Paired up on Georgia’s Reggie Brown, Webster utilized excellent positioning then tipped the ball to himself
for the game-clinching pick. In the aftermath, a Tiger Stadium record crowd of
92,251 shook Death Valley to its roots in a rowdy celebration.
"Well, you know, basically the
defense helped put pressure on the quarterback,” Webster said. “It makes it
easier when the front seven puts pressure on the quarterback. I just happened to
be in the right place at the right time.”
While Wesbter’s interception ended
Georgia’s desperation surge to the end zone, it was Skyler Green’s 34-yard
touchdown catch from quarterback Matt Mauck that put LSU in front for good. The
reception, which was the result of a broken play, came just six plays after the
Bulldogs had tied the score at 10 with a 93-yard Tyson Browning touchdown catch
"Well you can't really say about
enough about both football teams the way they competed out there,” LSU head
coach Nick Saban said. “(It was) a heavy weight fight - a real street fight.
Both teams competed their heart out.
It was about a physical a football
game as I've seen in a long time and I'm proud of the way our players competed
in the game.
The win for LSU was the first over
a top 10 team since the Tigers trampled No. 7 Illinois in the 2002 Nokia Sugar
Bowl. For Georgia, it was first loss on an opponent’s field in 10 trips and the
first road loss by a Mark Richt coached team.
"I have to first of all give a lot
of credit to coach (Nick) Saban and LSU. I thought those guys had a great plan
without question and had the athletes to pull it off,” Richt said. “In the final
analysis, big games like this usually comes down to whose going to make the most
plays and they did that.”
The Tigers definitely made the
plays when they had to.
LSU picked up just two first downs
in the first quarter and did not record their third until a 6-play, 85-yard
touchdown drive with 3:10 remaining in the first half.
“I don't know if we were a little
bit anxious in the beginning of the game,” Saban said. “We were a little out of
sorts at the start then in the second quarter we started to come
Georgia outgained the Tigers
225-143 in total yards in the first half. Despite LSU’s offensive woes in the
opening two quarters, Shyrone Carey’s 21-yard touchdown run late in the second
quarter was good enough for a 7-3 halftime advantage.
"I think their defense did a lot of
different things that made it difficult for us to have success but I think a lot
of the times, I think myself I was trying too hard to make some plays,” Mauck
said. “I realized that if I could just relax then maybe we get some
A fumble and three missed field
goals in the first half left Georgia frustrated after two quarters in which the
Bulldogs dominated. The usually automatic Billy Bennett missed field goals of
43, 42 and watched as his 36-yard offering hit the left upright with just
seconds left in the first half.
“We certainly didn't execute as
well as I would have liked us to execute,” Richt said. “The problem was that it
just came down to us not making the plays that they made.”
Those nine points could have made a
world of difference in the outcome of the game.
LSU defensive tackle Chad Lavalais drags Georgia backup
quarterback D.J. Shockley to
the ground when the entered
the game for injured David Greene in the third quarter. (LSU)
"They missed three field goals, you
know, that's nine points right there,” LSU defensive tackle Chad Lavalais said.
“That could have helped them as the game went on. But we were just lining up and
thinking that we should just get after them, you know maybe we could just block
a kick, put pressure on the kicks, you know, affect the kicks in some
A frenzied Tiger Stadium crowd
seemed to energize a Tiger defense that seemed to take command of the contest in
the second half. The momentum started to swing in LSU’s favor in the third
quarter as the Tiger defense reduced Georgia’s high powered assault to just 35
yards and sent Greene to the bench with a knee injury.
"I want to say thank you to the
fans because it was such a lift for us,” LSU defensive end Marcus Spears said.
“We could feel the vibrations running through our bodies when they started
hollering. We couldn't hear anything. We couldn't even get our defensive calls
out there, so I know they had a problem with running their offense. It was just
a great showing for us, and we thank them a lot.”
In a game dominated by defense,
which featured several shifts in momentum, the fourth quarter featured a flurry
of offensive yards culminating in a toe-to-toe street fight.
It looked as LSU could put the game
on ice when Mauck fumbled at the Georgia 15 giving the Bulldogs new life. Two
plays later, Georgia tied the score on Browning’s winding touchdown catch and
"Our offense had not been clicking
all night, but finally we made a big play,” Browning said. “I thought that our
defense had played a great game all day.”
But LSU’s offense countered
Georgia’s 1-2 punch with an upper cut to the chin. Devery Henderson returned the
ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the 50-yard line setting up Mauck’s game-winning
touchdown pass to Green in the end zone.
"He (Green) had some drops earlier,
I had some fumbles, but we just connected at the end so I guess it was a little
bit of a makeup for both of us for early in the game,” Mauck said.
On a play designed to go to Michael Clayton, Green ran the wrong route but broke into the clear. Mauck, fighting off
a blitz, heaved a perfectly placed ball off his back foot across his body, which
Green cradled in his arms for the game-clinching touchdown catch.
“"I was looking at Matt (Mauck) and
Matt came up to the line of scrimmage like he was going to run and he bit for
it,” Green said. “When he bit back I just looked at Matt the whole way and just
laid it up there.”
Green had a case of the drops
earlier in the game, bobbling three sure receptions in the first
"I came over a lot of adversity in
this game, dropped a couple of passes, couldn't give up,” Green said. “The team
needed a big play, so we had to come through, we had to get over a lot of
things. The dropped passes I had at the beginning, I had to get over that and
come through just this one time and make a play.”
Both teams moved the ball well in
their first offensive possessions but were stopped just out of field goal range.
Georgia's Damien Gary, one of the
best kick-returners in the country, set up the opening scoring drive of the game
with a 19-yard punt return putting the Bulldogs in Tiger territory. Gary hauled
in a 13-yard pass three plays later to set up a 33-yard Bennett field goal with
6:20 left to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs appeared primed for
another score after intercepting a Mauck pass at the LSU 40-yard line. Georgia
drove the ball easily on the ground Greene fumbled at the LSU eight-yard line on
the fourth play of the drive after being chased out of the pocket.
Mauck finished the game with
14-of-29 passes complete for 180 yards a touchdown and an interception. Greene
countered with 20-of-44 passes complete for 314 yards one touchdown and two
Tigers couldn't capitalize on the
Georgia gaff and punted the ball away after just three plays later setting up
another Bulldog drive in LSU territory. The drive ended with Bennett seemingly
connecting on his second field goal of the quarter but offsetting penalties
nullified the down. The second attempt sailed wide right and the quarter ended
with the Bulldogs leading, 3-0.
Georgia stayed in LSU territory for
its first drive of the second quarter after the Tigers failed again to move the
ball on offense. Again, Bennett was called upon as the drive stalled at the LSU
25, and again he missed wide right leaving the score at 3-0 with 11:25 left in
the first half.
The Tigers anemic first-half
offense finally received an infusion late in the second quarter as Mauck led his
team down the heart of the Georgia defense with the help of Green and Carey.
Mauck connected with Green for a 31-yard pass down the middle of the field on
the fourth play of the drive and Carey capped the drive with a 21-yard touchdown
run giving the Tigers their first score. The PAT made it 7-3 Tigers with 3:10 to
play in the first half.
Carey finished the contest with 73
yards on the ground on 18 carries and the touchdown. Green ended the game with
78 receiving yards on four catches and his game-winning touchdown.
The Tiger drive awakened the
Bulldog offense as well as Green connected on five out of eight passes setting
up another Bennett field goal attempt. But Bennett failed for the third time in
the first half, this time hitting the left upright from 36 yards out.
LSU stopped the Bulldogs short of
the 50-yard line on the first drive of the second half and used the momentum
from the end of the first half to go on a 10-play, 51-yard drive culminating in
a 47-yard Ryan Gaudet field goal. Gaudet's career-long effort gave the Tigers a
10-7 lead with 6:23 left in the third.
On the ensuing drive the Tiger
defense knocked Greene out of the game on a near sack and then knocked the
Bulldogs back to their 2-yard line when back-up quarterback D.J. Shockley was
called for intentional grounding on third down.
The LSU offense took over at the
Georgia 49 but was stopped after three plays. Shockley felt the LSU wrath again
as he was sacked by tackle Chad Lavalais on the first play of the next drive for
a loss of eight yards forcing the Bulldogs to again punt from their own
LSU punted the ball back to Georgia
with Greene back at quarterback but the Bulldog starting signal caller turned it
back to the Tigers when linebacker Lionel Turner picked off a deflected pass at
the Bulldog 40. Turner's pick broke Greene's streak of 176 consecutive pass
attempts without an interception, tying a Georgia record.
The Tigers failed to convert on
their chance to extend the lead however, as a 48-yard field goal attempt by
Gaudet was blocked.
Georgia attempted a fake punt at
mid-field after its next drive stalled but the Tigers dragged upback Joe
Tereshinski off his feet one yard shy of the first down marker. LSU drove the
ball down to the Georgia 15-yard line but Mauck took his turn to turn over the
ball, fumbling after picking up a first down on a quarterback draw.
- LSU Sports Information
contributed to this report