Instant analysis: LSU 42, Georgia 10

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
8:10
PM ET
How the game was won: Despite dominating the first half with a suffocating defense, Georgia led only 10-7 at the break. When the Bulldogs turned the ball over twice on their first three drives of the second half and LSU's Tyrann Mathieu returned a punt 47 yards to set up a short field on the other, the Tigers turned a three-point deficit into a 28-10 lead with quick touchdown drives.

Turning point: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray fumbled at his 27-yard line, and LSU's Mathieu recovered, to end the Bulldogs' first possession of the third quarter. LSU needed only two plays to score a touchdown -- on a 15-yard Kenny Hilliard run -- to take a 14-10 lead after mustering only 12 total yards in the first half.

Player of the game: Mathieu. The Honey Badger helped tilt the game in LSU's favor with his trademark ball-hawking on defense and his dynamic kick-return skills. Mathieu returned a punt for a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter and his 47-yard return in the third quarter set up another touchdown. His fumble recovery at Georgia's 27 set up yet another score.

What it means: LSU removed any doubt that it belongs in the BCS title game -- not that much doubt existed -- by blowing past the Bulldogs in the second half. Georgia's upset hopes were intact for a half, but the Bulldogs' BCS bowl dreams died a quick death in the third quarter. They are still in play for perhaps three bowl games -- and could play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

Record performance: 18. LSU's offense didn't score a touchdown in the first half, but Tigers tailback Kenny Hilliard matched an SEC title game scoring record in the third quarter alone. Hilliard scored touchdowns of 15, 4 and 8 yards in the third quarter to notch a record three touchdowns and 18 points in the game.

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