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Mike Griffith / DawgNation
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said LSU presents the greatest challenge he's faced as a head coach

Kirby Smart: LSU presents ‘greatest challenge’ of his Georgia head coaching tenure

ATHENS — Kirby Smart says facing LSU is the “greatest challenge” the Georgia football program has undertaken since he became head coach four years ago.

The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs are a touchdown underdog to the No. 2-ranked Tigers in the SEC Championship Game at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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“It’s as explosive of a team as I’ve ever seen on tape,” Smart said. “This will be as great a challenge as we’ve had since I’ve been here, as far as playing an opponent.

“They have an outstanding all-around team. It’s a tremendous opportunity to  measure where you are when you get an opportunity to play a team like this that’s firing on all cylinders.”

LSU is coming off a dominant 50-7 win over Texas A&M — a team Georgia beat just 19-13 a week earlier.

The Bulldogs lead the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense, but Smart expects to be challenged.

“We don’t have the natural star power on our defense,” Smart said. “A lot of the defenses I’ve coached had three or four first-rounders.

“This group plays hard and plays together.”

Smart said LSU has star power at quarterback, running back and receiver, along with five returning offensive linemen with starting experience.

“This obviously will be the ultimate test,” Smart said. “(LSU has) the best offensive unit we’ve played, all the way around, and it’s really not even close.”

Smart joked he may have relished the challenge of preparing his team for such a strong opponent “until about yesterday (Sunday) afternoon when I started watching the tape, you realize there really aren’t weaknesses.”

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