Georgia routs LSU 45-16

Call it "Ambush in Athens."

The University of Georgia's David Greene through the air and Danny Ware on the ground kept the LSU defense on its heels for a majority of the afternoon as the big plays of the Bulldogs led to a 45-16 win over LSU here Saturday afternoon at Samford Stadium.

Greene finished the afternoon 10-of-18 passing for 172 yards and a career high five touchdown passes, while Ware, despite missing parts of the game getting a cut on his head tended to, finished with 109 yards.

LSU spotted Georgia a 24-0 lead before getting its offense on track in the final 90 seconds of the first half, as JaMarcus Russell hit Dwayne Bowe for a touchdown and Chris Jackson made a 31-yard field goal as time ran out to close the game to 24-10, giving LSU new life with possession of the ball coming out of the dressing room.

That momentum swing appeared to continue at the start of the third quarter as LSU, starting from its own 12, ran Alley Broussard twice and then Russell hit Joseph Addai for 38 yards to the Georgia 45. LSU continued marching down to the 35, but a holding penalty on first down gave LSU a first and 20 and LSU was unable to sustain the drive forcing the Tigers to punt and that was really the Tigers last best opportunity as Greene would throw two more third quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

Russell was nine-of-17 for 131 yards and one touchdown, while Randall was 10-of-13 for 116 yards and a TD. The two quarterbacks were sacked five times by the Bulldogs. Bowe would be LSU's leading receiver with six catches for 78 yards and the score.

Georgia out gained LSU, 430-314, with the Bulldogs piling up a 221-67 advantage on the ground. Besides Ware's 100-yard day, Thomas Brown picked up 81 on the ground. LSU's leading rusher was Broussard, gaining 45 yards on 12 carries.

The game swung early to Georgia as the fired-up Bulldogs wanted to prove they were a much different squad than the team the Tigers dominated in the SEC Championship game last December.

"I know a lot of people are disappointed," Coach Nick Saban said on his post-game radio show afterwards. "But I can tell you the players are disappointed. I'm very disappointed; I think our staff is very disappointed. I really had a good feeling coming into this game, because we had practiced well, we prepared well. I thought we had a good mindset coming here in terms of how we would go out and play. Early in the game, they just blocked us. We didn't get off blocks on defense. They ran the ball and kept us off balance. They made a couple of big plays and we made a couple of turnovers and kind of dug a hole for ourselves. We had a chance to get back in the game when we got it to 24-10 and put a drive together and got a penalty and a sack. All of a sudden they got the momentum of the game back and it wasn't much of a game after that.

"When bad things happen to you in life, in a football game or whatever," Saban said, "I think it's a real test of your character and your resiliency as a person to see how you handle it and manage it. Obviously, we've got a lot of things to work on, lot's of things we can get better at and we're certainly going to try to use this game as an opportunity for us to learn and to get better. As long as the players stay committed to what they are trying to do and keep the right attitude, we'll have a chance to do that."

The Tigers won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. Georgia got two yards on its opening drive and LSU got its first opportunity with the ball, starting at the LSU 38.

Randall, the quarterback who had led LSU to touchdowns on its opening drives the last three games, was the starter. After being penalized for a false start when trying to go with a quick count on the first play, LSU was able to get the penalty yardage back on a pass to Skyler Green. But a run and a sack on third down, forced LSU to punt. Jackson got a high snap from center and had to rush the kick and with the aid of a roll was able to get 38 yards, setting Georgia up first and 10 on the Georgia 33.

The Bulldogs offense snapped into high gear on its second drive as Greene scrambled for six yards on the opening play and then Ware rushed for 10 yards, caught a pass for five and rushed for 10 more to give Georgia a first down on the LSU 35. Ware gained nine more on first down to move the ball to the LSU 26.

Green finished the drive through the air throwing a perfect strike over Travis Daniels to Reggie Brown at the right pylon for a 25-yard score that gave Georgia a 7-0 lead seven minutes into the game.

LSU was three and out on the next possession as two running plays netted eight yards sandwiched around an 11-yard sack of Randall by David Pollock.

D. J. Shockley came in at quarterback with five minutes to go in the first quarter and the Georgia offensive line continued to open holes and keep the LSU charging defensive line out of the backfield. Brown continued to be one of the stars of the early game as Shockley found him down the middle of the field behind the LSU defense for a 47-yard gain to the LSU 22.

Ware again was able to gain nine on first down before having to go to the sidelines to have the cut attended to for the first of a few times in the first half. With a first and goal at the 10, the Tigers defense stiffened and Georgia was forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Andy Bailey to give Georgia a 10-0 lead with 1:30 to go in the opening quarter.

Randall remained at quarterback on LSU's third series and a middle screen to Green gave LSU a 12-yard gain and its initial first down on a drive that started at the 21. But three plays later, Georgia came on the blitz and Justin Vincent was dislodged from the football. It was LSU's eighth lost fumble of the season and Georgia had the ball as the second quarter started in LSU territory.

Greene and Ware both returned to the game and both were able to get yardage to set up the two-yard Green touchdown pass to Fred Gibson to complete a seven-play, 35-yard drive which gave the Bulldogs a 17-0 advantage with 11:52 left in the first half. It was Gibson's first TD catch of the year.

Through the first 17 minutes, Georgia had 10 first downs to LSU's one, out gaining LSU 169 to minus 1.

The Tigers best running play to that point came on second down of the next drive as Jacob Hester rumbled for 13 yards, but a hard tackle knocked the ball out and Georgia again recovered and LSU's defense had to quickly return back to the field as Georgia took over on the LSU 40.

Again, this would lead to another spectacular touchdown grab by Brown, falling over the front end zone pylon on a pass from Greene for 29 yards and a 24-0 lead with 9:40 to go before intermission. Brown would finish with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Russell came in on the Tigers next possession but it was another three and out as a running play by Vincent got three yards, before Russell was sacked on second down and then hurried into an incompletion on third down.

LSU held Georgia on its next possession, making the Bulldogs punt for the first time since the game's initial series. The Bulldogs would have to punt again and Green had a good return of 16 yards nullified by an illegal block penalty forcing LSU to start its fourth straight possession on its own 20.

Late in the half, the Tigers offense showed signs of life on the ground as Broussard rushed right for five yards, left for nine and up the middle for 12 for a first down at the LSU 46. Following a no gain run by Hester, Addai ripped one for 36 yards to take the ball to the

Georgia 18 with 1:29 to go in the half.

On second down after a timeout, Russell hit a perfect strike to Bowe across the middle for the 18-yard touchdown pass which gave LSU a strong 80-yard drive on seven plays to put LSU down 24-7 with 1:23 to go in the second quarter. It was Bowe's fifth receiving touchdown of the year and Russell's second touchdown pass of his young college career.

LSU seemed to be energized and forced Georgia to punt again in the final minute and after a 19-yard punt, LSU got the ball at the Georgia 37 with 10 seconds to play. Russell then hit Craig Davis with an incredible catch on the sideline with five seconds to play for a gain of 24. Chris Jackson hit a 31-yard field goal as time expired and the momentum seemed to be switching for the Tigers who went to the dressing room down, 24-10.

"I really felt like we had a chance to come back in the game at halftime," Saban said on his radio show. "I think our players felt that way too. We put a good drive together when we went out in the second half. We were actually in field goal range and got a penalty and then we got sacked. You have a red shirt freshman playing quarterback and a freshman playing receiver and it was a sight and the guy didn't break it. The quarterback should have thrown the ball away anyway, but we didn't. So that changed field position a little bit and then the big thing is they go down and we never got the field position back. Eventually they scored a couple of times.

"I just felt like we didn't play with the kind of tenacity on defense that we should. We've got to find some guys that want to go out there and play hard and have fun. We've got some guys who are doing that well, but I was a little big disappointed in the way we tackled today," said Saban.

Georgia's third-quarter scores came on a 24-yard strike from Greene to Gibson with 5:12 to play and a 21-yard Greene pass to Sean Bailey with 1:59 to go in the third quarter to make it 38-10. Georgia's final score came at the 6:36 mark of the game as Brown capped a 60-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

LSU was able to get a final score in the final two minutes as part of another eight-play, 80-yard drive under Randall as he hit Xavier Carter from two yards out for the final 45-16 margin.


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