Lunch with Coach O: LSU vs Georgia Preview

Lunch with Coach O: LSU vs Georgia Preview
LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU head coach Ed Orgeron met with sports journalists Monday afternoon to preview the SEC championship game against Georgia. He also recapped the victory over Texas A&M.

The Tigers (12-0, 8-0 SEC) dominated in a 50-7 win over the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 SEC). It was LSU’s first undefeated regular season since 2011.

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Orgeron started off by thanking the fans for showing up Saturday. He said he thought the defense had its best performance of the season. He also said quarterback Joe Burrow has the “it” factor, which helps him be so successful.

Burrow was 23-of-32 for 352 yards and three touchdowns against Texas A&M. He now holds the LSU single-season passing yards (4,366) and touchdowns (44) records. He also broke Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch’s SEC passing yards record (4,725) that was set in 1998 and tied Missouri quarterback Drew Lock’s SEC touchdown passes record (44) set in 2017.

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had seven catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came on a 78-yard strike. He has 70 catches for 1,457 yards and 17 touchdowns for the season. It was his eighth 100-yard game. He is now No. 2 on the LSU single-season receiving yards list behind Josh Reed (1,740), who also holds the SEC record.

Fellow wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught six passes for 55 yards and one touchdown. He has 81 catches for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019. He is now No. 2 on the LSU single-season list for receptions. He also trails Reed (94), who set the record in 2001.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 18 carries for 87 yards and one touchdown. He also caught four passes for 49 yards. On the season, he has 182 carries for 1,233 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The LSU defense also had a great game. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond finished only 10-of-30 for 92 yards. He was picked off three times. Safeties JaCoby Stevens and Grant Delpit, as well as cornerback Kary Vincent Jr., had interceptions. Mond ran the ball 12 times and finished with -8 yards rushing. He was sacked five times. The Tigers finished with six total sacks. The defense also recorded a safety. LSU held Texas A&M to only 169 total yards.

Orgeron said he has lots of respect for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. He said Georgia has the best offensive and defensive lines the Tigers will see up to this point. He added the Bulldogs have a great defense. Orgeron reiterated the team is not buying into the notion that the Tigers will be in the College Football Playoff even if they lose. He said LSU wants to win the SEC championship and they are not having any other types of discussions.

Orgeron said he thinks the pass rush against Texas A&M was the big difference in how the defense played when compared to previous games. He added he thought outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence had their best games of the season.

Georgia (11-1, 7-1 SEC) is coming off a dominant performance of its own. The Bulldogs routed Georgia Tech, 52-7. Their lone loss of the season was to South Carolina. The Gamecocks pulled off the 20-17 upset in double overtime.

Georgia is averaging nearly 33 points per game. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Jake Fromm. He has thrown for 2,385 yards this season with 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Lawrence Cager is the team’s leading receiver but he is done for the season due to an ankle injury. He had 33 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns before getting hurt. The No. 2 receiver on the team, George Pickens, will miss the first half of the game against LSU after getting ejected in the game against the Yellow Jackets. He has 33 catches for 498 yards and six touchdowns so far this season. On the ground, running back D’Andre Swift is the bell cow. He has 1,230 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Bulldog defense is quite impressive. It has only given up about 10 points and 257 yards per game. Middle linebacker Monty Rice is the leading tackler on the team. He has 41 solo tackles and has assisted on 38 others for a total of 79 on the season. Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari leads the team in sacks with 4.5. Defensive lineman Tyler Clark has eight tackles for loss. The Bulldogs have intercepted six passes this season.

LSU will face Georgia in the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on December 7. The team will leave Baton Rouge on Thursday. Of course, the Tigers beat the Dawgs, 36-16, in Tiger Stadium in 2018.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. The game will be shown on CBS. Join WAFB on Thursday, December 5 for a 30-minute special previewing the showdown.

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