ATLANTA — Georgia coach Kirby Smart kept it simple and direct in defeat Saturday night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
LSU’s superiority was obvious, for all the Xs and Os Smart and the Bulldogs’ staff could scheme up, the Tigers’ record-setting offense was simply too dynamic in the 37-10 win.
RECAP: How LSU beat Georgia in SEC title game, scoring, injuries
“I give them a lot of credit,” Smart said. “We had three man, four man, five man rush, played seven DBs. We had a lot of different looks.”
It didn’t matter, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was phenomenal, 28-of-38 passing for 349 yards and four touchdowns.
Burrow was elusive in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield despite onrushing defenders on several occasions, side-stepping and shuffling to open field. Burrow also tucked the ball, carrying 9 times for 53 yards, numbers offset in the final box by 2 sacks for a loss of 12 yards.
“I’ve been in this league for a long time, and I don’t know that I’ve seen the combination of things they’ve got,” Smart said. “They’ve got an elite quarterback that’s a really good athlete. They have a back that is a matchup guy. He can match up on anybody and go in. They’ve got really good wideouts, and they’ve got an experienced offensive line.”
Smart pointed out LSU’s synchronization was aided by maintaining the health of the receivers, whereas Georgia sustained a big hit to the receiving corps with four of its top receivers out by the end of the first half with injuries or via George Pickens’ suspension.
“It is scheme oriented, but it’s a lot more than scheme,” Smart said. “They have plays that they’ve run all year, that we’ve run all year. Our plays haven’t looked like their plays because a lot of times we might not have the same guys doing those plays.”
Smart defended quarterback Jake Fromm, who was 20-of-42 passing for 225 yards and a touchdown, leaving the game with an ankle injury that left him with a noticeable limp after the game.
“The first two years, Jake’s numbers were better, so the indicator of that was four wide receivers were on our sideline that were drafted that are playing in the NFL,” Smart said. “And the loss of those wideouts, the vertical threat, has probably hurt our team. That’s my responsibility, right, to replace them. That’s my responsibility to replace them in recruiting, and we probably haven’t done a good enough job of that.”
Smart pointed out that injuries at the position affected the continuity and timing.
“We had two or three out different games of the year, so we’ve not had a consistent group out there,” Smart said. “Went out and grabbed some transfers we thought would help. A lot of those things fall on it. People can point at Jake, they can point at Coley, they can point at me. I don’t know how many drops we had tonight, but I feel like we had to have had five or six that you could say should have probably been caught.
“And we would have been more explosive if that was the case. I don’t mean that in disrespect. If we had really good wideouts, we’re more explosive.”
Kirby Smart postgame
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