(All records now updated)
LSU leads the series, 16-13-1
In Baton Rouge, the series is tied, 5-5-1
In Athens, the series is tied, 7-7
In other locations (Atlanta 4 times, the first in 1944; and Columbus, Ga., once), LSU leads, 4-1
• Six games in the series have been decided by 3 points or fewer.
• LSU won the first 7 meetings (including the last 3 in a row in Georgia [5 total], which has not been duplicated), before Georgia won the next 3.
• Georgia has only won back-to-back games in Baton Rouge once, 1952 and 1978. The Bulldogs did go 3-0-1 in Baton Rouge from 1948-1978. LSU won two in a row at home twice, 1936&1943 and 1986&1990.
• LSU last won consecutive games in Athens in 1951 and 1953.
• The 90 points scored between the two teams in 2008 were easily the most in series history. Then in 2013, Georgia won, 44-41. There is a tie for third at 61 points between the 2004 game (45-16, Georgia) and the 1944 game (34-27, LSU).
• The lowest-scoring games were a 7-0 Georgia win in 1949 and a 7-0 LSU win in 1951. There has not been a shutout since, although there were three before 1949.
• The 27 total points scored in 2003 are the lowest point total in the series since LSU won 14-6 in 1953.
I believe Georgia and Alabama are the only two SEC series where LSU has a better record on the road than at home (LSU won two true road games outside of Athens, so this is still true despite the 2013 result). LSU plays both on the road this season in what may be the two biggest games.
After playing with some frequency in the 1940s and earlly 1950s, the two teams went 25 years between games, finally meeting again in 1978. From that point forward, Georgia leads 8-7.
The series has proceed in streaks. Georgia won in 1978 and 1979. The next three games—1986, 1987, and 1990—were all won by LSU.
The Tigers would have some success in the mid-1990s, but they did not meet the Bulldogs in those years. Georgia would win in 1991, 1998, and 1999. The one-point win in 1998 was one of the games that started a downward spiral for LSU, eventually leading to Gerry DiNardo’s departure after 10 games (including another one-point loss to the Bulldogs) in 1999.
The teams did not meet again until 2003, but although both teams ended up being markedly better than in the late 1990s, they were still evenly matched. LSU was ranked #11 and Georgia was ranked #7 going into the game.
After LSU led 7-3 at halftime and 10-3 after three quarters, Georgia scored a touchdown on a 93-yard screen pass with 4:25 left on the clock. LSU responded in just over 3 minutes with a touchdown of its own, a 34-yard pass from Matt Mauck to Skyler Green.
I’m still not sure how exactly LSU won that game after being out-gained 411-285. The Tigers did allow one fewer turnover, and it didn’t hurt that they had Devery Henderson retuning kickoffs. Georgia used more running backs, but LSU had two (Shyrone Carey and Joseph Addai) with 15 carries or more and both gained over 4 yards per carry. Georgia also had 23 first downs to 16 for LSU, which was only 5 of 18 on third downs. The Bulldogs had more yards per rush, had more yards per pass, and were penalized for fewer yards.
After LSU had a 19-7 loss at the hands of Florida a few weeks later, it appeared the season was headed downhill after the big win over the Bulldogs, but the Tiger offense really got going in Columbia the week after the Florida game and except for a couple of speed-bumps (Ole Miss and the second half against Oklahoma), it would carry the Tigers to their second SEC Championship in 3 years and first major-poll national championship in 45 years.
But on the way there, they had to get past that same Georgia team (whose only other loss was also to Florida). It was much easier the second time even though it was just about in the Bulldogs’ back yard in Atlanta. The game was a contest between the last two SEC champions, who had each won for the first time after the Florida-Tennessee-Alabama stranglehold had begun to loosen.
The game wasn’t very interesting, as LSU won 34-13, but the story outside the game was interesting. Somehow Oklahoma, #1 going into the day, got blown out but stayed #1 in the BCS, while LSU moved up to #2. There was a bonus for beating quality opponents, but there was some controversy since LSU could not get the bonus twice for beating Georgia. But ultimately, it didn’t matter because Georgia fell out of the top 10 after LSU beat them anyway.
The BCS had so many different wrinkles at that time that it was hard to predict. LSU even arguably got an assist when Boise St. finished off Hawaii early the next morning Eastern time. It improved LSU’s stength of schedule since the Tigers had beaten Louisiana Tech, which played Boise St., and weakened USC’s strength of schedule since the Trojans had beaten Hawaii. That was just the last of a number of games that in some way had a bearing on the final numbers.
2004-present and John Chavis
That was the first of three times that LSU has played Georgia in the SEC Championship so far, with the Bulldogs winning in 2005 (Les Miles first year) and LSU winning in 2011. These later contests were not competitive either.
True to form, the 2005 win was part of a three-game Georgia winning streak that started in 2004, when the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 45-10 in Athens.
Georgia had to wait until 2008, the season known by Tiger fans for Jarrett Lee pick-6 specials, to pick up the third win, 52-38. That was the most points scored by an opposing team in Tiger Stadium since Steve Spurrier’s Florida team won 58-3 15 years before.
LSU has beaten Georgia twice since then. We already covered 2011, but the Tigers also won their previous game in 2009, when Georgia’s old nemesis DC John Chavis, formerly of Tennessee, came to Athens. LSU struggled offensively over a few years there, but they only needed to score over 13 in that game; and they got 20.
These were the winners and final scores between Tennessee under Chavis and Georgia:
1995 – Tennessee, 30-27
1996 – Tennessee, 29-17
1997 – Tennessee, 38-13
1998 – Tennessee, 22-3
1999 – Tennessee, 37-20
2000 – Georgia, 21-10
—Mark Richt hired at UGA—
2001 – Georgia, 26-24
2002 – Georgia, 18-13
2003 – Georgia, 41-14
2004 – Tennessee, 19-14
2005 – Georgia, 27-14
2006 – Tennessee, 51-33
2007 – Tennessee, 35-14
2008 – Georgia, 26-14
So Georgia only scored over 27 twice in all those games, and they were held in the teens (or lower) six times. As mentioned, Georgia was pretty good in 2003 (and it didn’t help that Tennessee’s offense did a poor job in keeping the ball). A similar scenario ensued with Chavis coaching LSU in 2013. LSU scored a lot more often than that 2003 Tennessee team did but struggled in running the ball to take up time for the entire first half. As to 2006, Georgia scored two touchdowns on kick returns but was otherwise held to a field goal in the second half.
The series are much shorter with the head coaches. Miles is 2-3 against Georgia at LSU (he did not face the Bulldogs at Oklahoma St.) but started 0-2. Georgia is the only SEC team with a winning record against Les Miles’s LSU teams (as of 9/28/2013). Mark Richt is 4-4 against the Tigers.