LSU football: Tigers vs Dawgs from their point of view

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 29: LSU Tigers fans cheer during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 29: LSU Tigers fans cheer during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images) /

I sat down with our friends over at “Dawn of the Dawg “to see how they felt about the huge upcoming match up between LSU football and the Dawgs of Georgia. Here is what they had to say:

Expectations for the Dawgs this year?

With Alabama looking more like the Death Star than ever this season and the Dawgs young and very raw, few are expecting a repeat of last years SEC title. That being said, most fans expect 11 or more wins and to win the division. Florida defeated LSU football last week and the improvements from Kentucky still make that a difficult task but it’s doable. Much as fans want to be in the CFP again, a different New Years Six Bowl is more likely especially because Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson play basically nobody good for the rest of the season and should all be undefeated. Hard to see the committee putting in a one-loss team over those three historic programs even if none of them have had a real challenge.

How much does a win/loss define the season for the Dawgs?

Neither result will surprise and both would have an effect on the program. The fact is that UGA is younger than a lot of pundits realize and the vast majority of it’s players still have a lot of growing up to do. If they could go to Death Valley and come out with a win, those players will have a statement moment much like last years senior class did at Notre Dame. A loss isn’t the end of the world just like last years defeat at Auburn wasn’t and would give Kirby Smart a teaching moment that he’s been searching for. This is not a ‘win or your season is over’ moment for Georgia, rather it’s a part of the process that Kirby Smart has built in Athens. (Yep, even Dawg writers sound like Kirby these days)

Key Tigers for the Dawgs to watch:

The Tiger defense is scary. Greedy Williams is one of the best cornerbacks in the country and a lot of people like him more than the Dawgs own Deandre Baker. Now I love Baker, but Williams is right up there. If he can take Mecole Hardman out of the game for Georgia, he’ll have a huge impact for the Tigers. Devin White is another player that terrifies me as a fan. He’s the closest thing I have seen this season to Roquan Smith and having watching old number 3 dominate every Saturday, that’s a huge compliment. White has everything and could disrupt UGA’s defense in every aspect of the game. He’s the gold standard of linebackers in the SEC right now and looks like a future NFL superstar. Oh and do not forget Cole Tracy.

Key Dawgs for LSU to watch?

I’ve already mentioned Deandre Baker, but seriously LSU fans, the guy is great. As good as Williams is, nobody takes away a teams top receiver better than Baker does. Throwing to the right side of UGA’s defense pretty much does not happen this year because Baker is so good at what he does. He doesn’t have the insane measurables of some more famous CB’s but the guy is physical as hell and is so good at what he does. Ask Deebo Samuel if he knows who Baker now because he was absolutely owned for an entire game.

On the offensive side of the ball, Keep an eye out for D’Andre Swift. He’s had a quiet start to the season where he wasn’t fully healthy but in the past couple of games, we’ve just started to see flashes of the player that lit up last season. Georgia has so much depth at running back but Swift has the talent to take over the game both as a runner and a receiving threat. The Dawgs have been cautious with him so far, but I think he’s close to 100% now. I wouldn’t be shocked for him to get into the end zone twice if he is and in a tight game, that could be the difference.

Keys to a Dawg win:

Offensive line play. Dawg fans have been complaining about their offensive line all season but the reality is that that unit is really good. It hasn’t played consistently up to it’s potential yet and will likely be missing its two starting guards in Solomon Kindley and Ben Cleveland. However, every week these players grade as one of the nations best and that says a lot. There are some young players there that make mistakes, but when the second half comes, they start to wear down and own defensive lines. We’ve seen it in every game so far this season, when the 4th quarter comes around, defenses just cannot hang with a line that big and physical and they break. LSU’s defense will be the best they have faced so far so it’s going to be a real battle. If UGA’s OL come out on top then it’s hard to see them losing the game.

Keys to a Tigers win:

I’m going back to the offensive line again, but this time it’s the LSU football. Can a unit that was manhandled by an ok-ish front in Florida hang with a defense that is as talented as Georgia’s? The Dawgs lack 300+ pound run stuffers, but they make up with speed and LSU’s OL looked vulnerable to that last week. Don’t let the sacks figure cloud the fact that Georgia pressures the QB a lot. Kirby Smart and his defense genuinely do not care about sacks. They focus on ‘affecting the QB’ and when you watch the film, the Dawgs defense is very good at forcing rushed passes and incompletions. If LSU’s O-line can hold up and give Burrow time, there are holes in Georgia’s secondary, particularly at Nickel. Buying him that time and giving running backs lanes will be key for the Tigers to win this game. It will also keep UGA’s offense off the field and believe me, you don’t want to put Jake Fromm in a position to go out and win a game. It’s something he’s rather good at.

What means more for the team to win every year, Georgia Tech or Auburn?

It’s sad to say but ‘Clean Old Fashioned Hate’ doesn’t really matter anymore to me and many other Georgia fans. Don’t get me wrong the Tech fans love it and on the rare occasions they win, it’s all they talk about. Even after getting destroyed last year, they still like to chirp about how they won the year before. It’s pretty much the only game they have that means anything so they cling to it as a drowning man clings to a life vest.

But it means next to nothing to UGA these days. How can it when the two programs are in such different places. Georgia is building one of the most dominant programs in the sport and Tech runs a pretend, not even high school offense. They don’t even bother trying to compete for the same players on the recruiting trail anymore because future NFL guys are not playing in Tech’s scheme. It’s a sad and every now and then, Georgia will lose one they shouldn’t, but it’s not a rivalry anymore.

Auburn is right up there with Florida for most Georgia fans these days. During the bad days of UGA losing to the Gators, they traditionally did well against Auburn but lost some heartbreakers and that has helped build animosity on both sides. It’s also worth remembering that these two fight it out on the recruiting trail a lot so there is bad blood everywhere. Gus Malzahn’s comments last year also didn’t do any harm to the hatred. This is a proper rivalry that really matters to both fan bases and teams. I for one hate Auburn and beating them is one of the great joys of any season.

Score prediction for the game?

It’s going to be close and in my preseason preview, I predicted this would be the game that Georgia would lose to go 11-1. But I can’t do that when talking to a Tigers fan!! I think the Dawgs walk out with a close fought 27-23 victory and move on to 7-0. LSU football will be the toughest challenge yet though, for sure.