Rapid Reaction: Playoff bound! LSU crushes Georgia to win SEC championship, stake claim for No. 1 seed
Bayou Joe did it again.
Joe Burrow broke the SEC single-season record for TDs with his first scoring toss and broke Georgia’s heart with all the others.
Burrow finished with 4 TD passes — giving him 48 this season — as LSU hammered Georgia 37-10 to win the SEC championship and secure its first Playoff bid. The Tigers celebrated their first SEC title since 2011, when they also beat Georgia.
LSU will find out Sunday whether it is the No. 1 seed or stay at No. 2. Georgia, which fell to 11-2, still is very much in play for a New Year’s 6 bowl game.
LSU dominated Saturday as it has all season — on the strength of Burrow’s right arm.
Looking every bit like a Heisman winner and potential No. 1 overall draft pick, Burrow and Co. hung 37 points on a Georgia defense that hadn’t allowed anybody else more than 20. He finished with 349 yards and the 4 scores.
Burrow threw 2 TD passes as the Tigers jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Burrow was 9-for-10 in the opening frame for 123 yards. Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr Chase each had a TD catch.
LSU missed a chance to make it 21-3 when Marshall dropped a deep ball that would have resulted in a 71-yard TD. Instead, LSU punted.
Georgia’s offense, in contrast, misfired from the opening play, when Tyler Simmons dropped a well-enough placed bomb from Jake Fromm. The Dawgs, already without Lawrence Cager and George Pickens (for a half) then lost Dominick Blaylock to a leg injury. D’Andre Swift was limited, at best.
Already a challenging task to match LSU’s pace became more difficult.
And then Grant Delpit delivered the knockout blow.
Coming untouched on a blitz, Delpit crushed Fromm, who crumpled awkwardly and limped off with an ankle injury. Fromm returned on the next series, but that drive ended when Derek Stingley Jr. intercepted an underthrown ball near the sideline.
The margin grew big, but Georgia’s defense lived up to its statistical billing, especially early.
It frustrated LSU and forced field goals when the Tigers had usually ended drives with extra points.
The Tigers took a 20-7 lead on their opening drive of the 3rd quarter, but even that felt like a Georgia victory. LSU’s drive stalled after it had 1st-and-goal.
Whatever momentum Georgia might have had was temporary. After the Dawgs drove deep into LSU territory, Rodrigo Blankenship missed a field goal attempt — his 2nd miss of the day.
Then Burrow turned in his Heisman moment, a play that LSU fans will remember forever.
Nearly sacked, twice, he eluded at least 4 Georgia defenders, raced to his right and hit Justin Jefferson, who eluded a pair of Dawgs on his own for a 71-yard gain.
LSU had 1st-and-goal again at the 9.
Burrow delivered the dagger — his 3rd TD pass — on a 4-yard slant to Marshall to make it 27-3.
Stingley promptly picked off Fromm’s next throw — jumping his trademark short out route — to set up a short field. Three plays later, Burrow hit Jefferson to make it 34-3.
The Playoff selection committee will meet, discuss and debate tonight and into tomorrow morning.
It shouldn’t take that long.
LSU stated its case to be No. 1 Saturday. Just as it has all season.
There isn’t a more deserving or dangerous team in all the land.