LSU vs. Georgia: 10 Things We Learned from the Tigers' Loss
In a 44-41 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, the LSU Tigers learned that their offense can match score-for-score with any offense in the country.
LSU also learned that its defense needs serious tinkering. Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs' aerial attack revealed several weaknesses.
In what was the best college game so far this season, here's what we learned about LSU in an instant classic with Georgia.
Zach Mettenberger Is Game
First, let's talk bright spots.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger rose to the occasion Saturday.
He passed for 372 yards and three touchdowns while leading his team back time after time after time.
The moment wasn't too big for Mettenberger. In fact, whenever the game was on the line and he dropped back, there was a calm, reassuring feeling. After his performance, Mettenberger has already thrown more touchdowns in 2013 than he did in 2012. There's no denying he's a premier quarterback in the SEC.
The Defense Needs Serious Work
Is this the same LSU that used to call itself "DBU"?
So far this season, the Tigers look far from it. Georgia might be one of the best offenses in the league, but there's no reason any LSU team should give up more than 300 total yards in the first half.
Quarterback Aaron Murray passed all over the defense, while running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall put in the ground work.
By the end of the game, LSU had given up 494 total yards as a result of not getting pressure on Murray, failing to cover receivers and playing soft defense toward the end of the game.
Kadron Boone Can Be the Tigers' Third Receiver
Oh, there you are Kadron Boone.
After only one catch this season for 13 yards, Boone had two touchdown receptions in the first quarter for LSU.
He proved to be a deep threat for Mettenberger early, which took some pressure off of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.
Though Travin Dural was expected to emerge as the No. 3 guy, Boone proved once again that he can show up in big moments. Say hello to your No. 3 LSU receiver.
LSU's Offense Will Have to Carry the Defense
Thank the Lord offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came to Baton Rouge.
This season could have been a disaster if LSU's offense didn't have the scheme to back up the firepower on the field.
Instead of defensive coordinator John Chavis shining for the Tigers, it's Cameron that's doing so through five games, and after this terrible defensive performance, Cameron and the offense will have to carry the Tigers moving forward.
The offense continued to blossom with another impressive performance, totaling 449 yards against Georgia's defense.
John Chavis Needs to Re-Evaluate His Late-Game Calls
What exactly was "The Chief" thinking?
With roughly four minutes left in the game, LSU's offense gave Chavis' defense the lead. What scheme did he employ?
Well, he decided to play a prevent defense that opened the door for Murray and Georgia to nickel-and-dime their way down the football field.
The Bulldogs eventually scored the game-winning touchdown on the drive, leaving LSU fans scratching their heads at Chavis' mind-boggling decision.
Jarvis Landry Is the Best Receiver in the Country
He's the best.
When Jarvis Landry made a diving catch that set up an eventual touchdown run, all doubt went out of the window.
On a consistent basis, Landry makes jaw-dropping catches that give a spark to his offense.
With over 150 yards receiving and a touchdown reception on yet another big stage, he tied a school record, scoring a touchdown in his seventh straight game. With Beckham complementing him, Landry has emerged as the nation's most consistent receiving target.
Special Teams Is the Difference Between Winning and Losing
Odell Beckham's muffed punt was more than costly.
After the Tigers stopped Georgia's offense and were going to receive the ball with a chance to take the lead in the second half, Beckham mishandled a punt and gave Georgia great field position for a score.
That was LSU's bad. The other storyline of the night involving special teams was an incredible field goal made by Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan.
He hit a 55-yarder, and it just so happened that LSU lost the game by three points. Special teams is just as vital as offense and defense, and it was the difference between winning and losing for the Tigers.
The Tigers Have a Lot to Build On
It's not just gloom and doom for LSU.
You can learn a lot more in a loss than you can in victory, and though LSU has plenty to work on, it also has some nice things to build off of.
For instance, LSU's three-headed monster in Mettenberger, Beckham and Landry looks like its here to stay. Mettenberger scorched Georgia's defense through the air while setting up easy touchdown runs for running backs Kenny Hilliard and Jeremy Hill.
This offense isn't just a flash in the pan. Instead, it's a unit capable of competing with any team in the country.
Offensive Line Needs Work
LSU's offensive line was bullied in the first half and fourth quarter.
Early in the ballgame, the line failed to get a push upfront, posting only 13 rushing yards in the first half. Not very LSU-esque, right?
Later in the game, the Tigers failed to pick up a twist and lost one-on-one matchups that saw Georgia defenders plant Mettenberger into the ground.
The hogmollies up-front need to re-establish their dominance in the upcoming SEC matchup against Mississippi State.
The Tigers Might Not Have Seen the Last of Georgia
Georgia is clearly the best team in the SEC East, but is LSU the best in the West?
One would hesitate to say so after LSU's defense was gutted by Georgia's offense, but let's not sleep on LSU's offense.
Though the Tigers' defensive play has been shaky so far, it does match up well against Texas A&M with the speed it has at linebacker.
And with LSU's offense playing as well as it is and Alabama's offense dragging along in 2013, that game could be a tossup. The moral of the story is that LSU is far from out of its SEC West race, and if it can defeat its SEC West foes, a rematch with Georgia is inevitable.