The old adage is that championships are won in the trenches and when the No. 6 LSU Tigers travel to Athens to take on the No. 9 ranked Georgia Bulldogs the battles in the trenches will go a long way toward determining the winner of this game—and the SEC.
LSU received good news in this department with the news that starting right guard Trai Turner and potential first round pick, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson will be able to play for the Tigers. The two linemen had to leave early in the win over Auburn last week.
If Johnson is not 100% the onus will be on Ego Ferguson, the man who lines up next to him on the defensive line and the player who earned SEC defensive player of the week honors for his eight-tackle performance vs. Kent State.
Stopping Todd Gurley and Georgia’s run game will be the main challenge for the LSU defense that notoriously has been ferocious against opposing running backs. Gurley is not your ordinary run of the mill running backs and offers quite the test for Johnson, Ferguson and the rest of the LSU defense, but Ferguson is up for the challenge.
“It’s like watching a heavyweight fight. It’s like [Muhammad] Ali and [George] Foreman go at it,” Ferguson tells Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com. “It’s going to be a battle all day. The way we look at it, we’re coming in to prove a point that we can still do it on the defensive line. It’s going to be a great challenge, but we’re going to be at our best.”
Ferguson is prepared and Johnson, who could be as explosive a defensive tackle LSU has had since Glenn Dorsey was menacing interior offensive linemen, is feeling confident he can exploit the veteran Georgia offensive line. He believes he sees flaws in the Bulldog’s line which returned all five starters from last year’s unit and is clicking on all cylinders.
“Honestly, we’ve seen guys beat them on the inside,” he tells Aschoff. “We’ve watched a lot of film on Georgia and they can be beaten. There’s nobody that’s invincible. We just have to work hard and play our technique.”
While quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray have dominated the storylines leading up to what could be one of the two or three biggest games of the year, it’s the battle going on in the middle of the line that will ultimately decide this game.