Georgia vs. LSU score, highlights: No. 13 Tigers throttle No. 2 Bulldogs to make statement in SEC

No. 13 LSU kept itself right in the middle of the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff race with one of the best wins we've seen all year in college football, riding a dominant defense to a 36-16 win against No. 2 Georgia.

By responding to the loss at Florida with a win, LSU answered critics who began to doubt a resume that listed Auburn and Miami as its best wins. And if there's any critics left doubting Ed Orgeron's ability to return LSU to SEC championship contention that defined a decade in the 2000s, they are running out of reasons to doubt what's been a breakthrough season for the coach and program in Baton Rouge.

The program that has touted itself as "DBU" throughout the years flexed its muscles in making life miserable for Jake Fromm and the Georgia passing attack. Grant Delpit -- who has been one of the best defensive backs in the country this year -- was all over the field making plays, John Battle was great in run support and Kristian Fulton, who missed two years before reinstated by the NCAA after a suspension for a tampered drug test, had his best moment as a college player with this brilliant display of athleticism to bring down an interception in Georgia territory.

For Georgia, this is not the end of the road by any means. The Bulldogs still have everything ahead of them -- the SEC East, the College Football Playoff and even a national championship -- but now there is zero margin for error. We always knew that this stretch of four games was going to be tough for Kirby Smart's team, but this loss on Saturday not only eliminated any margin for error moving forward but exposed some issues that could make going undefeated the rest of the way a challenge.

1. One slight adjustment made all the difference: Ed Orgeron and Dave Aranda may have had the coaching move of the week in the first half, changing the alignment of the defensive front after Georgia had shown some success running the ball early. Orgeron said after the game they mixed up their shade technique and their linebackers were freed up to settle in and make contact with Georgia's running backs instead of getting caught out of position. 

  • Georgia 1st Quarter Rushing: 11 attempts, 6.3 yards per carry 
  • Georgia 2nd Quarter Rushing: 5 attempts, 1.6 yards per carry 

To this point in the season, there's not another coach in the country who has a better argument for Coach of the Year than Orgeron. He's gotten himself into a spot with this team that few expected to see, even given the talent on this Tigers roster. Aranda is one of the best coordinators in the country, and certainly deserves similar praise for the defensive adjustments in this game, but Orgeron has the final say on several crucial decisions and nearly every one of them paid off. LSU was 4 for 4 on fourth down, and when Orgeron opted not to go for it and punt instead, the result was not only pinning Georgia deep in its own territory, but a Jake Fromm interception on the following drive. 

2. Georgia's status as a national championship contender in doubt: The sky is not falling for Georgia. The Bulldogs lost on the road to what may be one of the better teams in the country, and that, in a vacuum, is not worth selling all of the stock following one result. But that result did expose the difference between Georgia's potential and where it's at this point of the season. There is still a lot of room for improvement on offense, a concern that's now evident after the Bulldogs' size and talent advantage -- a factor in every one of Georgia's games prior to this point -- was taken away against an opponent like LSU. Georgia's roster has championship potential, but in order to beat teams with equal size and talent, it's going to have to get better at execution.  

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CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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