A look back at the epic Georgia Football-LSU classic in 2013

Georgia Football (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Georgia Football (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

After a second straight 12-0 regular season, Georgia Football looks to keep the wins coming as they face off against LSU in the SEC Championship game. A win would give them their 14th SEC title in program history, and it would be Kirby Smart’s second as Georgia’s head coach. Despite Georgia being a 17-point favorite over the Tigers on Saturday, the series history has not been kind to the Dawgs.

LSU leads the overall series 18-13, and they have won the two recent matchups. These two teams first met in 1928, but Georgia did not beat the Tigers until 1947. This is the fifth meeting between these schools in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

A memorable game that many Georgia fans remember with fondness is the game against LSU in 2013. Many include this game in their all-time Georgia wins list, and for good reason. The hype for this game was incredible. This was a top-10 matchup, and Athens would host ESPN’s College Gameday for the first time since the infamous 2008 Georgia-Alabama game. There was also an interesting storyline between the two quarterbacks for the game.

Aaron Murray had already established himself as one of the best passers in Georgia Football history and set almost every record along the way. However, he wasn’t known as a big game-winner. Since 2010, Murray and the Dawgs were 2-6 against top 10 opponents. This wasn’t all Murray’s fault, but many were pointing the finger at him simply because he was the starting quarterback.

The 2013 Georgia Football-LSU matchup is considered an all-time classic

Meanwhile, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger would be getting a chance to face his former team. The Watkinsville, GA native committed to Georgia out of high school, but he was dismissed from the team in 2010. After a year at a JUCO school, Mettenberger found his way to LSU, and in week four of the 2013 season, he’d get a chance to face his former team.

The beginning of the 2013 season was brutal for the Dawgs. They opened the season by visiting No. 8 Clemson for a primetime matchup with the Tigers, which they ultimately lost 38-35. It did not get any easier for Georgia, as they welcomed the Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina Gamecocks to town the next week. The Gamecocks, who were ranked No. 6 at the time, had beaten Georgia the last three seasons, so the pressure was on Mark Richt and his Bulldogs to win this game, which they did 41-30.

After a tune-up game against North Texas, the Dawgs were ready to face their toughest opponent of the season.  Georgia got the ball to start the game, which ended in a short touchdown pass to Michael Bennett. LSU responded with a touchdown pass of their own, this one a 48-yard strike on third down. After an Aaron Murray interception, the Tigers would strike again, giving them a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.

Running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall would pick up some big runs on the next offensive drive that ultimately led to a Chris Conley touchdown to tie the game.

The two teams traded field goals in the second quarter before Murray scored a rushing touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half to give the Dawgs a 24-17 lead. Unfortunately for Georgia, Todd Gurley suffered an ankle injury after being pushed out of bounds, causing him to miss the remainder of the game. He would finish the game with 73 rushing yards on just eight carries.

The teams went back and forth again in the third quarter, matching each other with field goals and touchdown passes. One of Georgia’s touchdowns came after LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. muffed a punt, setting them up at the 20-yard line.

Georgia would take a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. This is where the fireworks began.

Zach Mettenberger orchestrated two touchdown drives, while the LSU defense kept Georgia out of the end zone for most of the quarter. Tigers running back Jeremy Hill scored from two yards out to give LSU a 41-37 lead with around four minutes left in the game.

Aaron Murray would lead the drive of his career, connecting with receivers like Justin Scott-Wesley and Arthur Lynch for big gains. In his only carry of the night, freshman JJ Green ran for 18 yards to set the Dawgs up on the LSU 25-yard line. On 1st and 10, with less than two minutes on the clock, Murray connected with Scott-Wesley for the go-ahead touchdown.

The Georgia defense needed to make one more stop to seal the game. It started with a bang when freshman Leonard Floyd ran through the offensive line to sack Mettenberger on first down. Georgia would go on to force four straight incompletions to seal a 44-41 victory.

An emotional Mark Richt told CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson how proud he was of the team, both quarterbacks, and the fans in attendance. He signed off by saying that “no one does it better than Georgia.”  Aaron Murray threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns on the day, and Keith Marshall led Georgia running backs with 96 yards.

Longtime Georgia broadcaster and historian Loran Smith pinned a letter to the late Larry Munson and told him all about the game. This game would have no doubt given us a classic Munson call that we would still be quoting to this day.

Unfortunately for Georgia, the 2013 season ended in disappointment. Todd Gurley would be out for three weeks, and after surviving against Tennessee in overtime, the Dawgs dropped two games to Missouri and Vanderbilt. They were also on the receiving end of the “Prayer at Jordan Hare.” They lost several key players to injury over the course of the season, and Georgia ultimately finished 8-5.

Will there be more classic moments between Georgia and LSU? We will find out this Saturday at 4:00 PM.