Final: LSU 42, Georgia 10
December, 3, 2011
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
ATLANTA -- LSU has taken the SEC title and is headed to the national championship with its 42-10 win over Georgia. Here is the instant analysis:
How the game was won: After LSU showed the country how to not play offense in the first half, it rebounded in the second to go on one of its patented runs. Things started with Tyrann Mathieu's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, and ended with LSU just wearing down and laying a beating on Georgia's rush defense. LSU ran for 203 yards in the second half, scoring three rushing touchdowns in the process. LSU's defense also smothered Georgia after the first quarter. The Bulldogs gained 134 yards in the first quarter, but finished with 296 and turned the ball over three times.
Turning point: LSU had no life until Mathieu's return in the second quarter to make it 10-7 Georgia. The play shouldn't have been ruled a touchdown, as video evidence showed Mathieu pitched the ball to the referee before he crossed the goal line. The ball looked like it went through the end zone, so Georgia should have gotten the ball back. The play was never reviewed and LSU scored 42 straight points and sucked the life out of Georgia.
Player of the game: When LSU needed a big play on special teams, Mathieu delivered with the touchdown. On Georgia's first drive of the third quarter, Mathieu recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs' 27-yard line and set up the Tigers' second touchdown of the game. After a quick three-and-out, Mathieu returned a punt for 47 yards that led to LSU's third score. He also disrupted Georgia's passing game with blitzes and by blanketing receivers.
Unsung hero of the game: With a first half consumed with atrocious offense from LSU's side, the player who made sure Georgia didn't get into good position to score was LSU punter Brad Wing. He punted the ball seven times in the first half and averaged 54.1 yards per kick, including a long of 67 yards. He pinned Georgia inside its 20 once and the Bulldogs recorded zero yards on four returns.
What it means: LSU will now play for the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, and it will likely do so against Alabama, which the Tigers beat 9-6 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., earlier this year. LSU is now 13-0 for the first time in school history and will compete for its second national title in five years. Georgia is now most likely headed to the Outback Bowl.