Much has been made about LSU's running game and their ability to simply pound the ball. Their season numbers are great. They have run the ball an average of 44 times a game with a 4.9 yards per carry. A closer look though shows that they have only been over that average in three games. In those three games they are averaging 6.8 yards per carry. In the other nine games they average only 4.22 yards per carry, a sliver under Georgia's season average of 4.26 yards per carry. Those three teams have an average rank of 87th in the country in yards per carry allowed. That shows that LSU can be slowed down a bit in the run game. When playing a solid defense.
The bad thing, for Georgia, is that LSU's three best running games have come in the past three games. Is that a matter of simply playing weaker teams against the run or has LSU's run game improved that much? One thing that LSU has done all season long with their running game is to be persistent. They have run the ball 40 or more times in 10 of their 12 games. The other two games they ran the ball 36 and 38 times.
Being persistent in the running game has paid off for them in the form of wearing teams down. In the first quarter LSU averages 8.5 carries a game for a 4.14 ypc average. In the second quarter they average 9 carries a game for a 4.45 ypc average. In the third and forth quarters they average 13.1 carries per game each quarter for exactly the same average of 5.31 yards per carry.
The way I see it is that LSU uses its deep group of running backs and stout offensive line to wear other teams defenses down over the course of a game. Teams might slow them down for a quarter or two but over the course of the game they are going to get their 44 carries for over 200 yards. Georgia will need to rotate defensive linemen and linebackers as much as possible to keep them fresh for the second half. The good news is that at the nose Jenkins and Geathers have both started and each plays about the same number of snaps. Tyson being able to come in and give them some snaps at end will be important coming off his ankle injury last week. The linebackers started out as a thin group but injuries forcing guys to play has turned out to be a major plus once everyone got healthy. Jones, Herrera, Ogletree, Washington, Robinson, Gilliard, Drew and Vasser have all played big roles at some point this season. The ability to rotate them should help keep them fresh and give them the chance to not wear down against the relentless LSU rushing attack. Of course that is easier said than done.