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September 28, 2013

LSU-Georgia pre-game notebook

Most observers have Saturday's game between LSU and Georgia being a shootout with both teams putting up huge numbers. Beginning with the 2005 season when Les Miles became Tigers coach, they have played ten games in which both teams scored at least 30 points.

LSU has won six of those high-scoring games - 41-35 against Ole Miss in 2012, 43-36 against Ole Miss in 2010, 33-30 against Arkansas in 2009, 40-31 against Troy in 2008, 41-34 against Alabama in 2007 and 35-31 against Arizona State in 2005. The games against Alabama and Arizona State were on the road.

The four shootout losses were 31-30 against Arkansas in 2008, 52-38 against Georgia in 2008, 50-48 against Arkansas in 2007 and 43-37 against Kentucky in 2007. Both of the losses in 2007 came in overtime.

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With Miles as coach, the Tigers have been a .500 team playing on the road against top-ten teams. LSU has a 5-5 record in those games - 1-0 at Arkansas (Little Rock), 1-0 at Tennessee, 2-1 at Alabama, 1-2 at Auburn, and 0-2 at Florida. Georgia is ranked No. 9 in the country going into Saturday's game.

The Tigers have scored at least 30 points in the first four games of a season for the first time in 85 years. The 1928 team defeated Southwestern Louisiana 46-0, Louisiana College 41-0, Mississippi State 31-0 and Spring Hill 30-7. The 1911 team also broke the 30-point mark in each of its first four games.

For the first time, LSU has gained at least 400 yards in each of their first four games. The Tigers' 1,921 yards of total offense is their most after four games in 36 seasons. The 1977 team gained 1,950 yards in games against Indiana, Rice, Florida and Vanderbilt. LSU lost to Indiana and won the other three games.

Under coach Les Miles, the Tigers have an 18-8 record against Southeastern Conference Eastern Division teams in regular-season games. LSU has a 2-1 record against the SEC East under Miles in league title games - victories against Tennessee in 2007 and Georgia in 2011 and a loss to Georgia in 2005.

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Since Miles came to the Tigers, they have a 22-10 record in SEC road games. LSU has won seven of its eight conference road games the past two seasons with the lone loss coming against Florida last year. The Tigers have won 32 straight games in the months of August and September.

LSU will be facing Georgia for just the 30th time Saturday. The Tigers have a 16-12-1 record against the Bulldogs. LSU has a 7-6 record against Georgia in Athens.

Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry are tied with Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Texas A&M's Ben Malena for the SEC lead in points with 36. Hill is scoring 12 points per game - tops in the league. Odell Beckham leads the SEC in all-purpose yards with 790. Colby Delahoussaye leads in kick-scoring with 35 points.

Landry's 24 receptions are the most for a Tigers receiver in the first four games of a season in ten years. Michael Clayton had 25 receptions in the first four games in 2003. Landry is the first LSU receiver to catch a touchdown pass in each of the first four games of a season.

Mettenberger is on pace to throw the most touchdown passes and account for the most passing yardage in a season for a Tigers quarterback. Mettenberger has ten scoring passes and 1,026 passing yards in the first four games. Mettenberger is sixth nationally in pass efficiency rating (193.6).

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There are seven players on LSU's roster who played their high school football in Georgia - wide receiver Quantavius Leslie, offensive linemen Vadal Alexander and Andy Dodd, quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Mettenberger, fullback J.C. Copeland and long snapper Reid Ferguson.

For the eighth consecutive meeting between LSU and Georgia, both teams will be ranked in the top 25. It will be the tenth straight game with at least one of the teams ranked in the top ten.

Over the last ten seasons, the Tigers and Bulldogs are two of the three SEC teams who have appeared in a bowl every season. The third team is Florida. LSU and Georgia have made the most SEC title game appearances in this stretch with four.

The Bulldogs have a 41-20-1 record (.669) against SEC West teams in regular-season games. The Tigers have a 32-29-1 record (.524) against SEC East teams in regular-season games. Only Alabama has a better record (42-19-1, .685) against non-divisional opponents than Georgia.

The Bulldogs and the Tigers are the top two SEC teams in pass efficiency. Georgia has a 204.8 rating, while LSU has a 193.6 rating.

The Tigers and Bulldogs have split four games with Miles and Mark Richt as opposing coaches. LSU defeated Georgia in Athens during the 2009 regular season and in the 2011 SEC title game. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers in the 2005 SEC championship game and in Baton Rouge during the 2008 regular season.

Since Richt became Georgia coach in 2001, LSU is the only SEC team which has won more games than the Bulldogs. The Tigers have a 129-32 record, while Georgia has a 120-41 record in that time. Both schools have made 12 bowl appearances and finished in the top-25 11 times.

Only three active FBS coaches have a higher winning percentage than Richt (.745). Those three coaches are Ohio State's Urban Meyer (.838), Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (.804) and TCU's Gary Patterson (.755). Miles has a .736 winning percentage at Oklahoma State and LSU.

The Bulldogs have won 14 consecutive home games - the third longest such winning streak in school history. Georgia is trying to beat two top-10 teams at home in the same season for the first time. The Bulldogs beat then-No. 6 South Carolina 41-30 on Sept. 7.

Saturday's game will be the first between two top-ten teams at Sanford Stadium in five years. No. 8 Alabama defeated No. 3 Georgia 41-30 in 2008. Since 1942, the Bulldogs have defeated a top-ten team ten times.

Georgia has a 30-14 record in games started by Aaron Murray at quarterback. In the 30 victories, Murray has completed 66 percent of his passes with 81 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In the 14 losses, Murray has completed 54 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

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Murray is third all-time among SEC players in total offense with 11,352 yards. Florida's Tim Tebow is first with 12,232 yards. Murray has accounted for 113 touchdowns - third behind Tebow (145) and Florida's Danny Wuerffel (122). Murray is the SEC's active leader in pass completions with 755.

Murray is fifth among SEC quarterbacks in passing with 11,131 yards. He needs just 83 yards against LSU to move ahead of Georgia's Eric Zeier (11,153), Tennessee's Peyton Manning (11,201) and Florida's Chris Leak (11,213) into second place behind Georgia's David Greene (11,528).

Only Wuerffel has thrown more touchdown passes than Murray, who has 102. Wuerffel tossed 114 scoring passes. Todd Gurley is second among active SEC players in rushing touchdowns with 21. Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is first with 24 rushing touchdowns.

Murray is the active career leader among FBS schools in three categories - touchdown passes, total offense yardage and touchdowns rushing and passing. Murray is the only SEC quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.

Gurley leads the SEC in rushing yards per game at 125.7. Murray leads the conference in passing yards per game at 346.7 and pass efficiency with a 201.8 rating. Mettenberger is second with a rating of 193.6. Bulldogs linebacker Ramik Wilson is second in tackles per game with 10.3.

Georgia will start three true freshmen - outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, cornerback Brendan Langley and free safety Tray Matthews. Floyd has a team-high seven quarterback-hurries. Langley has made ten tackles with one pass breakup. Matthews has one interception and two pass breakups.

The LSU-Georgia game will be televised on CBS. The broadcasting crew will be Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter). CBS has televised the last seven games between the Tigers and the Bulldogs.

ESPN GameDay will be in Athens on Saturday. LSU has a 14-6 record in games from which ESPN GameDay has broadcast. Only five of those games have been on the opposition's campus. The Tigers have a 4-1 record in those games with the lone defeat coming at Florida in 2006.


Team statistical comparison

LSU points per game: 43.2
Georgia opponents points per game: 29.7

LSU rushing yards per game: 221.0
Georgia opponents rushing yards per game: 143.3

LSU passing yards per game: 259.2
Georgia opponents passing yards per game: 245.3

LSU pass completion percentage: 65
Georgia opponents pass completion percentage: 63

LSU turnovers: 5
Georgia opponents turnovers: 3

LSU sacks allowed: 4
Georgia sacks: 5

LSU red-zone touchdown percentage: 67 (14-of-21)
Georgia opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 70 (7-of-10)

Georgia points per game: 40.3
LSU opponents points per game: 19.5

Georgia rushing yards per game: 213.3
LSU opponents rushing yards per game: 136.2

Georgia passing yards per game: 360.7
LSU opponents passing yards per game: 173.8

Georgia pass completion percentage: 72
LSU opponents pass completion percentage: 53

Georgia turnovers: 4
LSU opponents turnovers: 6

Georgia sacks allowed: 6
LSU sacks: 7

Georgia red-zone touchdown percentage: 68 (13-of-19)
LSU opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 50 (6-of-12)


Individual statistical leaders

Rushing
LSU: Jeremy Hill - 42 carries, 351 yards, 6 touchdowns
Georgia: Todd Gurley - 63 carries, 377 yards, 4 touchdowns

Passing
LSU: Zach Mettenberger - 91 attempts, 59 completions, 1,026 yards, 10 touchdowns, 1 interception
Georgia: Aaron Murray - 82 attempts, 59 completions, 1,040 yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Receiving
LSU: Jarvis Landry - 24 catches, 364 yards, 6 touchdowns
Georgia: Justin Scott-Wesley - 10 catches, 234 yards, 1 touchdown; Chris Conley - 10 catches, 142 yards, 1 touchdown; Michael Bennett - 10 catches, 124 yards

Tackles
LSU: LB Lamin Barrow - 22
Georgia: LB Ramik Wilson - 31

Sacks
LSU: DE Jordan Allen - 2
Georgia: LB Leonard Floyd - 2

Interceptions
LSU: CB Jalen Mills - 2
Georgia: S Tray Matthews - 1

Punting
LSU: Jamie Keehn - 14 punts, 39.4-yard average
Georgia: Collin Barber - 11 punts, 47.9-yard average

Kicking
LSU: Colby Delahoussaye - 4-of-4 on FG, 23-of-23 on XP
Georgia: Patrick Beless - 2-of-2 on FG, 10-of-10 on XP

Kick returning
LSU: Odell Beckham - 7 kickoff returns, 190 yards; 6 punt returns, 78 yards
Georgia: Justin Scott-Wesley - 2 kickoff returns, 39 yards


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