Thing is, neither the defense nor the Tigers' offense might've ever gotten a chance to shine had Brad Wing not single-handedly (footedly?) kept them in the game in the first half.
|Brad Wing: Helped keep the Tigers in the game with his leg in the first half.|
The two punters took turns booming kicks in the first 30 minutes,
Wing uncorked rainmakers of 50, 64, 56, 67, 50 and 55 in the first half when he got plenty of opportunity as the Tigers' offense plodded through a miserable performance with no first downs on seven possessions.
Butler, meanwhile, launched bombs of 62, 52, 59, 48 and 51 yards.
When the game ended, the two punters had rewritten the SEC Championship Game record book punting section.
The 67-yard Wing punt was the longest in the game's history and his 64-yarder was the third longest. Butler got off the fourth longest with the 62-yard kick.
|Kevin Butler matched Wing punt for punt.|
A major difference between the two – as it has been all season for the Tigers – was in what the return teams did with the punts.
Georgia had no return yards, while LSU racked up 127 with Tyrann Mathieu returning one for a 62-yard touchdown and another 46 yards to set up a score.
Those two long returns allowed Mathieu to carve a spot in SEC lore as well.
His 62-yard TD was the second longest in the game's history behind Mississippi State's Kevin Prentiss, who had an 83-yard burst against Tennessee in 1998. Mathieu's 29.8-yard average was the best in 20 SEC Championship Games, topping Prentiss' 25.3-yard average in '98.
|Tyrann Mathieu shows off his new hardware after being voted the SEC Championship Game MVP.|
Mathieu was the runaway winner of the MVP award Saturday, putting him in rare air.
The sophomore cornerback is only the third defensive/special teams player to claim the honor, the first since Florida defensive tackle Ellis Johnson did in 1994. The other was Alabama defensive back Antonio Langham in the inaugural game in 1992.
Mathieu is the seventh non-quarterback to claim the honor and he broke a streak of four straight MVP wins by signal-callers, including former Tiger Ryan Perrilloux in 2007.
Maybe next time
In any other game, LSU freshman tailback Kenny Hilliard likely would have blown away the field in the MVP vote.
|Kenny Hilliard: 3 TDs in the third quarter helped LSU turn the game around.|
Hilliard's three TDs and 18 points tied the championship game record, which he shares with Alabama' Mark Ingram (2009) and Reidel Anthony of Florida (1996).
When Alfred Blue bolted 48 yards late in the game for LSU's third rushing TD, that also matched a championship game record shared by several teams.
Elite company II
LSU joined Florida as the only SEC teams that have won the championship game at least four times.
LSU's win was the third in a row for the West Division, which has closed the East's gap to 11-9. The Tigers (4), Alabama (3) and Auburn (2) have carried the West banner and have also made 16 of the division's 20 appearances.
All of LSU's wins have come in odd-numbered years (2001, 2003, 2007, 2011).
Moving the chains
|Alfred Blue joins the 500-yard club with a 94-yard day against Georgia.|
COLUMN: Recipe for success began with Mathieu Half-and-half works fine for the Tigers BOX SCORE
Half-and-half works fine for the Tigers BOX SCORE