Offense vs Defense: No. 1 LSU vs No. 4 Georgia for SEC title

NCAA Football
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No. 1 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC, No. 2 CFP) vs. No. 4 Georgia (11-1, 7-1, No. 4) in Atlanta, Saturday at 4 p.m. EST (CBS).

Line: LSU by 7.

Series record: LSU leads 17-13-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Georgia needs to knock off the unbeaten Tigers to earn a berth in the four-team College Football Playoff. If the Bulldogs lose, they’ll likely have to settle for either the Sugar or Orange Bowl as a consolation prize. Given the quality wins on its schedule (Alabama, Auburn, Florida), LSU is probably headed to the playoff even with a loss to Georgia.

KEY MATCHUP

LSU’s offense vs. Georgia’s defense. The Tigers rank second in the nation at 48.7 points per game and have been held below 36 points in only one contest (a 23-20 victory over Auburn). LSU has scored at least 50 points in its last three games but figures to find a much tougher go of it against Georgia’s stout defense. The Bulldogs have allowed the second-fewest points in FBS (10.4 per game) while posting three shutouts for the first time since 1981.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LSU: QB Joe Burrow. Already a big favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, he’ll be looking to finish off what’s left of the competition with another dazzling performance. Turning the Tigers into an offensive juggernaut, he has completed more than 78% of his passes (314 of 401) for 4,366 yards, with 44 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Georgia: RB D’Andre Swift. The junior has rushed for 1,203 yards (6.2 average) and seven touchdowns, but he went out of last week’s victory over Georgia Tech with a shoulder injury. While Swift appeared to be in great pain as he left the field, coach Kirby Smart downplayed the injury and said his star runner should be able to go in the SEC championship.

FACTS & FIGURES

Georgia’s receiving corps will be without one of its top receivers for the entire game, and another for the first half. Lawrence Cager (33 receptions, 4 TDs) appears done for the season after undergoing ankle surgery last week. George Pickens (33 catches, 6 TDs ) will have to sit out the first two quarters as punishment for throwing a punch at a Georgia Tech player, leading to his ejection from the regular-season finale. … While LSU’s offense gets most of the attention, the defense is coming off its best performance of the season. The Tigers had six sacks, three interceptions, recorded a safety and gave up just 169 yards in a 50-7 win over Texas A&M. … LSU posted its first perfect regular season since 2011, which also marked its last appearance in the SEC championship. … Georgia is making its third straight appearance in the conference title game.

More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

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