Lough: Dawgs too good to lose


Posted Dec 4, 2005


ATLANTA — In the city allegedly too nice to hate, Georgia on this night was too good to lose.

And the Bulldogs were too good a team, in each phase.

You almost wondered who snuck into some red uniforms, for this was a nasty, hard, physical bunch that beat up the lines of the nation's No. 3 team.

The execution was there more often than not, and the numbers tend to belie how smooth Georgia was most of the night, one that began with enough juice in the Georgia Dome to light up Buckhead.

Georgia has had some quality games under Mark Richt, albeit not many like this.

Sean Bailey's name as been on the lips of Georgia fans for awhile, and now there are no profanities along the way, because he helped put LSU in a quick hole by catching a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes.

Consider his confidence re-installed.

Kregg Lumpkin certainly has bad memories of his last SEC championship game. For one, it was his last game for more than a year after tearing his ACL before the 2004 season.

For another, he dropped a pretty open pass in early the last LSU-UGA championship game, and it played a part in Georgia's soon-to-follow fizzle in the 34-13 loss.

But he blasted around for 38 tough yards on 13 carries, and Thomas Brown turned in a workmanlike 62 yards on 14 tries.

D.J. Shockley had pedestrian stats as well, all of six completions on 12 tries for 112 yards.

This game, however, was not about numbers.

This game was about a team playing well in all areas, coming up with big momentum-changing plays from the three major units: offense, defense, and special teams.

And it's about taking another team out, disrupting the flow, and eliminating a game plan.

"I think this team was ready to play, and it was a team that was going to take all its advantages that we gave them, and miscues," said LSU defensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. "It's gonna hurt you when you continue to do that."

And oh, the pain felt by the purple and gold, who really seemed barely in the game even after pulling to within 14-7. That barely-there feeling didn't last long.

The Bulldog defense sent LSU backward for five yards, then worked a nifty scheme to set up Bryan McClendon for the smothering punt block.

About 90 seconds later, Shockley scrambled in for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead, and it was more and more becoming great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

As the team surrounded Richt on a podium and confetti was blasted into the Georgia Dome air, defensive line coach and recruiting boss Rodney Garner stood off to the side with just a massive grin on his face, dancing a little, and taking it all in from outside the crowd.

He looked, frankly, like a kid with a blank check at Toys R Us on Dec. 15.

Instead, it was the Dome, on Dec. 4, and there was no money. Still, yes, Christmas.

Shockley, the game's MVP, had just finished addressing the crowd, having mentioned being overlooked much of the season.

"Now we're No. 1 in the SEC, baby."

And any debates were moot.


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