Ed Orgeron had a simple explanation for a key defensive adjustment LSU made midway through the first quarter of Saturday’s thrilling win over Georgia in Tiger Stadium.
Orgeron smiled when the question came up.
The Bulldogs, on their second possession, had ripped off runs of 12, 18 and 17 yards on three consecutive plays — right after a holding penalty wiped out a 28-yard blast on the first play of the series. What did the Tigers do after that?
“We were playing one certain defense ... and it wasn’t working,” Orgeron said. “We changed to play another one and it worked; that’s all.”
Pressed about the nature of the change, the Tigers’ third-year coach flashed a bigger smile, making sure to keep the strategy under wraps but still having fun in the wake of No. 13 LSU’s 36-16 pasting of No. 2 Georgia.
“You really want to know everything?” he asked as reporters chuckled. “I’m gonna tell you. You ready? We were shaded one way and then we went and shaded another way.
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“That was the change,” he added. “Shade to shade, baby.”
Actually, the Bulldogs didn’t know what hit them. Their offense wasn’t the same after that.
Unbeaten and virtually unchallenged in winning its first four Southeastern Conference games by an average of 23 points, Georgia ran right into a brick wall once LSU got over the initial shock of that second drive.
Georgia went into the game with the SEC’s top rushing offense with 245.2 yards per game, which probably had them licking their chops after Florida pounded LSU for 215 yards in a 27-19 victory a week ago.
But LSU was determined not to let it happen again, especially in front of a jacked-up Tiger Stadium crowd.
After D’Andre Swift had back-to-back runs of 12 and 18 yards, Elijah Holyfield had a 17-yard burst — all up the middle — and reached LSU’s 38 after Holyfield’s 28-yard blast on the first play was called back because of holding.
No. 18 had some strong words in defense of his head coach Saturday night.
Running with confidence, Georgia eventually netted 61 yards rushing on nine carries during the drive. Then the Bulldogs lost 2 yards on a fake field-goal attempt.
When it was over, those 61 yards on that drive represented more than half of Georgia’s total of 113 yards.
That means the Bulldogs, who were 16th in the FBS in rushing, netted just 52 yards and averaged 2.5 yards on their other 21 attempts — which was what defensive coordinator Dave Aranda needed to see.
“We just ... (Aranda) told Devin White to to get in the gap because they (were) just running the draw,” said White, who had a team-high 13 tackles on the afternoon. “We really hadn’t seen the draw.
“They just made it where I overtook the gap or (middle linebacker) Jacob Phillips overtook the gap, depending on what defense we were in, and we made the nose tackle go the opposite way, and we overtook it and made the play.”
That was just the beginning for Georgia, which had four turnovers — two on offense — while LSU’s offense didn’t give it away.
Free safety John Battle and cornerback Kristian Fulton had interceptions of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who came into the game hitting 72.8 percent of his passes, and the Bulldogs had two fumbles on special teams.
Georgia wound up with 322 total yards, 163.2 below its season’s average. The Bulldogs’ 16 points were more than 26 below their average.
But the big thing was the rush defense.
Swift netted 72 yards on 12 carries and Holyfield had 56 on seven tries, which helped the Tigers pressure Fromm, who was just 16 of 34 passing for 209 yards and one touchdown with a long of 35 yards.
“We weren’t going to give up 200 yards (rushing),” said outside linebacker Michael Divinity, who had seven tackles and one of the Tigers' three sacks. “We had to come out and play great defense. We had a couple of busts here and there early, but we corrected those errors.”