Who? #6 LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) @ #9 Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC)
When? Saturday, September 28th, 3:30 P.M. (CBS)
Where? Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
Impact Players, LSU: QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill, WR Odell Beckham, CB Jalen Mills
Impact Players, Georgia: QB Aaron Murray, RB Todd Gurley, DE Garrison Smith, LB Amarlo Herrera
Head Coach Matchup: Les Miles (9th year at LSU, 85-21) vs Mark Richt (13th year at UGA, 118-40)
Prediction: Georgia 38, LSU 34
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If the quarterback play of Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray through these first four weeks is any indication of what we will see between their teams in Week 5, we could be in for quite a show come Saturday afternoon.
Both signal-callers have looked stellar so far in 2013, combing for a total of 2066 yards, seventeen TD’s, and only 3 picks.
Murray and the Bulldogs come into this matchup battle-tested, as they have already faced off top-ten opponents in Clemson and South Carolina. Mettenberger and LSU earned a tough win in their opener versus TCU, but have gone on to win three straight home games by a combined score of 136-51 against inferior opponents.
Les Miles knows his defense will have to play well against the Murray-led passing game, but the Bulldogs’ ground game might pose just as much trouble. UGA running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have already amassed over 500 yards and 5 scores in three games. If Gurley and Marshall have the Tigers on their heels all night, then it will keep them honest and Aaron Murray could have a great night.
The LSU Tigers too have an impressive ground game, led by fellow back Jeremy Hill. Hill had a career-best 183 yards and three TD’s last week against Auburn, and looks to continue the success. The sophomore back from Baton Rouge is living the dream starting at tailback for his beloved Tigers, and has his mind set on the national championship.
For quarterback Zach Mettenberger, this game in Athens will mean a lot.
Earning a scholarship to play for his beloved hometown Bulldogs in 2009, the then-freshman was kicked off the team due to a violation of team rules, leaving him devastated. He then spent a year at junior college before accepting the new offer from Les Miles and LSU.
However, as Mettenberger states, many crude comments from Georgia fans have been made about him, especially at the 2011 SEC Championship between UGA and LSU.
“It was pretty bad two years ago getting heckled and I didn’t even play so I can imagine it’s just going to be that much better this time around,” Mettenberger said. “I’m expecting the worst, but I’ve just got to go in there with a level head and play football. … I’m looking forward to Sunday morning tremendously.”
“My life has ended up here at LSU and I couldn’t be happier with it,” says the senior quarterback.
Obviously for both squads this is an important game, but for Georgia it is a must-win if they want to capture a national championship. Having already lost to Clemson, another loss would likely kick them out of the equation.
With a 4-0 record and a number 6 ranking in the latest AP Poll, LSU looks as hungry as ever for a title. But for Mark Richt’s crew, this is their penultimate home game of the year, and I predict they will take it in a shootout, 38-34.