ATLANTA -- Georgia had a puncher’s chance in this game. If it could land enough combinations or the big right hand, then maybe it could shock the world and upset undisputed and undefeated LSU.
But even though the Dogs had LSU squared up for multiple big haymakers in the first half, the Dogs kept missing the Tigers’ chin.
On their first drive, the Dogs landed a shot as Aaron Murray hit Tavarres King for a 44-yard pass to the LSU 21. But then on third down, Murray threw to an open King in the end zone. King allowed the football to go through his hands, and Georgia had to settle for a field goal.
Georgia got the ball right back as it snuck in a shot LSU never saw coming, executing an onside kick. Alec Ogletree recovered at the Georgia 49.
The Dogs drove to the LSU 27, where they faced a third-and-16. Freshman Malcolm Mitchell slipped behind the secondary down the right sideline, and Murray hit him in stride inside the 5. But Mitchell didn’t hold onto the ball -- a big punch that drew nothing but air. The Dogs didn’t even settle for a field goal this time as Blair Walsh missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt.
Georgia finally found LSU’s chin as Murray hit Aron White for a touchdown pass near the end of the first quarter.
But even with that, Georgia led only 10-0, when it should have been ahead 21-0.
Georgia coach Mark Richt agreed.
“I was proud of the way we started,” Richt said. “We missed a couple of opportunities for more points. Probably could have had 21 points in the first half if we just catch the football, but we were not able to do that.”
LSU got off the ropes midway through the second quarter as Tyrann Mathieu returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown.
It appeared from that point that Georgia was spent as it gained just 1 yard in the second quarter and 35 in the third quarter.
Without a running game -- Georgia had just 37 rushing yards through the first three quarters -- the Dogs couldn’t jab at LSU’s defense.
The Dogs were left to fight with one hand or Murray’s arm.
But being one dimensional allowed LSU’s defensive line to tee off and rush without worrying about the running game. For the rest of the night, Murray was running for his life.
LSU overwhelmed Georgia in the second half, outscoring the Dogs 35-0 on its way to a 42-10 rout.
There is no way of knowing whether the outcome would have been any different if Georgia hadn’t missed so many punches in the first half, but the underdog fighter had its chances but couldn’t connect often enough and was ultimately left bloodied, bruised and defeated.
Kevin Price, 706-320-4493