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Capturing SEC Title, Georgia Gets the Bizarre Breaks L.S.U. Often Loves


L.S.U. recovered a Georgia fumble early within the third quarter. Three plays later, with a powerful leap, Malik Nabers caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Nussmeier, the L.S.U. backup who entered the sport after Daniels had limped away from the sphere across the intermission.

L.S.U. soon got the football again, however the Bulldogs’ defense, so often stout under Smart, stopped the Tigers on fourth and 1 on the Georgia 5.

Similarly revived, the Georgia offense assembled an eight-play drive that largely relied on blazing runs, including one which lasted for greater than half of the sphere, for a touchdown. L.S.U. ran a touchdown in later within the third quarter but missed a 2-point conversion, a rating made less important when Georgia sent Kenny McIntosh darting rightward for what was his second touchdown of the day.

When Georgia reached the “half 100” threshold that a longtime nemesis, Steve Spurrier of Florida, used to hunt, a contingent of L.S.U. fans concluded that they had seen enough, or a minimum of desired to beat traffic. There could be assorted other bursts of activity, but an interception near the goal line had already sent more of them fleeing.

That they had, in some respects, seen the inverse of this particular show within the relatively recent past.

The teams had last met within the SEC championship game in 2019, when a swaggering L.S.U. squad marched into Atlanta, routed Georgia and locked up the No. 1 seed. The Tigers went on to win the national championship before they endured two years of misery and the midseason ousting of the coach who had led them to the title.

Perhaps L.S.U., which got here nowhere near repeating its championship run, is on the point of a resurgence. But Georgia has gone 36-3 because it crumbled before the Tigers. By mid-January, with a title game berth a definite possibility, it may very well be 38 victories.

“We got here here with a plan to have a connected assault,” Smart said. “We talked about all of it week. We wanted our team to remain connected, they usually did that. Our team form of played this game like they played the entire season: unbelievably well in spurts and unbelievably poor in spurts — and answered the bell after they needed to.”

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