The fine folks at ESPN Stats & Info give us a closer look at LSU and Georgia before the SEC championship game.
There are a lot of interesting numbers to check out for both teams.
Tigers’ defense has good hands
LSU has held opponents to a completion percentage of 13.3 on throws of 20 yards or longer this season. The Tigers have more interceptions (eight) than their opponents have receptions (six) and only Mississippi State has completed more than two such passes in a game.
LSU has allowed just 27 plays of 20 yards or longer this season, second fewest in FBS. As a result, it takes an average of 10 plays per drive to score a touchdown against LSU this season, highest average in FBS.
Georgia has 20 offensive touchdowns of 20 yards or longer this season, most in the SEC and tied for 9th in FBS with Oklahoma State.
No player has more than one reception on a throw that traveled 20 yards or longer against LSU this season. LSU, on the other hand, has two players who have intercepted at least two of these passes. Cornerback Morris Claiborne has three and safety Eric Reid has two.
Aaron Murray throws of 20-plus yards
In his past two games, Aaron Murray completed 2 of 12 passes of 20 yards or longer, including two interceptions and no touchdowns. For the season, Murray has completed 28.8 percent of these throws with four interceptions. Last season, Murray completed 48.4 percent of his throws of 20-plus yards with just one interception in 64 attempts.
LSU limits the big play
LSU has allowed just 27 plays of 20 yards or longer this season, second fewest in FBS. As a result, it takes an average of 10.0 plays per drive to score a touchdown against LSU this season, the highest average in FBS.
Fewest Plays Of 20-plus Yards Allowed, 2011
South Carolina: 28
Georgia has 20 offensive touchdowns of 20 yards or longer this season, most in the SEC and tied for ninth in FBS with Oklahoma State.
Jefferson throwing a better ball
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson has completed 10 of 18 passes thrown 15 yards or longer in the air this season. Jefferson’s success has been aided by the Tigers’ running game, as he is 7-of-10 on these throws after a run fake. Jarrett Lee, on the other hand, has struggled to get the ball down field in his past three games.
Jefferson has completed 55.6 percent of his passes that have traveled 15 yards or longer this season. Last season, Jefferson did not have one game where he completed more than 55.6 percent of the same throws.
Tigers excel with pressure
LSU is the only team in FBS this season that has not allowed a touchdown pass on third down. One reason for the Tigers’ success has been the blitz. LSU has sent five or more pass-rushers on 38.5 percent of its opponents’ drop-backs on third down this season and it has been much more successful when bringing the pressure.
When LSU blitzes, opposing quarterbacks are completing 43.2 percent of their passes, compared to 62.2 when the Tigers don't blitz. LSU has six sacks with the blitz and opponents are converting third downs 26 percent of the time in these situations.
Murray third-down passing
Murray has been blitzed on 45.8 percent (44 of 96) of his pass plays on third down this season and has struggled on these attempts.
The Bulldogs are stingy
Saturday’s SEC championship game pits the top two defenses in FBS at holding opponents to no gain or losses on plays. Georgia is the only SEC team this season to force its conference opponents to no gain or a loss on at least 40 percent of their plays in every game this season.
Highest percentage of opponents' plays that have gone for no gain or less, 2011
Virginia Tech: 41.2
On offense, LSU is held to no gain or a loss on 24.9 percent of its plays, the lowest percentage in the SEC and the eighth lowest in FBS.
Georgia needs Crowell for balance
When Murray was asked about Isaiah Crowell this week he answered, “We really want to be able to run the ball, and I think we need to be able to run the ball against LSU to get the victory and put some points on the board.” Crowell has been Georgia’s guy between the tackles this year, averaging almost 5 yards a carry.
Crowell also has six 20-plus-yard runs when he goes between the tackles and none when he goes outside.
If Georgia is unable to run the ball, it could make the Bulldogs predictable on first down. Murray leads the SEC and is sixth nationally with 16 touchdown passes on first down this season.