Instant Analysis: Georgia-LSU

Staff Columnist
Posted Oct 25, 2008

It was not surprising that Knowshon Moreno, Matthew Stafford, and A.J. Green produced big plays on a gleaming Saturday afternoon in the Bayou. The shock value in Georgia's romp over the LSU Tigers was the fact that the Bulldogs' playmaking studs had so much space in which to operate.

College football's defending national champions will not repeat in 2008. Les Miles's team laid down its nationwide crown in the face of Georgia's full frontal assault, witnessed by a stunned home crowd in Baton Rouge. Georgia certainly has the ability to light up the scoreboard, given the NFL-caliber talents it possesses at running back with Moreno; under center with Stafford; and at wide receiver with Green. With that said, the Bulldogs figured to find tough sledding against the Bayou Bengals because their offensive line had been eroded.

After left tackle Trinton Sturdivant got knocked out for the season in August, the Bulldogs had to deal with the recent loss of Vince Vance, Sturdivant's sturdy replacement. Down to a fourth left tackle, coach Mark Richt had to worry about his deceasing depth up front. It's all well and good to put an eager Dawg in the fight, but without enough experience or skill, the fight in the Dawg might not matter in the cutthroat world of the SEC, especially on the road against the defending national titleists.

Apparently, though, Georgia's thinning ranks up front didn't enter the picture against LSU. Replacements and realignments on UGA's offensive line worked to perfection, as an inspired bunch of big ‘uns bested and blasted the front seven of LSU's defensive unit.

The running lanes opened wide. The passing lanes proved to be pristine in their clarity. Whatever Georgia and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo chose to do, it worked, because the hogs in the red shirts blew away their yellow-helmeted counterparts on the other side of the ball. Given enough room in which to operate, the Dawgs' trio of superstar performers took care of business, and a solid but outclassed LSU team simply had no chance, even at home.

Georgia's dominance at the line of scrimmage enabled the Dawgs to land the haymakers that broke open a close game in the third quarter. Stafford hit Green on a 49-yard touchdown play to turn a 24-17 halftime lead into a 31-17 cushion. A short while later, Moreno needed just a small piece of daylight to scoot 68 yards with the home-run play that broke LSU's back. Already blessed with the sharper and superior assortment of skill-position performers, Georgia—for all its injuries—found the level of line play that facilitated its second-half surge, a tidal wave of touchdowns that overwhelmed the Tigers.

Everyone knew Georgia had the prime players on the edges and in the backfield coming into this contest. The difference in this display of Dawg domination lay in the fact that an overachieving O-line found the strength and savvy needed to protect its law-firm trio of Moreno, Stafford and Green. If this offensive line can block Florida's front seven with the same degree of dexterity next week in Jacksonville, this bunch of Bulldogs will win the SEC East, and stay in the hunt for a spot in the BCS Championship Game.

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