rated Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1) in a 2:30 contest in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.
All-Time Series: LSU leads 14-11-1
First Meeting: 1928, LSU 13, Georgia 12
Last Meeting: 2004, Georgia 34, LSU 14 (SEC)
Location: Athens, Georgia
Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Head Coach: Mark Richt, 78-20, 8th year
2008 at a Glance:
Record: 6-1, 3-1 SEC
Ranking: 9th,both AP and Coaches; 7th BCS
Last game: vs. Vanderbilt, W 24-14
2007 In Review:
2007 Record: 11-2, 6-2 SEC (T1st East)
Final ’07 ranking: 2nd AP / 3rd USA Today
Returning Starters: 17; 7 offense, 9 defense, punter
Last Bowl Appearance: Allstate Sugar Bowl – Georgia 41, Hawaii 10
Last Conference Championship: 2005
Rushing: Knowshon Moreno – 128-762, 11 TD
Passing: Matthew Stafford – 124-203, 1,697, 10 TD, 5 INT
Receiving: AJ Green – 36-573, 4 TD
Tackles: Rennie Curran – 55 (37 solo, 18 assists)
Interceptions: Reshad Jones - 2
Sacks: Rennie Curran – 3
Tackles for loss: Rennie Curran – 7
2008 Stat Breakdown:
Total Offense: 429 (1st SEC / 26th NCAA)
Rushing Offense: 169 (4th SEC / 46th NCAA)
Passing Offense: 260 (1st SEC / 22nd NCAA)
Scoring Offense: 31 (3rd SEC / 35th NCAA)
Total Defense: 269 (3rd SEC / 12th NCAA)
Rushing Defense: 66 (1st SEC / 3rd NCAA)
Pass Defense: 208 (10th SEC / 66th NCAA)
Scoring Defense: 17 (8th SEC / 17th NCAA)
Turnover Margin: 0.0 (6th SEC / 56th NCAA)
Aug. 30 W, 45-21 GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Sept. 6 W, 56-17 CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Sept. 13 W, 14-7 at South Carolina
Sept. 20 W, 27-10 at Arizona State
Sept. 27 L, 41-30 ALABAMA
Oct. 11 W, 26-14 TENNESSEE
Oct. 18 W, 24-14 VANDERBILT
Oct. 25 at LSU
Nov. 1 vs. Florida (Jax)
Nov. 8 at Kentucky
Nov. 15 at Auburn
Nov. 29 GEORGIA TECH
Player to Watch:
TB, RS Sophomore
Middletown South HS
Moreno was unanimously named SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as the featured tailback on the Freshman All-American first team, All-SEC first team and SEC All-Freshman team last season. Moreno was also named the Sporting News’ Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in ’07. Last season, Moreno appeared in 13 games, making six starts with 248 carries for 1,334 yards (5.3 average) and 14 TDs while also making 20 receptions for 253 yards (12.6 average). Moreno ended the season with the second-most yards per game (102.6) in the SEC and the most out of the nation’s Division I freshmen. Widely speculated to be a Heisman contender before the season began, Moreno has proved over the last few weeks that he is worthy of the awards praise. Some compare the running back to Garrison Hearst, while others see flashes of Herschel Walker in the 5-11, 208 pounder. Coming into the LSU game this week, Moreno is averaging six yards per carry, while averaging over 100 yards rushing per game on the season. The running back has netted over 762 yards on 128 carries while scoring 11 touchdowns on the ground. Moreno has 12 receptions for 134 yards. He was named to ESPN.com’s Preseason All-America team and was selected to the SEC Coaches’ Pre-season All-SEC First Team.
HEAD TO HEAD
Georgia QB vs. LSU DE
Matthew Stafford vs. Rahim Alem
Prior to last week’s win at South Carolina, LSU’s defense was unrecognizable as they were coming off a 30 point loss in which the Tigers gave up almost 500 yards to the Florida Gators. LSU almost trimmed that yardage in half against the Gamecocks as they held South Carolina to 252 total yards on offense. Led by defensive end Rahim Alem, LSU racked up six sacks, one interception and recovered one fumble against the Gamecocks. Listed at 6’3, 250 pounds, Alem is one of the smaller defensive ends on LSU’s roster, but his play has been huge up to this point this season. Leading the way in LSU’s defensive line “express” attack last week, Alem shows a unique blend of strength, agility and speed that gives opposing offensive lineman fits. Alem has 11 tackles on the season, including five solo tackles for losses. He is also credited with two breakups, four sacks and four hurries. Alem has forced one fumble on the season. He will be attacking one of the best quarterback’s in the country in Georgia’s Matthew Stafford. Stafford has completed 124-of-203 passes for 1,697 yards through the air for 10 touchdowns. Stafford has had 17 games with 200 or more yards passing including one 300 yard passing game. Stafford has been named to the Davey O’ Brien Award watch list.
Georgia CB vs. LSU WR
Asher Allen vs. Brandon LaFell
On fourth-and-4 from the Vanderbilt 26, cornerback Asher Allen wrestled receiver Jamie Graham to the turf a half-yard short of the first down. Georgia took possession with 2:08 remaining, and Blair Walsh kicked the clinching field goal with 17 seconds left to clinch the Georgia victory over a ranked Vanderbilt team last Saturday. Allen is known for making big plays like that. But he doesn’t just make key tackles and glove the receivers for the entire 60 minutes, he also returns punts for the Bulldogs. Georgia uses several players to return punts, but Allen has the most reps, returning five for an average of 18.2 yards-per-return. Allen has 28 tackles on the season, including 23 solos, while recovering a fumble. Brandon LaFell is still clearly LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee’s favorite target as he leads the Tigers with 33 receptions on the season. Demetrius Byrd is second in receptions with 19. LaFell is second in the SEC to Georgia’s AJ Green in receiving yards with 462. LaFell has three touchdowns on the season and leads the SEC in receptions per game average with five.