UGA: Under-Dogs eager for 'test' with LSU

Friday, January 1, 1904

photo Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings said Tuesday that Bulldogs players are just as good as those of top-ranked LSU and that the Georgia defense is better.

BOWLING OPTIONSBowl bids go out this Sunday, and the Bulldogs still have four options for which to spend their New Year:Sugar Bowl - The Bulldogs would play in New Orleans as the SEC champion with a win Saturday over LSU.Capital One Bowl - Should the Bulldogs lose to LSU, they could go to Orlando, as the Capital One has the first selection of SEC teams not in BCS bowls.Outback Bowl -- Should the Bulldogs lose and the Capital One select South Carolina, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas would have the next pick and could select Arkansas.Cotton Bowl -- Should the Bulldogs lose and the Capital One select Arkansas, the Outback Bowl in Tampa would have the next pick and could select South Carolina.

ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said Monday that the Bulldogs are just as good defensively as LSU, if not better.

Cornerback Sanders Commings made it even clearer Tuesday that Georgia will be anything but intimidated Saturday at the Georgia Dome. The No. 12 Bulldogs opened Sunday as 10-point underdogs to the No. 1 Tigers, and the spread jumped to 13.5 in just two days.

"They've played well this year, but our players are just as good as theirs," Commings said. "Our defense, I think, is better than theirs, so I am not really worried about how good they say they are or that people are saying we don't have a chance. With the way we're playing right now, I don't think anybody can run on us or throw on us.

"Our test will be Saturday, and it's going to be interesting to hear what people say once we pass this test."

Asked if he thought his comments might be used as motivation for the Tigers, Commings quickly replied, "We want them to be motivated. We want them to give us their best shot, because that's what we want to do."

LSU went 12-0 overall and 8-0 in SEC play for the first time in program history, outscoring six league foes by at least 24 points. The Tigers yielded 67 points in league play, their fewest since 1962.

Georgia rebounded from an 0-2 start to win 10 consecutive games, but that accomplishment is not being held in high esteem by comparison.

"We have to come out with the mentality that we're not scared and we're not intimidated," Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray said. "We're not going to be bullied. We deserve to be there, just like they do."

The Bulldogs admit they will have to play their best game yet to win. Georgia's premier performance to this point was its 45-7 dismantling of Auburn, a game the Bulldogs led 35-7 at halftime.

LSU beat Auburn 45-10 and led 42-3 after three quarters.

"I don't think you go into any game saying, 'I want to play mediocre today,'" Murray said. "You want to go in with the mentality that this is the best game I'm going to play. For me, I know I've got to be extremely accurate, because those windows are going to be pretty tight."

Said receiver Michael Bennett: "They think that their guy can beat our guy, and that might be the case. They are a great team, and you can't put that past you. We will have to play a darn near perfect game, but I think we're capable of doing that."

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was asked what it would take to topple the Tigers and quickly pointed to turnover margin, where LSU is plus-19 this season and Georgia is plus-10.

"I'm a broken record on the turnover ratio, but that's huge," he said. "If we can come out of there and win that part of the game, we've got a lot better chance of winning it. You don't want to give up the big play on special teams.

"I just think that we have to look at our strengths and play to those and just get after it. That's really what it's going to come down to. It's going to be a good football game."

And one Georgia plans to approach without reservation.

"We don't fear anybody," Commings said.