The storyline leading into the game between the No. 6 LSU Tigers and No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs centered on the two quarterbacks, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger, but the difference in the Bulldog’s 44-41 win in Sanford Stadium was the play of the in the trenches.
Both quarterbacks were excellent and made clutch throw after clutch throw and considering Todd Gurley and Jeremy Hill were injured or neutralized it’s even more impressive what they achieved. Quarterbacks always take the glory and the responsibility for wins and losses, but this game goes beyond the two signal-callers.
LSU was unable to generate any sort of pressure with their front four all afternoon and as a result Murray was able to stand in the pocket without the threat of a pass rush. Murray would throw for 298 yards and four touchdowns including the game winner with just more than a minute to go to Justin Scott-Wesley.
Gif Courtesy: Clay Wendler-SB Nation
On what would be the game-winning drive orchestrated by Murray, LSU played a soft zone in the secondary and with the defensive line forcing Murray off his spot or disrupting his timing he was able to pick apart the Tiger’s secondary. I don’t recall the LSU secondary looking as vulnerable in recent memory as they did today.
In the same breath, I don’t recall an instance where the LSU front was unable to get to the quarterback and even force a hurry. Entering the season the big question was how LSU would replace the talent who left for the NFL. After the first four weeks it didn’t matter because the offense was so good, so it masked some deficiencies, but the last six quarters by LSU have been dreadful.
I chalked up the second half vs. Auburn as being bored because of the giant lead, but now it appears larger issues are at play here.
Maybe now the narrative of Murray being unable to win the big game will cease as he has beaten the No. 6 team in the country twice this month and is a bad snap on a field goal from potentially being undefeated and adding another top-10 win on his resume.
If the defensive line can’t get pressure it puts added pressure on the secondary and that was evident on the final drive as Murray and company made it look relatively easy. John Chavis didn’t have his best game as LSU’s defensive coordinator today and he has his work cut out for him to get the type of production LSU is accustomed to.
Another big issue is the offensive line who couldn’t get much push in the run game and on the final LSU drive was unable to give Mettenberger a clean pocket to throw in. he was sacked on an inside stunt by freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with all three interior linemen from LSU standing around looking completely confused.
If you can’t block a freshman on the biggest drive of the year then you have serious issues. LSU looked as good as any team in the nation after the first month, but with today’s loss they had their weaknesses exposed, and it would appear that have a lot of work to do.
For LSU to get to Atlanta for the SEC title game they now need to run the table vs. the likes of Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and then play in all likelihood Georgia again to get to the BCS National Championship Game.
All is not lost with one loss, however, but the margin of error is now razor thin and LSU needs to play perfect the rest of the way.