(Saturday, October 25th)
Final Score: (9) Georgia 52, (11) LSU 38
Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Matthew Stafford threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another, as ninth-ranked Georgia held off No. 11 LSU, 52-38, in a clash of SEC heavyweights at Tiger Stadium.
Stafford was 17-of-26 passing while Knowshon Moreno racked up 163 yards rushing and scored once on 21 carries. A.J. Green led the receiving corps with three receptions for 89 yards, including a 49-yard TD catch for Georgia (7-1, 4-1 SEC), which was coming off hard-fought conference wins over both Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
"Let's applaud the offensive line.They fought like mad and gave Matthew (Stafford) enough time when needed and gave Knowshon (Moreno) room to run," Bulldog head coach MarK Richt said.
Linebacker Darryl Gamble had two interception returns for a touchdown for a Bulldog defense that gave up 497 yards of offense but came up with the big plays when it needed to. Georgia can make a major statement for a BCS bid next week when it plays the Florida Gators.
"We've got a good team, and we've got some good SEC opponents. That gives us a little more leeway because it's always a hard game no matter who we play. I think this win puts us up high again.," Gamble said when asked about the path to a possible national championship bid.
Jarrett Lee was intercepted three times and threw three TD passes amid a 287- yard passing effort on 14-of-28 attempts for LSU. Charles Scott scored twice and gained 144 yards on 21 rushes while Brandon LaFell made two of his three catches count for TDs in gaining 62 yards for the Tigers (5-2, 3-2), who responded to a trouncing by Florida two weeks ago with a win last Saturday against South Carolina. The Tigers host Tulane next Saturday.
"The story is the mistakes. When you play a quality opponent, you cannot give them turnovers," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "You can't uncover people in coverage. You can't let runs that should be tackled go untackled. Our football team has to learn that."
Georgia's Blair Walsh came up short on a 55-yard field goal with 40 seconds to play in the third but LSU started the fourth with a punt and the Bulldogs went back on the attack. A 33-yard completion to Green to the LSU 11 helped to set up Stafford's seven-yard keeper for a score three plays later, giving Georgia a commanding 45-24 lead just about five minutes into the final stanza.
LSU didn't quit, though, and Keiland Williams proved to be the spark, escaping the backfield and getting behind the defense for a 66-yard reception up the left sideline on 3rd-and-9 to the Georgia six-yard line. Williams followed with a TD catch from the left flat on the next play to again make it a two-score game with 8:47 left to play.
Georgia attempted to kill the clock but the Tigers got the ball back with 6 1/2 minutes to play. LSU moved the ball 47 yards to the Georgia 14 but a 4th- and-5 pass from Lee fell incomplete.
Georgia again had to punt after taking just 1:32 off the clock, giving LSU the ball with 3 1/2 minutes left to play. Lee, though, was intercepted by Gamble on the Tigers' first play and the redshirt sophomore took it back 53 yards for the score, his second of the day, to make it a 52-31 contest.
The quick score gave the Tigers the ball back with over three minutes to play and they used only 43 seconds of it to score as Lee connected with LaFell for a 43-yard TD strike.
The Bulldogs were able to shave off all but 15 seconds off the clock after getting the ball back, though, effectively ending the contest.
Georgia took a 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage when Lee threw an interception that Gamble returned 40 yards for a touchdown.
Lee shook off the early pick, though, and led the Tigers on a 72-yard scoring drive on the ensuing series. Lee completed two third-down passes, the second of which went for a 10-yard score to LaFell just under 5 1/2 minutes into the contest.
The Bulldog offense finally got a chance to go to work on the next series and moved the ball 78 yards on their way to the end zone. Stafford completed a pair of third-down passes that moved the chains and Moreno got seven on 3rd- and-1 from the LSU 18. Fullback Fred Munzenmaier eventually plowed across the goal-line from a yard out to make it a 14-7 game.
After LSU was forced to punt, Moreno rattled off a 46-yard run on the first play of Georgia's ensuing possession. Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Stafford tossed a fade pattern to Kenneth Harris for a five-yard score and a 21-7 lead.
Colt David drilled a 51-yard field goal on the Tigers' next possession to cut his team's deficit to 11. After Georgia punted, a 35-yard completion to Demetrius Byrd helped move the ball to the Bulldog two-yard line, where Scott breached the goal-line to make it 21-17 midway through the second.
Lee was picked off for the second time on LSU's next turn, giving Georgia the ball on its own 35. Six plays later, Walsh booted a 50-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining and the Bulldogs carried a 24-17 lead into halftime.
"The first play from scrimmage, we give them seven (points). We come back and get our seven, and surely, we would have liked to have taken a lead in this game and see how they played from behind," Miles explained. "If you make mistakes, that benefit of home field and that benefit of pressuring the opponent doesn't happen."
The second half started with little fanfare as each team was forced to punt. But Georgia sustained a 72-yard drive on its next series. After Stafford helped the team move the ball to LSU's 49-yard line, Green beat his man off the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-10 and hauled in a slant pass at the 30-yard line, outsprinting a pair of defenders to the end zone to give Georgia a 31-17 lead with 8:21 to go in the third.
LSU looked to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession but on 4th-and-4, punter Josh Jasper scampered six yards on the fake to keep the drive going. The drive stalled, though, on the Bulldog 27 and after a false start, David missed a 49-yard kick wide right.
Georgia then needed only one play to extend the lead to 38-17. Moreno took a halfback toss from his own 32 but found only a wall of linemen up the middle. He cut back to his left and found a hole, using a good burst of speed to outrun a single trailing defender for the 68-yard score with under four minutes to play.
The tempo started to pick up as LSU's Scott found a hole up the middle and rumbled 42 yards to the Bulldog one-yard line on the Tigers' second play from scrimmage. Scott got the call again on the next play and polished off the drive to make it a two-score game, at 38-24.
LSU owns a 14-12-1 series lead over the Bulldogs but Georgia has won the last three meetings, which includes last year's 34-14 win in the SEC Championship game...David's 51-yard kick in the second quarter gave him the LSU all-time scoring record, surpassing former Tiger tailback Kevin Faulk. His eight points in the loss gives him 324 for his career.
10/26 00:14:12 ET