Georgia at LSU

The Sports Xchange

October 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
SITE: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
TV: CBS
SERIES: LSU leads 16-13-1. Georgia won the last meeting 44-41 in 2013.
RANKINGS: Georgia No. 2, LSU No. 13

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bulldogs

–QB Jake Fromm continues to be one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the SEC. The sophomore enters Saturday’s game against LSU having completed 83 of 114 passes (72.8 completion percentage) for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, which ranks second in the conference behind Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

–RB Elijah Holyfield has been a consistent performer for the Bulldogs, leading the team in rushing with 432 yards and an average of 7.1 yards per carry. He has rushed for 332 yards over his last four games starting with a 100-yard effort on just eight carries against Middle Tennessee State.

–LB D’Andre Walker leads the Bulldogs with four sacks and has forced three fumbles, which is tied for fourth nationally. Of his 15 tackles, five have been for losses of 29 yards.

–S Richard LeCounte has started every game this year and leads the team with 33 tackles. He has been the leading tackler twice this year, including six stops and a forced fumble last week against Vanderbilt.

Tigers

–QB Joe Burrow has been primarily responsible for a recent rash of turnovers. He threw two interceptions in the loss to Florida, his first picks of the season, and also lost a fumble, his third lost fumble in the last three games. The Tigers can’t afford to give points to Georgia, and they can’t afford to squander scoring opportunities.

–LG Adrian Magee needs to bounce back from a difficult game against Florida. Magee started the season at right tackle, but was moved to left guard to replace injured Garrett Brumfield. Coach Ed Orgeron resisted the temptation to move Magee back to right tackle for the sake of continuity.

–DT Brendan Fehoko is one of the leaders on the defensive line, which will be challenged by Georgia’s outstanding offensive line. He’ll need to help plug the middle against the run and generate a pass rush in order to contain the Bulldogs’ high-scoring offense. He has 1.5 sacks among his 13 tackles.

–CB Kristian Fulton has been picked on for much of the season and that’s likely to continue as long as Greedy Williams is on the other side of the defense. Fulton missed much of preseason practice while appealing an NCAA suspension and has yet to play up to expectations. He has yet to come up with an interception but has broken up seven passes.

KEYS
TO THE GAME

No. 2 Georgia is looking for validation of its ranking and No. 13 LSU will be seeking redemption when they meet in a Southeastern Conference showdown Saturday afternoon.

Kickoff for the CBS telecast is 3:30 p.m. ET at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

The Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 SEC) have played just one ranked team, beating then-No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17 on Sept. 8. The Tigers (5-1, 2-1 SEC) were one of the biggest surprises of the first half of the season, climbing from No. 25 in the preseason poll to No. 5 before losing at then-No. 22 Florida 27-19 last week.

Georgia can demonstrate that it is worthy of its ranking beyond just lofty preseason expectations as it begins a stretch of four consecutive games against ranked conference opponents.

After Saturday’s trip to LSU, the Bulldogs have an open date before facing No. 14 Florida, No. 18 Kentucky and No. 21 Auburn on consecutive weeks.

“We’ve got some tough games,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I think that our tests are upcoming. I think we play some good football teams starting this week with what’s an extremely physical, well-coached football team, in a tough place to play.”

LSU has entered the most challenging part of its schedule as well. Next week the Tigers play Mississippi State, which re-entered the rankings at No. 24 this week after ending a two-game losing streak with an upset victory against then-No. 8 Auburn. An open date follows that before the Tigers face No. 1 Alabama.

LSU is still alive in the SEC West race and potentially even a spot in the College Football Playoff as long as it doesn’t lose again.

“We don’t talk like that,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “Don’t speak like that at all. This is a very hectic schedule as we all know, and it passes by so fast. If you look back in August, it’s like the blink of an eye that we’re already on our seventh game and we’re playing Georgia.

“And we’re 5-1. We’re proud of that. We made a lot of strides as a football team. We still got a long ways to go and we got some tough opponents coming in.”

Georgia still has to face its closest competitors in the East in Florida and Kentucky as it defends its division title.

“We just know that from this point going forward we need to be on our ‘A’ game, because this is our meat of our schedule,” Bulldogs wide receiver Terry Godwin said. “We just have to be Georgia football and be who we are. We haven’t played our best yet.”

The Tigers hope they haven’t played their best yet. They opened the season by beating preseason No. 8 Miami (33-17), then two weeks later they went on the road and beat then-No. 7 Auburn (22-21) in their SEC opener.

But Georgia is the deepest team they have faced so far, and LSU is lacking depth in certain areas, including offensive line and linebacker.

“We have to keep our guys fresh, but we have to make sure that the guys that we rotate can handle the player that they’re playing against,” Orgeron said. “So I think that it’s a fine line there. We just can’t rotate to rotate. We have to look at the matchup, see if we put some guys in.

“It all depends on what position you’re talking about. We’re going to have to mix and match the things that we do on defense to match their personnel the whole game. It’s going to be another chess match.”

The Tigers have yet to lose back-to-back games since Orgeron took over four games into the 2016 season.

“Georgia’s got our attention, has everybody’s attention all year, now it’s time to focus in on them and it will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Orgeron said. “I’m glad we have them at home.”