No. 2 Ge­or­gia gets tough­est test yet at No. 13 LSU

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS -

BA­TON ROUGE, LA. >> LSU run­ning back Nick Bros­sette said he’s been look­ing for­ward to play­ing Ge­or­gia “for a long time now,” and would search the in­ter­net for a tele­cast of the last time the Bull­dogs played in Tiger Sta­dium.

The video from 2008 shows a Ge­or­gia squad that fea­tured Matthew Stafford, A.J. Green and Know­shon Moreno — and which hardly looked in­tim­i­dated by the en­vi­ron­ment in Death Val­ley while post­ing 52 points in a twotouch­down vic­tory.

A decade later, the Bull­dogs (60, 4-0 SEC) re­turn with a No. 2 rank­ing, an un­blem­ished record and a ros­ter full of pro­duc­tive play­ers who, on one hand, ex­pect their tough­est chal­lenge of the sea­son so far, and on the other, sound very confident they’ll han­dle it — even though none of the teams they’ve played so far are cur­rently ranked.

“We’ve been tested,” Ge­or­gia tight end Isaac Nauta said. “We be­lieve that some of the best com­pe­ti­tion we’re go­ing to play is in prac­tice.”

Ge­or­gia quar­ter­back Jake Fromm is threat­en­ing to eclipse for­mer Ken­tucky quar­ter­back Tim Couch’s 1998 SEC sin­gle sea­son com­ple­tion per­cent­age record of 72.3. The Bull­dogs have a host of pro­duc­tive run­ning backs who’ve com­bined to av­er­age 245 yards rush­ing per game. And Ge­or­gia’s de­fense is among the stingi­est in the na­tion, al­low­ing 13 points per game.

Vir­ginia looks to fin­ish job in re­match vs. No. 16 Mi­ami

CHAR­LOTTESVILLE, VA. >> Vir­ginia’s last meet­ing with Mi­ami looked like it was go­ing to be a high­light of the Bronco Men­den­hall Era — un­til it turned sour.

The Cava­liers (3-2, 1-1 ACC) hope that if they get a lead this year against Mi­ami, they will hold onto it when Vir­ginia hosts the No. 16 Hur­ri­canes (5-1, 2-0) on Satur­day night.

Vir­ginia led 28-14 early in the third quar­ter at Mi­ami a year ago, but two touch­downs — one de­fen­sive — in a span of seven se­conds pulled the Hur­ri­canes even, and they scored the last 30 points in a 44-28 vic­tory.

The game was on play­ers’ minds as they pre­pared this week, along with a de­sire to make a state­ment.

“I think it’s a huge op­por­tu­nity,” line­backer Charles Snow­den said of the 7 p.m. start. “You don’t get to play ranked teams on prime-time TV ev­ery week­end. So I think our team is ready to get up for the chal­lenge, and we’re re­ally ex­cited. It’s kind of like a do-over from last year . ... We had ‘em on the ropes and we let it get away.”

Turnovers were key to Mi­ami’s rally — a 30-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for touch­down tied the game — but the Cava­liers are in­tent on keep­ing Mi­ami’s now in­fa­mous turnover chain dor­mant at Scott Sta­dium.

Buck­eyes seek­ing more from ground game vs. Min­nesota

COLUM­BUS, OHIO >> Ohio State quar­ter­back Dwayne Hask­ins Jr. has been light­ing up the score­board with touch­down passes. Next up is Min­nesota, and the No. 3 Buck­eyes will try to get their run­ning game back on track.

Star tail­backs J.K. Dob­bins and Mike We­ber com­bined for just 3.2 yards per carry in the last two games. The fo­cus will in­volve more push from the of­fen­sive line when the Buck­eyes host the Go­phers on Satur­day.

Short-yardage sit­u­a­tions have trig­gered some stress on the Ohio State side­line.

Hask­ins leads the na­tion with 25 touch­down passes and is on track to break school records this sea­son. He’s also a drop-back guy and less likely to grind it out in short-yardage sit­u­a­tions for the Buck­eyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).

Meyer liked hav­ing the “Q run” in his back pocket when du­althreat quar­ter­back J.T. Bar­rett was there. The coach ac­knowl­edged some talk among coaches about hav­ing shifty backup quar­ter­back Tate Martell come in the game on short-yardage sit­u­a­tions.

“Third-and-1 is tough right now,” Meyer said.

Min­nesota (3-2, 0-2) has deeper prob­lems, hav­ing ab­sorbed sea­son-end­ing in­juries to two of its best play­ers — run­ning back Rod­ney Smith and safety An­toine Win­field Jr. The Go­phers start true fresh­man walk-on quar­ter­back Zack An­nexs­tad , who has thrown five in­ter­cep­tions in the past two games. Fresh­men and sopho­mores are car­ry­ing the load on of­fense.

But ever-op­ti­mistic coach P.J. Fleck likes his team’s growth, de­spite the Go­phers drop­ping the first two con­fer­ence games.

“I hope ev­ery­one can see what we’re be­com­ing, be­cause I can,” he said.

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