Bulldogs Fall To LSU In SEC Championship Game
Dec. 3, 2011
ATLANTA, Ga. --- No. 12 Georgia had its 10-game winning streak snapped on Saturday as No. 1 LSU topped the Bulldogs 42-10 in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in front of 74,515 fans at the Georgia Dome.
After the Bulldogs (10-3) built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the Tigers (13-0) scored 42 unanswered points to pull away for the victory.
Georgia outgained LSU 293-237, but turned the ball over three times -- the first two leading to touchdowns and the third being returned for a score.
"Congratulations to Coach (Les) Miles and LSU," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "They did a wonderful job. (They have an) outstanding football team. We lived out a lot of the things that other people have been living out playing those guys, their ability to get stronger as the game goes on. It was very evident that they were able to do that. Of course, turnovers and momentum swings certainly didn't help us in the second half.
"I was proud of the way we started. We missed a couple of opportunities for more points. (We) probably could have had 21 points in the first half if we just catch the football, but we're not able to do that. And then the second half, gosh, so many things that happened. Basically, we just lost the momentum, they gained it, and we really couldn't slow it down once it got going. So my hat's off to them. I'm proud of our team. I'm proud of the season that we've had, the regular season, of course, and the ability to even get to this game was a great accomplishment considering how we started."
Quarterback Aaron Murray finished 16-of-40 (a career-high for attempts) for 162 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Ken Malcome had a team-high 37 yards on five carries, while Carlton Thomas added 27 yards on seven carries. Receiver Tavarres King had two catches for 51 yards. Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with six tackles and a sack. Defensive backs Shawn Williams and Baccari Rambo each added five tackles.
Kicker Blair Walsh gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead when he connected on a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter. Walsh set the NCAA record with a field goal in 44 career games, breaking the record of 43 by ex-Bulldog Billy Bennett. Georgia followed with a successful onside kick, its first since 2008, when Ogletree snared the ball out of the air.
Later in the first half, Murray connected with tight end Aron White on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Walsh's PAT staked the Bulldogs to a 10-0 lead. The touchdown pass was the 33rd of the year for Murray, extending his school record.
At the half, the Bulldogs held a 10-7 advantage. Georgia's defense held the Tigers without a first down and to just 11 total yards in the first half. But LSU scored 21 points in the third quarter and added 14 in the fourth quarter. MVP Tyrann Mathieu sparked LSU's rally as he returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown and set up two more scores with a fumble recovery and another long punt return.
Georgia fell to 2-2 in SEC Championship Games. In school history, the Bulldogs are 1-4 when facing the top-ranked team. LSU leads the all-time series 16-12-1, including 2-1 in SEC Championship Games. The Bulldogs will learn their bowl destination on Sunday.