Georgia football came into this SEC Championship Game with a point to prove, and those Dawgs handled business like the elite team they are. The Dawgs took down LSU 50-30. Yup, head coach Kirby Smart dropped a fifty-burger in the SEC Championship Game to beat the spread. He wasn’t trying to beat the spread flat-out, but those who bet on the Dawgs to do so are pretty happy with the head coach.
It wasn’t pretty at times, especially for the secondary, but when the defense holds LSU to 47 rushing yards, the secondary will take a hit on the stat sheet. This unit should have and could have played better, but it wasn’t their night. Giving up 502 passing yards is never a good look, but when you beat a team by 20 points and stay undefeated — there is plenty of time to fix the issues before the playoffs.
Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett had himself a day and earned MVP of the game after going 23-of-29 for 274 yards and four touchdowns. All four of his scores came in the first half, but he was still extremely efficient, with just one or two questionable throws. To complete 79% of your passes is a good night, and Bennett presented an argument to the Heisman Trophy committee as to why he should be in New York City for the ceremony.
Georgia football embarrassed LSU to check off another significant goal of the season.
The Dawgs dominated the Tigers with their rush attack. That running back group held their own, too, as they rushed for 255 yards on 44 carries, averaging 5.8 yards a touch. Kenny McIntosh scored both rushing touchdowns, finishing with 14 carries for 55 yards.
However, Kendall Milton led the pack with eight carries for 113 yards — including a 51-yarder that set up one of McIntosh’s scores. He averaged 14.1 yards a touch and showed everyone who he was as a runner. Daijun Edwards had 12 carries for 77 yards, averaging 6.4 yards a run, and he had a few good bursts of greatness too.
Georgia’s offensive line deserves a lot of credit for getting that push and protecting Bennett. They gave up zero sacks and while there were those six tackles for loss, protecting Bennett is far more critical. Harold Perkins led the Tigers with 10 total tackles but only had 1.5 tackles for loss on the night. The Dawgs needed to limit him, and for the most part, Georgia did.
Four different Dawgs caught touchdowns from Bennett. Brock Bowers led the team with six catches for 81 yards and one score. Ladd McConkey had five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. He went down with an injury or probably would have gotten a few more catches under his belt. Darnell Washington’s lone catch was a 14-yard touchdown, and Dillon Bell had a three-yard score.
Bennett got the ball in plenty of guys’ hands as he completed passes to 10 different receivers. This ability to spread the wealth helped the Dawgs put up 50 points and dominate the Tigers’ defense.
As for the Dawgs’ defense, yes, they gave up 30 points, the most all season and the most since last year’s SEC Championship Game when Alabama hung 41 on Georgia. However, there was still a lot of good from that defensive unit.
Jalen Carter was a monster. He picked up Jaylen Daniels like a toddler and made one of the LSU offensive linemen look like he needed to go back to prep football after exploding past him. He was a difference maker as Carter recorded four tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and a pass deflection.
As a whole, Georgia recorded four sacks, eight tackles for loss, one strip-sack fumble recovery, and two interceptions. Not to mention, the special teams blocked the Tiger’s field goal, and Christopher Smith picked it up and toted it 95 yards to the house to put Georgia’s first points on the board.
Smael Mondon and Javon Bullard led the team with six tackles apiece. The whole defense did a stand-up job. Was it perfect? No, but again, sometimes offenses find ways to put up numbers, and unfortunately, it was this game. However, who cares — Georgia restricted them, and the Tigers did what they had to. Smart will have that secondary ready for the semifinals on New Year’s Eve.
Before the game, Smart said to the reporter he mentioned the phrase “connected assault,” and the Dawgs did that to LSU. Give the Tigers some credit. They fought hard and put up more points than even Tennessee could. However, Georgia still made the Tigers look silly, and only when the Dawgs backed off some was LSU able to do anything.