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First Impressions: LSU 41, UGA 44

Don't panic.

Didn't have to rub it in, man.
Didn't have to rub it in, man.
Scott Cunningham

First and foremost, that was a great football game. Sure, LSU couldn't play any semblance of defense and LSU's offense, which had been prolific all day, suddenly couldn't put together a marginally competent two minute drill. But really, that was a great game.

So let's get into what totally sucked about it.

LSU's defense passed terrible somewhere in the third quarter and landed squarely on incompetent in the fourth. LSU's secondary simply couldn't cover anyone all day long. Some of that is that Georgia is a pretty darn good offense, but some of those breakdowns in coverage were just painful to watch. It's one thing for the other team to make a great play, it's another thing when your defense just flat out blows the coverage repeatedly. Georgia made plays, but some of those plays were way too easy to make.

The big surprise of the game was that LSU could not generate any sort of pass rush all game, and Georgia could. We're going to get into all sort of analysis in the next few days, but really, it comes down to this. Aaron Murray had all day to throw, which made it even easier to tear apart our tissue paper secondary. Georgia didn't get a consistent pass rush, but they got enough of one to win the game, and they certainly got to Mettenberger on that final drive.

Georgia won this game on the lines, on both sides of the ball. For the first time since Miles arrived, we have to face this fact: this team is soft.

It's still a good team. Losing by 3 to a top ten team on the road is not an indictment. But if LSU is going to win games this year, it is going to win it through speed and finesse. This team just can't bring the hammer down and out-physical them. That's just not LSU football as we know it.

Before we get all panicky, LSU was a two minute drill away from winning this game. Heck, I felt good when Georgia scored with so much time on the clock, as it would the LSU offense time to move the ball. At that moment, you had to like LSU's chances to win the game in the classic "last team to have the ball, wins" sort of way. But the drive stalled, and we're left with questions instead of answers. That's how narrow the line is between defeat and victory.

However, an even bigger play in this game was the fumble on the punt return. LSU dominated the third quarter in the flow of play, but if you dominate the flow, it needs to show up on the scoreboard. Beckham's fumble made sure that it didn't. LSU started the third quarter down by seven, and ended it the same way, despite playing better than Georgia in that stretch. When Georgia severely outplayed LSU in the second quarter, the Dawgs turned a 7-point deficit into a 7-point lead. They turned their advantage into points.

LSU finally got the stop they needed, and then they fumbled it away. That's just the sort of game it was. Now, all LSU has to do is run the table and get a rematch in Georgia. Just saying. It looked bad, but it was a three point game. This season isn't over. Not by a longshot.