During the 3rd quarter, UGA running back Kenny McIntosh runs into the end zone for Georgia's 6th touchdown of the night. The score put the Bulldogs up 42-17.
photo by @georgiafootball
The University of Georgia Bulldogs rounded out a 13-0 undefeated regular season by taking home the SEC football championship last Saturday evening. The title of “SEC champions” eluded the Bulldogs for five years until a 50-30 victory against the Tigers of Louisiana State University on Saturday.
The first 10 minutes of play offered a slow start, with both teams punting on their first drives of the game. The game broke loose after LSU’s Jayden Daniels led the Tigers on a 69 yard drive that LSU had to end with a field goal. The Bulldogs then blocked the attempt, allowing UGA senior safety Christopher Smith to return the live ball 96 yards for a touchdown. Smith’s return was uncontested by the Tigers, as the LSU field goal unit had not realized the ball was able to be returned.
“LSU’s incomprehension of the rules led to an early deficit,” said TKA sophomore and avid football fan Ian Fox. “It set the tone for the game as a whole and caused a huge momentum swing.”
LSU answered quickly, with Daniels throwing a 53 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. While many thought it was a signal of a close game to come, Georgia put the thoughts to bed, going on a 28-3 run to close the first half up 35-10. Despite normally being a run-first offense, all four touchdowns came through the air.
Although already dealing with an ankle injury, LSU’s Daniels managed to play the rest of the first half, throwing for 208 yards and a touchdown. But it later proved to be too much, leaving LSU coach Brian Kelly to start freshman backup Garrett Nussmeier, who proved effective.
“We dominated after their first drive, but they started coming after us with the long ball once the backup (Nussmeier) went in,” said senior Meri Gordon.
Nussmeier did pass for nearly 300 yards in the second half, but his late appearance and LSU’s lack of a running game proved to be too little to even the score. Their inability to run the ball was credited to Georgia junior defensive lineman Jalen Carter. Carter acquired two tackles for loss and one sack, limiting LSU to just 47 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
“Jalen Carter has most likely secured himself a high pick if he declares for the NFL draft,” said Fox. “From the middle of the trenches, he shut down any run game LSU might have had.”
Georgia ended the night with a 50-30 victory over the Tigers, winning their first SEC championship since their 2017 win over Auburn University. They now have a 13-0 undefeated record going into the postseason. The Bulldogs now look to their semifinal game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Peach bowl on December 31.
“They played this game like they played their entire season,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart in a postgame interview. “Unbelievably well at times, unbelievably poor at times and answered the call when they had to.”