ATHENS, Ga. -- LSU running back Charles Scott ran for two touchdowns in the final 2:53 including a 33-yard game-winner with 46 seconds to play, as the fourth-ranked LSU football team overcame itself and the No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs, 20-13, on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
LSU (5-0, 3-0 SEC), which won in Athens for the first time since 1987, provided the perfect appetizer for it's Oct. 10 matchup with No. 1-ranked Florida. The Gators come to Tiger Stadium for the annual "Gold Game" and a prime-time kickoff at 7 p.m. on CBS.
After leading 6-0 and dominating for the better part of three quarters, the Tigers found themselves behind 7-6 early in the fourth quarter after an 18-play Bulldogs drive resulted in goalline stand foiled on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
The teams traded punts in the fourth quarter until the Tigers pressed the offensive accelerator in the final six minutes.
LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who took multiple sacks early in the second half by holding the ball too long, found his rhythm and led the Tigers to a go-ahead touchdown by Scott with 2:53 to play.
However, Jefferson also found himself back on the field less than two minutes later when Georgia regained the lead, 13-12, on a 16-yard touchdown grab by All-SEC receiver A.J. Green.
After a 40-yard kickoff return by Trindon Holliday into Georgia territory, the sophomore quarterback turned it over to Scott whose final run of the game was a 33-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers the lead for good.
LSU linebacker Perry Riley intercepted Georgia quarterback Joe Cox on third-and-16 with less than a minute to play to seal the victory.
The comeback win was the 13th under LSU head coach Les Miles and LSU’s 25th since 2000.
Jefferson finished 18-of-27 passing for 212 yards and an interception in the endzone on LSU’s first offensive drive. Wide receiver Terrance Toliver led the Tigers with 76 yards on six catches, while Brandon LaFell added three catches for 52 yards. LaFell also caught a two-point conversion after Scott’s second touchdown.
Scott, who was kept out of the endzone in LSU’s first four games, ran 19 times for 95 yards, while backup quarterback Russell Shepard ran six runs for 32 yards. Jefferson added 16 rushes for 24 net yards including a 34 yards lost on sacks.
Cox completed 18-of-34 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns with an interception on his final play.
Georgia freshman running back Washaun Ealey led the Bulldogs with 33 yards on eight carries.
LSU outrushed Georgia, 156-45, and outgained the Bulldogs, 368-274.
In first half, LSU completely dominated but it didn't show on the scoreboard. Three LSU drives ended inside the Georgia 10-yard line but the Tigers managed only six points, as missed opportunities cost the Tigers a big halftime lead.
LSU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, electing to kickoff and defend the west endzone.
With his first touchback of the season, Tigers placekicker Josh Jasper gave an assist to the LSU defense that was taken advantage of.
A week ago, LSU's defense played 86 snaps against Mississippi State. But on the first drive, LSU forced Georgia three-and-out from its 20-yard line. On third-and-7 from the UGA 23, Cox's pass to Green was well off target and nearly intercepted.
LSU's offense entered the field with a vengeance, as Chad Jones returned the punt 16 yards to the LSU 37. After picking up a first down with its running game, Jefferson found LaFell wide open across the field for a 34-yard gain to the Georgia 15. Jefferson ran the ball twice to the Georgia 9, but on third-and-4, his pass to tight end Richard Dickson was intercepted in the endzone by cornerback Brandon Boykin.
Boykin helped the Tigers by running the ball out of the endzone and making it only to the 2-yard line. Two Georgia runs for three yards put the Bulldogs in third-and-long. Cox again looked to find Green but overthrew the All-SEC receiver who gained separation from Peterson around midfield.
After a Georgia punt was returned 13 yards into Georgia territory by Trindon Holliday, Scott earned two first downs to the Georgia 20. Toliver then made a terrific catch, coming back to Jefferson for an 11-yard gain along the right sideline.
On second-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Jefferson found Scott on a middle screen but the LSU running back wasn't able to shack a defender and was tackled for a loss. Jefferson's third-down pass in the direction of Toliver sailed high and the Tigers settled for 23-yard field goal by Jasper.
LSU led 3-0 with 3:51 to play in the first quarter.
Georgia entered LSU territory for the first time with 1:38 left to play in the quarter, but punted for the third-straight time after another great series by the LSU defense.
Starting at its 20 after a touchback, LSU looked to Shepard on three-straight plays in the shotgun. The freshman quarterback put together 26 yards to the LSU 46. After Scott gained another first down on a 4-yard run, LaFell caught a 16-yard pass from Jefferson. The Tigers came up short of a first down when Jefferson's option pitch to Scott was read well by the Bulldogs defense, putting the Tigers in a field goal situation.
LSU had a trip play setup to LaFell, who loped toward the sideline before lining up in formation. However, the official stood over the ball and prevented the snap, and Boykin spotted the open receiver. LSU called a timeout before Jasper made a 42-yard field goal.
The Tigers extended the lead to 6-0 with 10:55 left in the half.
Georgia continued to struggle against the LSU defense, as Cox's pass along the left sideline to Green was again broken up by Peterson. Playing Green in bump-and-run coverage for the first time, Peterson stuck with his receiver and made a great play for the ball.
A Georgia punt setup another LSU drive inside the redzone. Jefferson completed a 30-yard pass to Toliver to move into Georgia's side then connected with Dickson for 11 yards to the 29.
With the play clock running down on fourth-and-1 at the 9, the Tigers elected to snap the ball quickly rather than calling a timeout. LSU came up short and gave the ball away.
LSU led 6-0 at the break after outgaining Georgia, 236-49. LSU ran 42 first-half plays and limited Georgia to only 18.
The Tigers received the ball to start the second half, and Jefferson had an awful series. The quarterback scrambled for a loss on first down before taking two sacks for 25 lost yards. Derek Helton punted from the endzone and Georgia started its drive in LSU territory on the 44.
Georgia overcame a second-and-20 with a 32-yard catch by Green along the right sideline. The Tigers defense hung tough, and forced a field goal attempt from 32 yards by Blair Walsh that was missed to the right.
LSU again went three-and-out when Jefferson's pass to LaFell was well short of the first-down marker. Helton's punt to the Georgia 40 was fair caught, and the Bulldogs began and epic drive that gave Georgia the lead.
The Bulldogs used Ealey on consecutive runs to gain a first down at the LSU 46. On third-and-3, Georgia converted its first of four third downs on the drive. The last of these convertions was a 9-yard completion to the LSU 3-yard line on a middle screen.
LSU's defense came up with three-straight stops at the goalline until fourth down when Cox faked a handoff and found Chapas for a 1-yard touchdown reception.
With 14:15 left to play, Georgia led 7-6 after the PAT by Walsh.
Later in the fourth quarter, a great punt by Jasper was downed at the Georgia 4-yard line by LaFell and led to a three-and-out by the Bulldogs.
LSU took over in perfect position at the Georgia 49, was again stymied by a sack and punted.
The Tigers defense against stopped Georgia near midfield, and the Tigers took over at their 12 with 6:47 to play.
Jefferson led the Tigers down the field with passes of 10, 16 and 16 to move into Georgia's side of the field. A 12-yard catch by Rueban Randle helped the Tigers overcome a penalty on first down, the Jefferson scrambled for 26 yards to the Georgia 13.
After a facemask penalty gave the Tigers first-and-goal at the 4-yard line, Shepard advanced to the 2 and Scott scored over left guard to give LSU a 12-7 lead with 2:53 left.
Jefferson was sacked on the two-point conversion attempt, but the 13-play, 88-yard drive gave the Tigers the advantage.
Despite it's shortcomings offensively, Georgia wasn't done. A 49-yard completion from Cox to King put Georgia at the LSU 16. Two plays later, Green made an amazing catch over the top of LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins to flip the scoreboard again, 13-12, with 1:09 to play.
The two-point conversion attempt failed, as Cox looked for Green on a slant that was well-defended. Georgia was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, pushing its kickoff back to the 15.
Holliday, a NCAA Track & Field sprint champion, returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to the Georgia 42 and LSU gained five more yards on an illegal formation penalty.
Scott ran for four yards to the 33, which was just at the limit of Jasper's range.
On second-and-6 and with the clock ticking under a minute, Scott then broke through the line of scrimmage and past the secondary to score a 33-yard touchdown that proved the game winner.
Jefferson's two-point pass to LaFell was successful and LSU led 20-13 with 46 seconds to play.
On Georgia's final drive, Cox was intercepted by Riley on third-and-16 from the Georgia 28. Officials reviewed the play and ruled that Riley stayed in-bounds.
LSU returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 10, when No. 1-ranked Florida comes to Tiger Stadium. Fans are encouraged to "Wear Gold" for the primetime game on CBS.
LSU vs. Georgia
Oct. 3, 2009 – Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 56 Perry Riley, 11 Kelvin Sheppard, 9 Jordan Jefferson and 8 Trindon Holliday.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Georgia received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (45), OG Lyle Hitt (25), LB Harry Coleman (18), RT Joseph Barksdale (18), TE Richard Dickson (18), RB Charles Scott (18) and CB Chris Hawkins (18).
4. LSU’s fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory is the 13th of Les Miles’ career at LSU and the Tigers’ 25th fourth-quarter comeback since 2000.
5. LSU broke a string of three straight losses to Georgia to increase the all-time series lead over the Bulldogs to 15-12-1. It also marks LSU’s first victory in Athens since the Tigers won 26-23 on Oct. 10, 1987. LSU had lost three straight in Sanford Stadium.
6. With the victory against Georgia, LSU head coach Les Miles has now defeated the other 11 teams in the Southeastern Conference.
7. LSU also snapped its losing streak on CBS. LSU had lost five straight games on the network until today. The Tigers went 0-5 a year ago. The win was the first on the network since the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta against Tennessee in 2007.
8. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 33 straight games (32 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. LaFell’s streak is the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 45 consecutive games with a catch.
b. LaFell caught three passes to bring his career total to 141, tying Craig Davis (2003-06) for eighth all time in LSU history.
c. LaFell caught a two-point conversion with 0:46 left in the game.
9. TE Richard Dickson extended his streak to 16 consecutive games with a reception.
a. Dickson moved into second place in LSU career receptions by a tight end with 80. He caught three passes today and now trails only Mitch Andrews (1982-85) for the school record of 87.
WR Terrance Toliver also extended his streak to 15 consecutive games with a reception by finishing with six catches for 76 yards.
10. PK Josh Jasper connected on a 23-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the first quarter and a 42-yard FG with 10:55 left in the second quarter. He now stands at 8-of-9 for the season and 10-of-11 for his career.
11. RB Charles Scott scored his first rushing touchdown of the season with a two-yard plunge with 2:53 left in the game to give the Tigers the lead.
a. Scott ran for his second touchdown of the game with 0:46 left in the game on a 33-yard scamper to give LSU the go-ahead points.
b. Scott ran for two touchdowns today, marking his 10th career multi-rushing TD game.
c. Scott’s two TD runs are the 29th and 30th of his career, surpassing Rondell Mealey for fifth on LSU’s all-time rushing TD list.
12. LB Perry Riley recorded his second career interception with 0:21 left in the game to preserve LSU’s victory. His first INT came last season on Nov. 28, 2008 at Arkansas.
LSU POST-GAME QUOTES
LSU Head Coach Les Miles:
On the game...
“Our opponent played awfully hard today. Our football team will beat you up and steal the game if you turn your back on them. I am so proud of our football team and it is fun being undefeated at this time. I told our team we need to own the time of possession and the kicking game to win. The most important characteristic of a football team is to find a way to win. I saw a selfless and a very difficult opponent today. We can't celebrate too much."
On the excessive celebration calls...
“I don’t know about the excessive celebration for Georgia. I have always instructed my team to turn their backs on someone if they were to celebrate."
On the defense...
"In the meeting room Friday night our defense said that we won't let them score. I thought that was a little ambitious."
Sophomore Cornerback, #7 Patrick Peterson
“I think we played well. I tip my hat off to the offense. They came through when we really needed them."
Senior Running Back, #32 Charles Scott
“It was just a matter of our offense getting going. Tonight we had more confidence and a little more consistency."