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1 Georgia vs. 14 LSU: SEC Championship Prediction

SEC Championship prediction
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

What is At Stake?

When the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs take on the No. 11 ranked LSU Tigers Saturday in the SEC Championship game, the Bulldogs will attempt to secure the top seed in the upcoming college football playoffs by beating their conference foe.

On the other hand, LSU will be looking to finish their first season under new head coach Brian Kelly with 10 wins and earn a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games. The Tigers (9-3, 6-2 SEC) had a miraculous turnaround this season, winning the vaunted SEC West with a sweep of the division. A 32-31 overtime thriller against No. 6 ranked Alabama at home was included in that finish.

A loss would not prevent the Bulldogs from making the playoffs, but winning ensures the perceived easiest opponent remaining. Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC) has won all but one game by double-digit margins, easily proving their value as the top-ranked team in the country. Five of those victories are against ranked teams, including dismantling the previously-unbeaten Tennessee Volunteers 27-13 last month.

Why LSU Will Win

The Tigers have the better signal caller. Junior Jayden Daniels is the biggest reason LSU has been firing on all cylinders offensively, with the dual-threat completing nearly 69 percent of his passes for 2,566 yards and 15 TDs. Daniels has rushed 174 times on the ground for 824 yards and 11 TDs.

Sophomore WR Malik Nabers is Daniels’ top target, nabbing 58 receptions for 726 yards and a score. WR Kayshon Boutte is also lethal. Despite missing two games this season, the dynamic junior has 42 receptions for 431 yards and a TD and draws special attention from his opponent’s secondary.

While Daniels is the leading rusher, RB Josh Williams is expected to play in the championship contest. Although Williams hasn’t played since the Arkansas victory on November 12, the junior runner remains the Tigers’ second-leading rusher with 91 attempts for 477 yards and six TDs on the year.

Defensively, Harold Perkins, Jr. is why LSU will stay close to Georgia. The freshman LB is third on the team in tackles with 59 and leading the Tigers with 7.5 sacks, including four in the Arkansas contest where Perkins suffered from the flu. Perkins is also tied for the team lead in forced fumbles, leading to LSU owning an SEC-best 10 fumble recoveries.

Why Georgia Will Win

It’s been nearly a year since Georgia last suffered a loss, ripping off 14-straight victories since falling to Alabama in the SEC Championship contest last season. Since that contest, the Bulldogs have relied on an overwhelming defense to set it apart from the rest of college football.

Georgia has yielded only 12 opponent TDs during the regular season, easily the best mark in the NCAA, by allowing a paltry 11.33 points per outing. The Bulldogs are the second-best rushing defense in the country, surrendering only 79 yards each game on the ground.

Georgia LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson is a big reason the Bulldogs’ defense stifles opponents. The sophomore is second on the team with 59 tackles and leads the team with three sacks on the season. Fellow LB Smael Mondon, Jr. ranks third on the team with 59 tackles, including 25 in the last three games of the regular season. Offensively, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett is enjoying his best season.

The senior signal caller completes 67 percent of his passes for 3,151 yards and 16 TDs. His top target is NFL-caliber TE Brock Bowers, who has a team-best in catches (46), yards (645), and TDs (5). RB Kenny McIntosh leads the team in all rushing categories with 123 carries for 654 yards and eight TDs.

Predicted Outcome

LSU enters the game as a 17.5-point underdog to Georgia as oddsmakers have all but crowned the Bulldogs as SEC champs before the title contest. Despite Vegas doubting LSU, fans should expect the two teams to remain within seven points of each other throughout the first half due to the Tigers’ motivation to prove the pundits wrong.

While sheer will should make this game close early on, sheer dominance on defense will carry Georgia to its first SEC Championship trophy since 2017 and end the Bulldogs’ three-game winless streak in the conference title game. Georgia’s pass rush capabilities will force Daniels into making poor decisions, and the Bulldogs’ rushing attack will wear down LSU’s front seven.

The Bulldogs pull away late and cover their lofty spread against the Tigers.

Georgia 35, LSU 24

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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