REPORT CARD: Grades Are In…
Grading out LSU’s performance in a 52-38 loss to Georgia
by Matt Deville
Tiger Rag Senior Editor
(At left) Brandon LaFell dances into the end zone for one of his two touchdown catches on Saturday (Photo by J. Sam Frake)
It definitely wasn’t the performance many expected when Georgia came to Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1 SEC) had struggled in back to back wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt after getting hammered at home by Alabama. The preseason No. 1 team hadn’t played up to its advanced billing and there were many out there who thought LSU could beat visiting Georgia.
That might have been possible minus a plethora of interceptions, missed tackles and busted coverages in the secondary.
“There were a lot of things that went wrong and things we need to fix,” said LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee, who had two interceptions returned for touchdowns. “The good thing is we get to watch film tomorrow and we will come back better.”
After a receiving sparkling reviews last weekend in Columbia, the grades aren’t nearly as nice after Saturday’s loss to Georgia.
The two quarterback system of Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch worked well at South Carolina. Versus the Dawgs, neither signal caller has anything to brag about. While there were positive plays (Lee threw three touchdowns), mistakes made under center cost LSU dearly. Obviously the two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Lee were a back breaker, but another pick coming in the second quarter also led to a field goal. Minus points coming from turnovers (17) and LSU wins the game. Hatch played well in spots while spelling Lee throughout most of the third quarter. However, an intentional grounding penalty killed a promising drive that could have cut the game to seven points.
This might have been the brightest spot on the day for LSU. Charles Scott rumbled for 144 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns. On the year, he has crossed the goal line eight times, has totaled 775 yards on the ground and is averaging 110 yards per contest. Prior to the game, Georgia had been allowing just 61 yards per game on the ground, which ranked third nationally. LSU more than tripled that number accumulating 188 total rushing yards on Saturday.
The Tiger wideouts made LSU’s quarterbacks look a little better by corralling a couple of impressive catches. Demetrius Byrd shook two tackles and turned a 10-yard gain into a 35-yard completion. Brandon LaFell used some nice moves to get into the end zone late in the game, but he did have a key drop early in the game. Tight end Richard Dickson also got tagged with a critical holding penalty that negated a 60-plus yard gain by Keiland Williams.
Considering the number of rushing yards gained by LSU, the offensive did its job on Saturday. Herman Johnson was flagged for holding once and LSU did give up two sacks, albeit one came on an intentional grounding penalty by Andrew Hatch.
A week after “The Express” package produced six sacks at South Carolina, the Tiger defense got to Matthew Stafford only one time, a third quarter sack by Rahim Alem. Going against a makeshift Bulldog offensive line that started three true freshmen, the LSU defensive line not only couldn’t get to Stafford, they were roughed up by Knowshon Moreno and Co. to the tune of 194 yards.
LSU linebackers got exploited over the middle by an array of crossing routes and Stafford made them pay with pinpoint accuracy. Also, the Tiger backers provided little support in stopping the Georgia rushing attack that rolled up almost 200 yards, paced by Moreno’s 163 stripes.
It was back to their old ways on Saturday as the Tiger secondary was picked apart by Stafford and Georgia’s talented corps of receivers. Four times Stafford converted third down and long situations by completing passes that eventually led to touchdowns. The biggest was a completion on third down and 10 that went to A.J. Green for a 49-yard touchdown pass extending the lead to 31-17. And at no time was Stafford ever close to being picked off.
Colt David became LSU’s all-time leading scorer by putting up eight points in the game to pass up Kevin Faulk’s 318-point record. David banged through a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter and was perfect on five PAT attempts. However, he did miss a 49-yarder at a critical point in the third quarter. Brady Dalfrey punted three times for a 40-yard average and Trindon Holliday averaged 24 yards per kickoff return.