LSU change foils kicker’s run try
BATON ROUGE, La. — Georgia redshirt junior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is very accurate on field-goal attempts, automatic on extra-point tries and leads the nation in touchbacks.
His rushing career never took off in Saturday’s 36-16 loss at LSU.
After Georgia took its second possession 59 yards on 12 plays, headed by the ground gains of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield, the Bulldogs stalled at LSU’s 14-yard line and opted for a Blankenship field goal. Blankenship took a pitch from holder Jake Camarda but did not have an opening and was quickly stuffed by Tigers safety Grant Delpit.
“We thought that the look was going to be there,” Blankenship said. “We had repped it all week, and we wanted to be aggressive early in the game and try and give some momentum to our team and take the crowd out of it a little bit. We said the look was there, so we ran it, but they played it a little differently after the snap, so it didn’t come to fruition there.”
Delpit caused a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Devin White at the 16.
“It was the look that we wanted,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “We thought it was perfect. They had one guy out there, and we were going to block him, but one of their guys ended up not rushing. He had rushed every other time, but he fell into the play and made it.
“When it doesn’t work, it’s a bad call, and I’m the first to admit it. We certainly felt good about it and thought it was there.”
One of the key stats in LSU’s victory was fourth-down conversions, with the Tigers going 4-for-4 with quarterback sneaks by Joe Burrow accounting for three of them. The first of Burrow’s sneaks gave LSU a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, and his second one occurred later in the second quarter from LSU’s 38-yard line.
When the Tigers faced a fourth down, they often operated quickly to try to catch the Bulldogs before they could get set.
“They can go as fast as they want to go as long as they don’t substitute,” Smart said. “We have multiple calls on fourthand-1 that we use to try and go quick, and they did a good job and took some good risks in getting those conversions with sneaks.
“The key is that you don’t want to be in fourth-and-1. It’s hard to stop those plays. Give them credit, because they kept the ball on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1. They kept our defense on the field.”
Several longtime members of LSU’s athletic department said Georgia had more support inside Tiger Stadium on Saturday than any opponent in the last 40 years.
“Our fans follow us everywhere we go,” Smart said. “I thought they did an unbelievable job of staying in the game with us and trying to bring us back. We’ve got a great group of fans, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Said quarterback Jake Fromm: “It was loud, but it was really no big deal. We communicated just fine. We just have to make more plays.”
Odds and ends
Georgia trails the series with LSU 17-13-1. … The Bulldogs were plus-six in turnover margin before being minus-four Saturday. … Georgia was shut out in the first half Saturday for the first time since the 2016 Auburn game, which ended up a 13-7 Bulldogs victory. … Senior center Lamont Gaillard started his team-high 35th consecutive game.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is sacked by LSU linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. during the third quarter Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.