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UGA’s Jones Says His Team’s Defense Is As Good “If Not Better” Than LSU’s… Is He Right?

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is the first player this week to provide a little bulletin board material in the run-up to the SEC Championship Game.  During the SEC’s teleconference with UGA and LSU players yesterday, Jones was asked how he thought the two defenses stacked up against one another.  His response:

“I mean, everybody praises LSU’s defense, but I know we’ve got a pretty good defense.  We’re not cocky at all.  We’re just going to play.  We do our job and get after it on the field.  We like having fun.  We love playing football.  We’re aggressive.  We play just as well as them.  A lot of people don’t give us credit (for) how we play.  I think we play two different styles.

I think our defense is just as good as theirs, if not better.”

When that line hit Twitter, several LSU players saw it.  Tyrann Mathieu — known for his talking and tweeting abilities – gave it a pass (surprisingly).  But Tiger receiver Russell Shephard tweeted, “is this guy serious?”

So was Jones being serious?  Here’s how the defenses stack up nationally after 12 games:

National Scoring Defense — LSU #2 (10.6 ppg), Georgia #10 (17.8 ppg)

National Rushing Defense — LSU #4 (86.0 ypg), Georgia #6 (94.7 ypg)

National Passing Defense — LSU #6 (162.3 ypg), Georgia #11 (176.3 ypg)

National Total Defense — LSU #2 (248.4 ypg), Georgia #5 (271.1 ypg)

And here’s how they match up in the SEC after eight conference games a piece:

SEC Scoring Defense — LSU #1 (8.4 ppg), Georgia #4 (18.1 ppg)

SEC Rushing Defense — Georgia #2 (72.0 ypg), LSU #3 (92.8 ypg)

SEC Passing Defense — LSU #2 (131.1 ypg), Georgia #4 (177.3 ypg)

SEC Total Defense — LSU #2 (224.0 ypg), Georgia #3 (249.3 ypg)

The numbers are still pretty close, so let’s look at how the clubs faired against six common opponents:

Opponent Pts All. UGA Tot. Yds All. UGA Pts All. LSU Tot. Yds All. LSU
Miss. State 10 213 6 193
Kentucky 10 165 7 155
Florida 20 226 11 213
Tennessee 12 270 7 239
Auburn 7 195 10 248
Ole Miss 13 183 3 195

Anyway you slice it, Georgia’s defense is indeed comparable to LSU’s.  And that’s really saying something.

But it’s hard to make the case that Todd Grantham’s unit is actually better than John Chavis’ guys.  The Tigers have outperformed the Bulldogs on the field in just about every category.  Not all and not by much, but they have had the better season.

Of course, on Saturday Georgia’s defense will just need to have a better game than LSU’s.  If the Dawgs pull that one off, you can toss all the stats out the window.

 


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