It took all 60 minutes, but LSU was able to move ahead of Georgia before the final whistle to improve their record to 5-0.
“The team went on the road, had poise and found a way to win,” said head coach Les Miles at his Monday press luncheon. “It was LSU’s first victory in Athens since 1987, and I told the team that after the game.
“We enjoy the position that we are in. We worked hard and ended the week with the victory.”
Thanks to a season-best 95-yard rushing night from Charles Scott, who scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter that gave LSU the lead on both occasions, the Tiger ground attack moved the ball in between the tackles with consistency for the first time on the year.
“Charles had a very strong game with and without the ball,” Miles said. “And with the game on the line, we put the ball in his hands and he runs with passion. He refused to go down on the last play.”
Scott worked behind an offensive line that not only had their talent questioned in games prior, but one that was forced to step up in Athens despite flu-like symptoms to a number of players.
“The line came to work, and they played well,” Miles said. “It was interesting to see those guys play through sickness, but guys like [Will] Blackwell and [Alex] Hurst stepped in and performed well. Will got called on a holding penalty, but he played competitively.”
Miles said that the passing game, which saw Jordan Jefferson complete 18-of-27 passes for 212 yards and an interception, was also where it needed to be.
“Jefferson continues to improve,” he said. “He is a leader, and the guys enjoy him. He just has a great feel about him on the field.
“I don’t know that he is a spectacular option quarterback, but we are not trying to ask him to do too much,” he continued. “We enjoy the fact that he can throw it.”
On the defensive side, Miles praised John Chavis’ unit – which held the Bulldogs scoreless in the first half and allowed just 7-of-17 third down conversions in the game.
“The first half may be the best defensive half I have been around,” Miles said. “When you limit a team to 31 passing yards and 18 rushing, it tells you that the defense will stick them all afternoon.
“There was an overrun in pursuit, but not any missed tackles,” he continued. “There are better angles we can take and certainly some ways we could improve, but we tackled cleanly.”
The one dark spot came from the defensive line, which was unable to record a sack – an unwelcomed trend so far this season. Yet, if the defense can continue to shut down the opposition, Miles said that he could live with the lack of pressure.
“If the defense plays like they did, I will accept the inability to get to the passer,” he said. “It is a week in and week out feel. We needed coverage, and the defense played well enough for us to win.”
With No. 1 Florida on tap this weekend, Miles said that Louisianans should be feeling full on football success.
“This is the greatest football state in America, a place where the women understand what it means and how to play it and the boys grow up wanting to play for the Tigers,” he said. “With the [New Orleans] Saints winning and the college team doing right, it is a great fall in Louisiana.”