After forcing Georgia to go three and out on the opening drive of the second half and down 24-17 with momentum on their side, the Tigers could not muster any offense and gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs.
Seven plays later Georgia led 31-17 after Matthew Stafford hooked up with A.J. Green for a 49-yard catch and run. Then on the Bulldogs’ eighth play of the half Knowshon Moreno busted through the line and outran everyone for a 68-yard touchdown that put the Tigers in a hole that they would never climb out of.
“The story is the mistakes,” said LSU Head Coach Les Miles during his post-game press conference. “You can’t make mistakes. When you play a quality opponent, you cannot give them turnovers. You can’t not cover people in coverage. You can let runs that should be tackled go untackled.”
The Tigers gave the ball to Georgia plenty as Jarrett Lee was picked off three times with two of the interceptions going the other way for six points for the Bulldogs.
It started very early for Lee and the Tigers as the first play of the game was a pass to Brandon LaFell that ended up in the hands of Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble and 11 seconds later Georgia led 7-0.
Then with 3:18 left in the game it was déjà vu for the young signal caller as Gamble picked off another errant pass and took that one back 53 yards for Georgia’s final score.
The redshirt freshman quarterback did have career-highs of three touchdown passes and 287 yards, but that was overshadowed by the third and fourth interception of the season that ended up costing the Tigers six points.
“I take the blame for this one because if it wasn’t for those two picks that were returned then we’re in the ballgame,” said Lee. “It’s just something that we need to fix and need to work on it. It’s something I’ve been doing every week and I just need to refocus and need to come back next week.”
There was plenty of blame to go around though as the defense gave up 443 yards of offense, including big play after big play.
If it wasn’t Knowshon Moreno breaking off big runs and making the Tigers miss tackle after tackle then it was Matthew Stafford getting the ball to his receivers.
Moreno sliced his way through the LSU defense for 163 yards on 21 carries, including one for 47 yards late in the first quarter and then the big blow that put the Bulldogs up by three touchdowns when he outran the defense for 68 yards and a score.
Stafford made several throws that would leave NFL scouts drooling and he called it a day after completing 17-of-26 for 249 yards and a pair of scores.
“Certainly I have to give credit to Moreno for the runs he made,” Miles said. “He made some big runs that no one else could run. He made some great cuts.
“And Stafford, he made some throws,” Miles added. “They have a nice receiving corps of big and tall guys with hands that catch the ball really well.”
The Tigers did not quit after finding themselves down by 21 points and pulled to within two touchdowns on their next series when Charles Scott broke a 43-yard run to the 1-yard line and then punched it on the next play.
The defense surrendered another big play on a busted coverage when Georgia got the ball back as Stafford found his tight end Aron White crossing the field for a 49-yard pass play.
LSU forced a long field goal that was short and to the right, but following another three and out, Georgia tacked on another touchdown when Stafford called his number from seven yards out.
“The big plays hurt us,” said LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith. “It wasn’t like with Florida where they just sat there and whipped us…..They just made plays and we didn’t.”
Next up for LSU is a home date with Tulane next Saturday and with two conference losses now in the book there is only one thing for this team to do.
“We must come to fight,” said LSU defensive end Rahim Alem. “We are in the corner right now and we have to get out of it. We lost to two great football teams. Obviously, we are not proud of the way we lost, so from here on out we cannot afford any mistakes.”
Alem said that the Tigers will go back to work on Monday in search of a fix for the problems on both sides of the ball and when they break down film on Monday morning they probably will not like what they see.
And the headman will agree with that.
“We’ve got work to do,” said Miles. “I’m not going to make too much of it but I’m not going to make too little of it. There are things we’re going to see on film that we’re going to address.”