Georgia takes down LSU in SEC title game: Undefeated Bulldogs chasing history


By Seth Emerson, Brody Miller, Jeff Schultz and David Ubben

The top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs took down No. 14 LSU 50-30 in Saturday’s SEC title game. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Georgia clinches its first SEC title since 2017 and improves to 13-0 for the first time in program history.
  • The Bulldogs never trailed during the game and their 35 points at halftime were tied for the most points scored in the first half of an SEC title game.
  • Stetson Bennett (23/29, 274 yards, 4 TD) becomes the oldest QB to win an SEC championship game (25).
  • LSU QB Jayden Daniels was replaced by Garrett Nussmeier at halftime after exiting with an apparent leg injury. The pair combined for 502 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Bulldogs stay perfect

Georgia walked into this game in this stadium a year ago with a clear case as the nation’s best team and flopped in spectacular fashion as Alabama torched its vaunted defense and Bennett threw a pair of interceptions.

This year, there was no such stumble on the big stage as the Bulldogs remained perfect and kept a feisty LSU at arm’s length. Chalk Georgia’s early touchdowns on a blocked field goal and another set up by a fluky interception to luck, but the Bulldogs were aware of the situation and surroundings and led by two touchdowns even before the offense hit top gear.

Georgia’s defense didn’t play up to its standard in the second half, but the Bulldogs left no doubt on Saturday and will be steamrolling into the Playoff as the favorite to win the whole thing and repeat as national champion. — Ubben

Georgia wins with a little bit of everything

This game had a little bit of everything from Georgia’s regular season: The explosive passing game in the first half. The dominating run game in the second half. The shut-down defense in the second quarter. And also plain opportunism: Christopher Smith’s 95-yard touchdown return off the blocked field goal was a heady play worthy of a team that’s been in plenty of big games.

This has not been a perfect Georgia team in 2022. But the mark of this team has been to turn on the switch when it needed to, and it did it again to win its first SEC championship since 2017. — Emerson

Defending champs chasing history

Consider this a chase for history. Winning the SEC championship clearly was important for Georgia, even against the backdrop of being assured of a College Football Playoff berth. That was understandable, given Kirby Smart was only 1-3 in conference title games since coming to Athens. But this 2022 season is about more than that.

With Saturday’s lopsided win over LSU, the Bulldogs affirmed themselves as favorites to win another national championship. This would not have been predicted by many after last year’s title team lost 15 players to the NFL draft, including five first-rounders. But this season’s team is positioned to become the first program to win consecutive national titles since Alabama (2011-12), as well as the first Georgia team to go unbeaten since 1980.

The Dogs showed their offensive chops against Oregon (49-3) to open the season in Mercedes Benz Stadium and again Saturday – and they’ll almost certainly be returning to MBS for the CFP semifinal on Dec. 31. They’ll be looking to go 3-0 in Atlanta. — Schultz

Where does LSU go from here?

LSU was never going to win this SEC Championship game. That was always the reality, and even though two bizarre turnovers made the margin larger than it might have been, Georgia still proved it is the best team in the country. But for LSU, this game will likely serve as a measuring stick for the gaps Brian Kelly is tasked with shrinking in his 10-year contract.

Kelly wowed the world by beating Alabama and Ole Miss and winning the West, and LSU deserves all the credit for that. But Saturday was the reminder that it won’t be an easy rise. LSU is still far away from the elite in college football, and it will take time to fix it. — Miller

Highlights of the game

Required reading

(Photo: Brett Davis / USA Today)


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