October 03, 2009
Check out the Doc's game day live blog, covering every game all day long.
LSU 20, Georgia 13. There are a lot of directions to go with this game -- a tale of two halves, a gangbusters finish with four touchdowns in the fourth quarter after none in the previous three, even officials thrusting themselves into the narrative with a pair of ludicrous celebration penalties down the stretch -- but the one that keeps coming back to me is the insistence by Lou Holtz, of all people, before the game that LSU just "knows how to win." That is abstract, easily-dismissed vagary, to be sure, but also an alarmingly accurate description for the Tigers' two go-ahead touchdown drives in the second half of the fourth quarter after an entire half spent MIA on offense.
Contrast the way the Tigers finished those drives, when they absolutely had to have both of them, with their reckless insistence on keeping Georgia in the game despite a generally dominant effort in the first half -- LSU outgained the 'Dogs by almost 200 yards (231-49), didn't punt, took all five possessions deep into UGA territory ... and came out with six points, courtesy of a turnover, settling for a couple field goals and getting stuffed on a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 at the Bulldog nine.
When Georgia's offense was stagnant (five straight punts in the first half), the Tigers futzed around; when the UGA offense came to life with a couple fourth quarter touchdowns, LSU emphatically answered both. The 12-play, 88-yard march, that one they finished, with a little under four minutes to go. I was set to lift hosannas to A.J. Green here after his absurd touchdown catch over Chris Hawkins put Georgia up 13-12 with a little more than a minute-and-a-half on the clock, until Charles Scott's thoroughly nondescript performance (18 carries for 65 yards before his final carry) yielded to an heroic turn with one broken tackle.
All of that was in keeping with their other road wins this year, the too-close-for-comfort escapes from Washington and Mississippi State that required defensive and special teams touchdowns and a goal line stop in Starkville and left a bad feeling in the mouth of a team that -- especially of last year's November skid -- couldn't be sure how it would respond when it got into the fire-breathing portion of the schedule. That's not a question any more: The Tigers responded in a tough road environment and justified their record -- on paper, on the field, under fire, wherever there were questions. The new question is, how do they put themselves in position to pull out another eye-gouger next week when Florida comes to town. Tebow or no Tebow, the Gators are the test for national ascendency.