To stop the LSU running attack with their five-headed monster that features running backs Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard, along with quarterback Jordan Jefferson’s option attack, you have to be men against the run…not just boys.
LSU features the pounders in Ware and Hilliard and then the speed and slashers of Blue and Ford. This is the perfect combination, and it is one of the main reasons LSU is sitting at No. 1 in the country and looking at a goose egg in the ‘Loss’ column.
Then, when you have accounted for the running backs, you have to then account for Jefferson in the option attack.
These LSU Tigers are not your daddy’s LSU Tigers. There is more depth in this running attack than I’ve ever seen. Any one of those four running backs could start at nearly every SEC school right now.
However, Georgia just might have the perfect recipe to stop the ground attack. The Bulldogs have been stout against the run this season, as they are the third best team in the SEC in stopping the run, allowing only 94.8 yards per game. But the Bulldogs have not played SEC-leading rushing attacks of Alabama (219.8 yards per game) or LSU (215.8 yards per game) yet.
In Georgia’s only loss, South Carolina ran for 253 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Lattimore went for 176 yards and one touchdown. He ran right through this defense.
South Carolina had one runner to account for – LSU has five. The Tigers have the ability to ground and pound, all the while keeping every single one of them fresh for late in the football game.
In Georgia’s matchups with teams that can run the football – Boise State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt (yes, I know!) and Georgia Tech – they gave up over 200 yards per game on the ground. Two of those games – Boise State and South Carolina – were losses.
So, it all comes down to Todd Grantham’s defense and their ability to control the line of scrimmage and get into the Tigers’ backfield to disrupt the timing of the running plays.
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones likes the way his team matches up with their physicality when compared to LSU’s:
“We’re physical, just like they are. I believe we’ve just got to penetrate, get on the ball, make plays. When we get our hand on them, we’ve just got to bring it to the ground no matter what.”
Jones, along with his teammates, have lived in the backfield this year. Georgia is ranked 12th nationally and first in the SEC at getting tackles-for-loss, with 91 total.
This defense is underrated, but I’m not so sure LSU doesn’t ‘Ware’ them down late in the game.
This is the biggest matchup – Georgia’s run defense against LSU’s rushing attack – in the SEC Championship. Be sure to keep an eye on this matchup Saturday.