Georgia-LSU: One of the most thrilling days ever Between the Hedges

Freshman J.J. Green had one of the day's biggest runs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Freshman J.J. Green had one of the day's biggest runs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Georgia’s 44-41 win over LSU wasn’t just a thrilling game or an important victory for the Dogs.

It was a proud day for the Bulldog Nation, too. I’ve been going to Georgia football games for 50 years and I can say without hesitation that was the loudest I’ve ever heard Sanford Stadium from first kickoff to final whistle. On that last futile drive by LSU, particularly the fourth-down incompletion, the place was literally vibrating with a decibel level that must have approached that of a jet engine.

A spine-tingling moment that never will be forgotten by the fans who were there.

Overall, from “GameDay” on the Myers quad to the terrific “Awaken the Nation” pregame video to the team coming back out on the field 10 minutes after they’d gone to the locker room to celebrate some more, it was one of the most electrifying game day atmospheres imaginable. And thanks to the “redout” and the fact that a free red shaker was provided on every seat, it also was the reddest I’ve ever seen that stadium. A magnificent sight for the national TV audience.

It was a pretty entertaining football game, too, featuring two high-powered offenses and the much anticipated quarterback duel between former roommates Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger.

Zach Mettenberger played a terrific game but lost out again in Athens Saturday. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Zach Mettenberger played a terrific game but lost out again in Athens Saturday. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Mettenberger is an extremely talented QB and he played a whale of a game Saturday, making one key pass after another, and he and his big arm are no doubt going to get plenty of playing time on Sundays. But the game wound up encapsulating the former Bulldog’s career in Athens — no matter how good he was, Murray came out on top.

And for the second time in a month, Murray led the Dogs to victory in one of those “big” games that his detractors had declared him incapable of winning.

Statistically, Murray and Mettenberger were pretty close, except in yardage, where Mett ruled.

Murray completed 20 of 34 for 298 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another. And he had several passes dropped by receivers. Of course, he also got away with a couple of ill-advised balls thrown into heavy coverage that went incomplete but could have been picked off. Early on, one pass was intercepted.

Mett, meanwhile, completed 23 of 37 for 372 yards and three TDs, but he also threw several passes that could have been picked off except the young Georgia defenders never broke on the ball. A learning experience, I think they call that.

Still, it was the kind of game fans of college quarterbacks absolutely love. With neither team excelling on the defensive side, the back-and-forth scoring was like a tennis match on center court at Wimbledon.

Actually, the day wasn’t a complete wash-out for Georgia’s green defense. While Todd Grantham didn’t call his best game — no pressure on Mettenberger allowed him to complete a key third-and-22 pass on the Tigers’ last scoring drive — and the Dogs’ inexperience showed in the secondary, the much-maligned Bulldog run defense actually had a pretty good day. LSU was held to just 13 yards running in the first half, and while they got back on track somewhat in the third quarter, the Tigers still wound up with only 77 yards rushing on the day.

Meanwhile, Georgia persevered even after losing star tailback Todd Gurley in the first half (who at that point already had 73 yards on eight carries for an average of 9.1 yards per run). Keith Marshall stepped up big-time with his 96 yards on 20 carries. But there probably wasn’t a more important run Saturday than fourth-string freshman back J.J. Green’s 18-yard scamper on the Dogs’ final, game-winning drive.

And let’s not forget Mike Bobo, who generally called a terrific game.

Mark Richt salutes the sea of red after Saturday's big win over LSU. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Mark Richt salutes the sea of red after Saturday's big win over LSU. (Jason Getz / AJC)

However, with 1:47 remaining on the clock, there was the fear among many fans in my section that Georgia had scored too quickly and left too much time for Mettenberger to bring them back. After all, LSU was a phenomenal 10 out of 15 on third-down conversions, which should send Grantham and his staff back to the drawing board this week.

But the Tigers were unsuccessful on their one attempt at making it on fourth down. And that was the one that really mattered. Georgia’s D might not have been very good, but they were good enough. In the end, they got the big stop. And LSU didn’t.

And, thanks to CBS, the roar from Sanford Stadium was heard across the country.

Awaken the nation, indeed.

A great day to be a Georgia Bulldog …

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

191 comments Add your comment

ClemsonDawg

September 28th, 2013
10:19 pm

I should have been there… Go Dawgs!

Dawgs On Top

September 28th, 2013
10:19 pm

Electric atmosphere in Sanford Stadium today, wow what a game!

I would have to think the big-time recruits visiting like Lorenzo Carter & McMillan had to be impressed with the Dawgs, crowd and atmosphere!

dawggirl

September 28th, 2013
10:20 pm

So happy and so proud. I will have to rewatch the game to really enjoy the win, because I was just too nervous. Worried about Gurley, hope he isn’t gone for too long. Murray was awesome, especially on the first drive and the last drive. I’ll worry about the defense tomorrow (Scarlett O’Hara). Go Dawgs!

HistoryofMatt

September 28th, 2013
10:25 pm

I usually hate hype videos. They’re mostly garbage, set to horrible rap music.

But this video, set to what’s a pretty fantastic queue from Han Zimmer’s very good Man of Steel score gives me goosebumps, from the opening piano notes until the grafted-on Redcoat Band Trumpeter belting out those first notes to the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation.

Perfection in every way.

Much like this game. Such a great game.

As far as all the idiot pundits like Pat Forde and such making cracks about, “I thought the SEC was supposed to play defense,” on twitter, I’m a little sick of the lack of logic on their parts. I guess logic doesn’t sell papers, but it’s fairly obvious what’s going on: the SEC’s bet teams sent a record number of junior & senior defenders into the NFL draft last year.

We’re all YOUNG right now.

Honestly… looking at UGA, LSU, and Bama this year on D, NEXT year is the year we’ll all be great.

So watch out.

ShowMeYurTD's

September 28th, 2013
10:34 pm

We want Bama, we want Bama! Great game, proud of everybody!

drbasic1

September 28th, 2013
10:35 pm

ATTENTION: Bulldawg35
Flat tire dweeb
Bootylicious or bubba licious or whatever you hillbilly name is
The buckeye boys

Kiss my bottom! You negative losers can find another blog that gives a squat to your dribble…oh never mind, you won’t be found for a few days……….hey bdawg35, how that mett thing working out for you now?? Don’t give a cuss about Murray and record …..bwahahahahaha

Fay

September 28th, 2013
10:54 pm

This is a great post, Mr. King. Really well written. I was there today, and I really will never forget that exact moment you mentioned. Go Dawgs!

Fidlin1

September 28th, 2013
11:05 pm

When you’re on a blog after a big Georgia win it’s like turning on the lights and watching the roaches scurry out of sight.. Where are all the haters, and who cares? GO DOGS! WOOFWOOF!!.

TheMonger

September 28th, 2013
11:10 pm

The best moment for a Georgia fan was watching the LSU safety throw his hands up in the air and look up after Murray’s 3rd TD pass to Michael Bennett. It was like a baby crying for help and looking desperately towards his mother not knowing what to do….LOL. GO DAWGS!!!!!

ColumboDawg

September 28th, 2013
11:13 pm

This was an Ali/Frazier type of game. Truely awesome!

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 28th, 2013
11:17 pm

I told you so!

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 28th, 2013
11:19 pm

Great win for the Dawgs – congrats. It took a team effort.

This one hurt Less Miles and he gave UGA little credit – blaming it all on his poor defense.

Poor loser!

7576DAWG

September 28th, 2013
11:24 pm

I’m exhausted, I’m going to bed.

Topp Dogg

September 28th, 2013
11:24 pm

One game at a time boys WOOF WOOF WOOF

Bob

September 28th, 2013
11:31 pm

What a game…..not to grip about a great win, but what was with the Refs and not calling Pass interference….LSU was mugging our guys all day, and I do mean mugging…..cost us a couple of drives in the first half or we would have pulled away a bit then….just a stellar performance to over come the Refs and LSU….

AJ

September 28th, 2013
11:39 pm

Where’s the dope from OSU? Oh forgot, they played another lowly ranked team and almost lost.

Creativity Dawg

September 28th, 2013
11:45 pm

Great Dawg WIN!!!!! Flar-Duh…True Dawgs enjoy our win and dont give a S%^3 bout Les!

Creativity Dawg

September 28th, 2013
11:52 pm

Great article Bill!….All LSU fans went home….and your Dawg haters can’t complain bout em!!! They’ll surface as Bama fans or will love Dawgs again…

Hairy Dawg

September 29th, 2013
12:01 am

Great win! And Coach Richt did it all while more Christian. That proof how Dawgs is best and deserves BCS title. We beat LUSer Bungle Tigers like they was sorry. They could’nt stop Aarron Murray if they line up 15 a there boys on D against 11 UGA men. That was a great win between hedgse to put Les in his place. Them west teams now see Dawgs is for real and will expose west in Dome this year.

Go Dawgs!

Roswell Dawg

September 29th, 2013
12:20 am

Definitely one of the two or three best games ever in Sanford Stadium. Great to see the players back on the field hitting high fives with the crowd after they went to the locker room. A truly awesome day in Athens from watching the band practice this morning, Game Day at Myers, Dawg Walk, and post-game with the band and players. Busting with pride. Once a DAWG, always a DAWG, How Sweet It Is!

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
12:30 am

So, Mettenberger won the Qb battle, but lost the game.

Imagine, the Qb who has the highest qbr rating in the game, wins 85% of the time. And Mett\s Qbr in this game was of course higher than Murray’s.

Mett outplayed Murray, but it wasn’t enough.

Murray got a stop from his defense, but Mettenberger converted so many 3rd downs, I’ve never seen a qb that clutch on 3rd downs.

Murray only converted 4 3rd downs all night, Mett converted 10.

Murray threw a pick, met did not.

But the UGA defense stopped the run, and got a stop to end the game.

Since Murray never accepted any blame for the losses, Murray can’t take the credit for the win.

Since the defense got blamed for the losses, the defense gets the credit for the win.

Great job UGA defense.

Even though Mettenberger played out of his mind, and won the qbr qb battle, UGA somehow won the game.

And that only happens 15% of the time when a qb loses the qbr battle, yet wins the game.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
12:33 am

By the way, both qb’s finished in the top 10 qbr for best games of the week nationally.

Mett had an 86 qbr rating, Murray finished with a superb 82 qbr.

What a duel.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
12:37 am

UGA Oline protected Murray better than the LSU OLine protected Mettenberger, especially on both’s last dirve.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
12:38 am

Game ball to UGA defensive line for stopping the run and getting the final stop.

Other game ball to UGA oline.

This one was won in the trenches.

RED DOG 77

September 29th, 2013
12:45 am

I told you so too………….and have been tellin’ you all for some time. Question: wonder what all those big time recruits think about being a DAWG now?………….Quite a few *s were at the game today.

Eric C.

September 29th, 2013
12:56 am

Bill, excellent commentary!

The play of the game was that incredible pass 33 yd pass to Conley on 3rd and 9 in UGA’s first drive of the second half…the defender was hanging all over Conley and Murray placed it perfectly. LSU had just kicked a FG and the Dawgs were in danger of going 3 and out…there was a sort of stale feeling to the Dawgs’ approach at that point…but that perfect pass to Conley got things going again. Sure, the LSU defense is young, but perfect throws like that are hard for the toughest of defenses to defend.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:01 am

Play of the game was the UGA Dline sack, can’t remember who it was, but that pretty much put LSU so far behind the 8 ball.

LSU had a tough problem handling the UGA dline all night, 4 sacks, a lot of qb hurries, and less than 100 yards rushing from LSU’s excellent running backs.

GoDawgs

September 29th, 2013
1:02 am

However, with 1:47 remaining on the clock, there was the fear among many fans in my section that Georgia had scored too quickly and left too much time for Mettenberger to bring them back.

And a fear among many fans sitting in front of TV screens. That was a heart attack game.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:10 am

It was poor clock management by Richt & Bobo to score with so much time on the clock, reminiscent of the Willie Martinez years when Bobo would score quick to put the blame back on Willie for the loss. Not a real team oriented management of the clock.

Did it look like LSU let UGA score to get the ball back, like GT did to UGA a while back? I ask because 2 receivers were wide open and well behind the defense If so, it was a smart strategy by LSU, and a dumb move by UGA.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:12 am

Murray was pedestrian most of the night, until the last drive, he was 15 for 30. Mett was 23 for 33 until the last drive for LSU.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:16 am

UGA Special teams also won their duel against LSU special teams.

Special Teams- UGA
Defense- UGA
Offense- LSU

Ga. Girl

September 29th, 2013
1:17 am

Enter your comments hereFedoraFred–Don’t know what game you were watching—–complete idiot!

Eric C.

September 29th, 2013
1:20 am

FedoraFred, I thought the 4 and 10 QB hurry was much bigger than the sack. Murray wasn’t at his best, but i’m not sure how you can say he was “pedestrian” most of the game when he had 5 TDs.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:22 am

LSU’s offense was unstoppable most of the night, until the last drive when they became too 1 dimensional and predictible, 10 for 15 on 3rd downs, won time of possession, Mett outhrew Murray by almost 100 yards.

Mett had a better qbr, more yards, more yards per pass, no turnovers.
Murray has more td’s.

Eric C.

September 29th, 2013
1:23 am

FedoraFred, we all know about the “let the other team score so we can get the ball back trick,” but seriously…do you really think LSU intentionally let UGA score when they had a 4 point lead???

Also, I actually thought the coaching staff and Murray handled the clock-burning better than they have in the past.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:24 am

Mett beat Murray in 5 out of 6 categories:
accuracy, yards, yards per pass, turnovers, qbr.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:25 am

I think it’s quite possible LSU let UGA score on the final score to get the ball back, Miles said he thought UGA “scored too soon” and “made a mistake by leaving too much time on the clock”.

Eric C.

September 29th, 2013
1:27 am

UGA did something I didn’t think they could do against LSU…they showed superiority on both lines. The rushing game went to UGA by a land-slide.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:29 am

The UGA Oline did the unthinkable, gave up 0 sacks, and won the rushing battle handily.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:30 am

UGA Dline got 4 sacks, and held LSU to under 100 yards rushing.

Eric C.

September 29th, 2013
1:30 am

If the game is tied, or if LSU leads by one or two points…I can see why they would do that because UGA would only need a FG to win in that case. However, with a 4 point lead, intentionally giving up a TD absolutely makes no sense. And judging by the reaction of the LSU secondary, that was not the intention.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:32 am

LSU only threw at UGA DB Langley once all night. Considering how Clemson burned Langley for 3 td’s, thought LSU made an error there in their strategy.

FedoraFred

September 29th, 2013
1:37 am

Rare to win a game where you give up 370+ passing yards, 40+ points, and 10 3rd down conversions.

Turnover by punt return cost LSU dearly. But Connor Norman made an alert recovery.

drbasic1

September 29th, 2013
1:58 am

@Fedora freddy

do you really think someone gives a crap what you think? Stats are for losers remember?
Get a life dude!

CHDawg

September 29th, 2013
6:01 am

Great column, Bill. Great win Dawgs. Our O line played an incredible game. Murray was Murray. He should end up with most of the records in the SEC QB book, and it isn’t surprising. If the line had blocked like that for the last four years, he would have had them all last year. He is phenomenal. Marshall is a great RB. Gurley is quickly becoming a Georgia legend! Receivers–great game! How many times have we seen receivers drop balls in the past. Even with the weird rules the refs used (tackling before the ball arrives OK) they played awesome! (I’m not whining, they let our guys do it, too). The front 7 on the D played great, their best game of the year by far. At times, our secondary looked like the average age was less than some high schools–never seen so many freshmen. They have heart and ability. They need a lot of coaching and experience. All things work together for good…and Mett had a great day, just coming up short. LSU fought valiantly. Great game to watch.

ZinoDawg

September 29th, 2013
6:30 am

Greatest game ever. Loudest crowd I have ever been apart of.

My voice is gone but the memories of that great day will linger forever. Glad I was there with my 2 boys.

Go Dawgs!

beanster

September 29th, 2013
6:35 am

Some of y’all owe Marshall Morgan an apology. Wonder why he is the starting PK anymore? That kick would have been good from 60+.

Love the dawgs

September 29th, 2013
6:36 am

I Fedora Fred really Bill King?

Jabberwock

September 29th, 2013
7:01 am

“I think it’s quite possible LSU let UGA score on the final score to get the ball back, Miles said he thought UGA “scored too soon” and “made a mistake by leaving too much time on the clock”.

@ Fedora Fred – Um, wasn’t LSU already winning when UGA started the final drive? I guess Miles was thinking *We have the game won if we can stop UGA. Let’s let Murray drive the team 75 yards, but do it quickly so we can get the ball back and drive 70 to win the game or at least force overtime.

Uh huh, sure.

Senator Blutosky

September 29th, 2013
7:15 am

fedora fred is actually a gt or ohio university fan,