ATLANTA — If there was an SEC team that could stop Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers’ offense, it was Georgia. But the Bulldogs’ vaunted defense wasn't up to the challenge on Saturday in the SEC championship game.
After allowing no more than 20 points all year, Georgia gave up 37 points against LSU in a 27-point loss. Burrow passed for 349 yards and four touchdowns and was LSU’s No. 2 rusher with 41 rushing yards. The last time Georgia allowed four or more touchdown passes was against Missouri in 2017.
One of the main problems for Georgia was its inability to pressure Burrow. And when the front seven did get to the quarterback, the results weren’t much better.
Late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs forced Burrow to flee the pocket. He spun to his left then to his right. With Jordan Davis on his tail, Burrow heaved a pass through the Georgia secondary and into the arms of Justin Jefferson.
The 71-yard completion was the fourth longest pass in SEC championship game history. If Heisman Trophy voters were still looking for a reason to give Burrow the award, that was it.
Burrow entered the day with some records already under his belt. He owned the single-season SEC record with 4,366 passing yards and tied Missouri’s Drew Lock with 44 passing touchdowns. He officially broke that record with his first touchdown on Saturday to Ja’Marr Chase in the first quarter.
Against the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense, Burrow did what he did all year — give the ball to the receivers and let them work. Jefferson and Terrace Marshall Jr. finished with 115 and 89 receiving yards, respectively.
LSU’s domination isn’t something Georgia is used to.
In its previous three losses stretching back to last year, the Bulldogs haven’t lost by more than seven points. The last opponent to pick Georgia apart was LSU, who defeated the Bulldogs 36-16 on Oct. 13, 2018.
Operating under a different offense last year, Burrow had only 200 passing yards in that game in Baton Rouge. He surpassed 200 yards before halftime on Saturday.
By the end of the third quarter, large swaths of Georgia fans hit the exits of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and several Bulldogs languished on the sidelines with injuries. Walter Grant left with a concussion and Tyrique Stevenson was stretchered off the field after a targeting penalty on LSU’s Tory Carter.
But it was Burrow who was the thorn in Georgia’s side. And when Burrow goes, so does LSU.
“Joe is a solid leader,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said on the Friday before the game. “If things are not right, he'll step up and challenge guys. He's a fierce competitor … and mature ahead of his years. He brings a lot to our football team.”