ATLANTA — Aaron Murray knew the number of chances would be limited.
Leading Louisiana State 10-0 when the Bulldogs “should have” found the end zone three times for a 21-0 lead, Georgia’s scoring opportunities weren’t just going to be limited from then on: there really were no more to come until it was too late.
After putting up 134 yards in the first quarter despite a few big drops, the Georgia offense stalled.
With LSU’s special teams and defense forcing short fields to lead the Tigers on what finished as a 42-0 scoring run, the Bulldogs’ offense had only 162 yards the last three quarters – 70 came on the last drive – and had three turnovers.
“With a team like LSU, you got to take points when you can get them,” Murray said. “We definitely missed a couple shots early on in the game.”
Following the Murray-to-Aron White touchdown pass, Georgia had only one of the next eight possessions – the knee to end the half not included – travel more than 10 yards. The exception was a drive aided by a 15-yard penalty as LSU started getting to Murray with protection breakdowns and left no holes for the running backs.
With the deficit growing, the Bulldogs relied on the passing game to rally, but two interceptions squashed any hopes.
“When they had 10, I thought that that would be it, and we needed just frankly to get it started,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
When Georgia did string together first downs, defensive pressure by the likes of Jermauria Rasco essentially doomed any chances as Georgia didn’t threaten to score until a late fourth-down pass fell incomplete when it moved to the LSU 10.
“That’s why they’re No. 1 in the country,” Georgia center Ben Jones said. “They came out and showed that in the second half today.”
Both the running and passing games were muted. Following the first quarter, Georgia rushed for 44 yards on 26 carries and threw for only 118 more yards on the remaining 36 attempts. Georgia followed up the 10-0 lead by having eight of their drives last less than 2:45.
When Georgia did get rare positive yards on a run, it fumbled once, as Murray lost the ball on the first offensive series of the second half. When it tried to beat the Tigers’ secondary, possession changed hands with Tharold Simon and Morris Claiborne making interceptions.
“The second half, gosh, so many things that happened,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. “Basically, just lost the momentum. They gained it and we really couldn’t slow it down once it got going.”