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Saturday, October 03, 2009

LSU will win close one, 20-17

ATHENS, Ga. – Today is the day LSU will learn just how good a hire new defensive coordinator John Chavis was last December.

As Tennessee’s defensive coordinator from 1995-2008, Chavis went against Southeastern Conference East border school Georgia 14 times and won eight of those. Against Mark Richt, who became Georgia’s coach and virtual offensive coordinator in 2001, Chavis is is 3-5. But Chavis has won three of the last five meetings against Richt.

No. 18 Georgia (3-1, 2-0 SEC), which hosts No. 4 LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at 2:30 p.m. today on CBS, has a better offense than LSU. It has a better quarterback at the moment in fifth-year senior Joe Cox, who is in his first season of starting as is LSU sophomore Jordan Jefferson. Cox has been up and down. He has thrown two interceptions for touchdowns, but he has also thrown five touchdowns in a game and he throws over the middle more than Jefferson. Cox is fifth in the SEC in passing efficiency and 23rd nationally with a 153.7 rating to Jefferson’s 141.2 for eightn in the SEC and 43rd nationally.

Cox has one of the best receivers in the nation to throw to in sophomore A.J. Green, who leads the SEC with 107 yards receiving a game and with 6.2 catches a game. Green does not have to be open, and Cox often only needs to throw it in his vicinity.

Georgia’s offensive line has been banged up this season and is about the same as LSU’s, which is not that good right now. The Bulldogs are 11th in the SEC in rushing with 112.2 yards a game and 90th nationally. LSU is not a lot better at No. 10 and No. 74 with 130 yards a game.

But Georgia has shown a big-play ability against better competition than has LSU.

LSU will need Chavis to keep Cox and Green in the teens for the Tigers to win, and Chavis has been very adept at that against good Georgia teams.

In 2007, an inexplicable 35-14 loss to Tennessee and Chavis kept Georgia out of serious national championship conversation, unless you spoke to Georgia president Michael Adams. Georgia had one of the best offenses in the SEC that season and finished 11-2 with an early-season, 16-12 loss to South Carolina. Had it defeated Tennessee it would have probably won the national championship that year instead of LSU.

But on the heels of Georgia beating Alabama 26-23 in overtime and Ole Miss 45-17, Chavis’ defense held the Bulldogs to 69 rushing yards on 25 carries and 174 yards in the air on 16-of-34 passing.

The 35-14 loss was Georgia’s worst since a 34-13 to LSU and a Nick Saban defense in the 2003 SEC title game.

In 2004, Chavis silenced another Georgia team gaining momentum. Just one week after the Bulldogs destroyed LSU 45-16, Chavis held Richt to two touchdowns in a 19-14 victory. Georgia managed 56 yards rushing on 29 carries and 209 yards in the air on 19-of-41 passing.

With LSU still finding its way offensively, the Tigers will need its SEC East veteran chief to do something similar today.

The Bulldogs have as much talent on defense as LSU, if not more. LSU is better in the secondary, but Georgia is better on the line and at linebacker. Senior defensive tackles Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins will play in the NFL as will junior outside linebacker Rennie Curran.

Georgia’s defense has strangely underachieved this season, though. The Bulldogs are 11th in the SEC and 90th nationally in pass defense with 243 yards allowed game. They are also No. 11 in total defense and 67th nationally with 355.8 yards allowed a game.

Georgia’s offense is better than LSU’s offense, but LSU’s defense will win the game today because of its Chavis wild card.

Final Score: LSU 20, Georgia 17.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Like, you're a prophet, dude. And you're right - LSU's O line is not good, right now. It looked like in the 2nd half that they'd never been taught how to pass block. GA was having them and Jefferson for lunch. Saban will have them for lunch, dinner, and dessert.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Jason Robertson said...

Your crystal ball was clear today. Good job.

9:18 PM  

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