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LSU offense vs. Georgia defense
We have seen too much of the Tigers under Les Miles to think that the offense is going to try anything out of the ordinary. LSU is built on being more physical at the point off attack than its opponent and taking shots down field off the play action. Expect them to do more of the same against a Georgia defense that has struggled at times to stop the run this season. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will want to get his talented wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, going as early as possible so expect the Tigers to try and establish the run quickly. That will allow Zach Mettenberger to settle in and get into a rhythm within the offense. If Cameron is able to find some success with the run and the play action pass off of the run early, it could be a very long day for Georgia. If Georgia is able to slow the LSU run game down and Cameron has to turn to Mettenberger to move the chains with his arm in third and medium long situations, the UGA defense could be setting pretty.
LSU defense vs. Georgia offense
With an offense as balanced and dynamic as Georgia's there really is only one way to truly attack it. LSU will work hard early on to stop Georgia's run game. Expect the Tigers to go back and forth with sliding that extra man down into the box, and when that happens, expect them to defend the run on the way to the quarterback with some pressure up the middle to rattle Aaron Murray. As the game wears one, LSU's hope will be that Georgia has become one-dimensional and reliant on the pass. If that happens, defensive coordinator John Chavis will turn up the heat and try to force Murray into some mistakes that will give the Tigers all the momentum. If LSU isn't able to turn Georgia into a one-dimensional attack, then the Tiger offense will have to pick up the slack by scoring a lot of points.
Georgia offense vs LSU defense
Unlike in years past, this LSU defense is vulnerable in spots. Georgia doesn't have to choose a run or pass heavy plan. Expect Georgia to run its offense early with a concentration on exploiting the middle of the field. Expect the running backs and tight ends to get involved right away in the passing game with an up tempo attack. LSU showed against Auburn that it could be worn down by an offense that is willing to go with tempo and attack the middle of the field. If Georgia is able to get on the board early, expect offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to do one of two things. He will either open it up and try to hit the big play on the Tiger defense or he will decide to pound the football to get Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall going. LSU's defense, like Georgia's, will struggled to keep points off the board if opponent's run game is finding consistent success. If Georgia is having minimal success with the run, expect a move to more of a spread shotgun attack to get things going with the pass.
Georgia defense vs. LSU offense
This is the biggest matchup of the game in our opinion. Georgia doesn't have to shut LSU down. That is a very difficult and almost unlikely task because of the talent the Tigers possess on that side of the ball. Georgia does, however, have to limit big plays. LSU wants to go one of three places with the football. Cameron wants to hand it off, throw it to Landry, or throw it to Beckham. If Georgia has trouble slowing two of those three things down, it will be tough to win. As we have mentioned this week, LSU's identity in the run game is to pound teams with a fullback and a tight. That personnel grouping allows Georgia to run its base 3-4 set and get a bigger, more physical defensive players on the field. Can that group slow down Jeremy Hill and company? It is hard to say but we believe UGA's chances are better out of the 3-4 than their nickel set. If the Bulldogs can win first down consistently, expect them to turn Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd loose on the edge to get to the quarterback. Also expect some pressure up the middle to make Mettenberger move his feet in the pocket.
This is an extremely interesting game that features two of the best quarterbacks and running backs in the best conference in the country. With that said, there are a number of things that work in LSU's favor. The Tigers are facing a Georgia defense that has had trouble stopping the run. LSU has a couple of big play threats to turn to in order to quiet the crowd at Sanford Stadium. But we believe Georgia has some things in its favor as well. This will be LSU's first road game of the season and first game against a top 10 opponent. This will be Georgia's third against this such an opponent. There is no denying that the pressure will be on Mettenberger for a homecoming of sorts. The Oconee County product will likely have to make a play, on the road, to win this game for LSU. In the end, Both teams start fast on offense before the defenses settle in a bit. As the game goes along, we expect Murray and Gurley to make more plays than Mettenberger and Hill. Georgia 31 LSU 27.
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