Is LSU's Jarrett Lee Ready for the Spotlight Once Again?

David GetzContributor IOctober 22, 2008

Last month was September. That was the month Georgia was supposed to cement their status as an elite team, and the month that was supposed to test Andrew Hatch as the starting quarterback of an SEC team.

Oddly enough, the Bulldogs were humbled by the Crimson Tide at home just seven days after redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee kicked his way into SEC play by leading a comeback against the 10th-ranked (at the time) Auburn Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium

This month is October. This is a month in which Georgia has recovered from the Alabama disaster by rallying for wins over Tennessee and a ranked Vanderbilt squad. This is the month the Auburn Tigers showed the nation how deep their offensive troubles truly run.

This is also the month that Jarrett Lee and the Tigers came crashing down to earth in the Swamp, as a speedy Florida Gator squad crushed the Tigers 51-21.

LSU was never really in the game, save for a moment in the third quarter when the Tigers trailed 20-14 and the Gators faced a crucial third down in their own territory. Tim Tebow plowed ahead for a first down, and the beatdown was on.

That leaves us with a battle in the bayou this Saturday between the LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs. This is a battle between two teams trying to fight the uphill battle toward the top of their respective divisions.

The winner of this game can still control their own destiny with wins over division leaders Florida and Alabama later in the season. But the time is now for Jarrett Lee's Tigers and Matt Stafford's Bulldogs.

Lee suffered many setbacks against the Gators. He did complete 23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. This doesn't count a touchdown pass he threw to the Gators when Brandon Spikes ran back an interception, his second of the night, for a game-sealing touchdown.

It's no secret the fast Florida defense pressured Lee into making quick decisions. Don't expect the stout Georgia defense to be light on the Tigers either.

In the Swamp, matters were not helped when Charles Scott was stifled early and often, forcing Lee to quickly use his arm to bring the Tigers back into the game, which he did for a brief moment. But what if the scenario repeats itself this Saturday in Tiger Stadium?

Florida's defense feasted on a one-dimensional Tiger offense. Lee's saving grace was the short passing game, something that has been effective for the Tigers thus far.

The Bulldog defense won't be any different for LSU to face. Georgia is currently eighth in the SEC in scoring defense at 17.7 points per game, but the Bulldogs only allow 270 yards of offense per game. Mark Richt's defense is also tops in the conference in rushing defense.

Even with LSU's rushing offense breaking through against South Carolina last week in a 24-17 Tiger victory, the task looms even larger this Saturday. Should Charles Scott, and the plethora of LSU running backs behind him, fail to find running room early, Lee will once again have a chance to take control of the passing game and attempt to lead the Tigers to victory.

This Saturday is Jarrett Lee's chance to shine and lead the Tigers into November controlling their own destiny in the Western Division of the SEC. While LSU has morphed into a running team, Lee must show he can win games with the help of a deep wide receiving corps, led by Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd.

The quarterback position for LSU this season will determine the Tigers' fate, whether it is a BCS Bowl berth or a date in Dallas or Atlanta for the Cotton or Chick-fil-A Bowls, respectively—and make no secret about it, Jarrett Lee is the quarterback who must win games for LSU this season.