Game of the Week: No. 6 LSU vs. No. 9 Georgia

Story posted September 27, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Aaron Carr

Each week ComRadio staff writer Aaron Carr will highlight a matchup in college football that he considers to be the “Game of the Week.” If you’re going to enjoy some college football action then this is the ONE contest that you do not want to miss. Carr’s “Game of the Week” selection for Week 5 of the college football season comes to you live from Athens, Ga., as the Bulldogs try to topple yet another top-ranked SEC foe.

The Game: No. 6 LSU vs. No. 9 Georgia

At some point the Georgia Bulldogs need to speak up and say enough is enough. Crying uncle, throwing in the towel and tapping out would be viable options for a team that will play its third game against a Top-10 opponent to begin the season. With its date against #6 LSU on Saturday, Georgia will become just the fourth team in the BCS era to face three opponents ranked in the Top 10 in its first four games.

In week one the ‘Dawgs were narrowly defeated by then #8 Clemson, 38-35, but then came back to beat then #6 South Carolina, 41-30 the following week. Last week Georgia finally caught a break in the schedule and easily ran past North Texas 45-21, behind Aaron Murray’s 408 passing yards and three TD passes.

If Georgia had beaten Clemson, even by the same 3-point margin of victory that Clemson had, we’re talking about a definite Top 5 team here in the Bulldogs. Clemson is currently sitting at #3 and Georgia could very easily be occupying that spot if they had beaten Clemson. Too bad for the Bulldogs, I don’t deal with “what ifs” or “hey this could’ve happened instead” or things of that nature. I deal with the facts.

The fact is…Georgia’s opening month from hell is about to freeze over. After running the absolute gauntlet during its first four games, the Dawgs have only one team currently ranked in the top 25 on its remaining schedule. That lone Top 25 team is #20 Florida, who just so happened to lose starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for the rest of the season after Driskel underwent surgery for a broken leg. Barring the absolute unforeseen, this is a Georgia team that should roll to the SEC title game with the greatest of ease, IF it can beat the visiting Tigers of LSU.

In my humble opinion, of which I have many, the sixth-ranked Tigers are the one team currently in the Top 10 that NO ONE is talking about. They are flying under the radar about as low as humanly possible. You hear NOTHING about them, which doesn’t bother the Tigers nor their head coach Les Miles, fondly referred to as “The Mad Hatter,” in the slightest. There may not be a better nickname in all of sports, and there definitely isn’t one that fits an individual as well as this one.

Miles has always been and always will be a riverboat gambler, a risk taker, a go-for-broke type of guy, who shoots first and asks questions later. He’s not even sure most of the time what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, or what he just did. You may even catch him eating a blade of grass during a game while he’s roaming up and down the sidelines. Don’t let the clueless, grass-eating look fool you. Miles and his Tigers are in position to roar (insert Katy Perry joke here).

LSU hasn’t run the early season gauntlet that its Saturday counterpart has. Not even remotely close. But it does have an impressive opening season victory over then #20 TCU, as well as a 35-21 victory over Auburn last Saturday. The primetime victory over Auburn, which wasn’t as close as the score would indicate, FINALLY got the national media buzzing about the potential of this Tigers team, led by senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Georgia fans, if you’re reading this article and recognize the name “Zach Mettenberger,” there’s no need to pinch yourselves. You should know exactly who this tall of drink of water is. Mettenberger exists in Georgia football lore for all the wrong reasons. After being a highly touted recruit of Georgia’s in the quarterback-loaded class of 2009, Mettenberger was forced to leave the program after he violated some team rules. The following April, Mettenberger plead guilty to two sexual misconduct charges that occurred in a bar in his home state of Georgia. After playing a season at Butler Community College, one in which he threw for 32 touchdowns as a starter, he transferred to LSU and the rest, as they say, is history.

The matchup within the matchup is of course Mettenberger vs. Murray. These two quarterbacks currently rank first and second in passer rating in the SEC with Murray (201.8) narrowly ahead of Mettenberger’s 193.6 passer rating. In the recruiting class of 2009, each was a Georgia recruit, with Murray ranked as the #3 quarterback in the class by ESPN and Mettenberger the ninth best. Former teammates, now adversaries, going head-to-head against one another always makes for interesting television.

Players to Watch:

QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU – The big fella certainly has something to prove in front of the pro-Bulldog crowd. After the way in which he traded in Georgia red for LSU yellow, all eyes will be on the 6’5” 230 pound senior. The Watkinsville, Georgia, native has looked like a legitimate Heisman contender through four games as he has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and sports a 10-1 touchdown to interception ratio.

OLB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia – For those of you who haven’t seen the video of Jenkins hurdling his teammate in practice, 5’11” running back Brendan Douglas, do yourself a solid and check it out. The sophomore from Hamilton, Ga., leads the Bulldogs defense with four tackles for loss after registering eight in a limited role last season. Still without a sack on the year, Jenkins will look to change that against an LSU offensive line that’s allowed four sacks in three games.

By The Numbers:

2009 The 2009 recruiting class was loaded with top quarterback prospects such as Murray and Mettenberger. A few others stars from the 2009 class: AJ McCarron, Tajh Boyd and current NFLers Geno Smith and Matt Barkley.

3 Since Mark Richt became the head coach at Georgia in 2001, Georgia and LSU have faced off in the SEC Championship game three times. No other matchup has occurred more often in that span than Georgia vs. LSU.

2 LSU currently has two receivers that rank in the top five in the SEC in receiving yards in Odell Beckham (389) and Jarvis Landry (364). The Tigers teammates rank third and fourth, respectively, in that category.

Aaron Carr is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email adc5230@psu.edu.