BATON ROUGE - LSU is elite again.
The No. 12 Tigers, a touchdown underdog entering the game, dominated No. 2 Georgia in a 36-16 victory in front of a Tiger Stadium full of loud humans - not silent tickets sold - at 102,321 capacity on a wild Saturday afternoon.
It was the most significant victory for LSU (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) since it last beat a No. 2 ranked team - 9-6 at Alabama on Nov. 5, 2011, when the Tigers were No. 1.
And yes, LSU students and fans stormed the field. The SEC office will announce the fine on Monday.
"I think this says we're pretty good," said LSU linebacker Devin White, who led both teams with 13 tackles and recovered a fumble. "We shouldn't have lost last week (27-19 at Florida). We'd still be undefeated, and it would be a different story. But we threw everything behind us. We were not going to let up. We had a let up last week. Now, we're back on pace, and we're going to keep it going."
The Tigers will likely return to the top 10 on Sunday going into another home game against No. 24 Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at 6 p.m. next Saturday on ESPN. State was open Saturday. Then after LSU takes an open week, it hosts No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3.
"I grew up with LSU football," said LSU coach Ed Orgeron, a native of Larose. "You could just feel it all week. This was going to be one of those games at Tiger Stadium. I'm just glad to be a part of it. Our players feed off the crowd in here. The crowd's going to do the motivation for us, and they did. These guys beat the No. 2 team in the country. We were hearing all that stuff about them being a dynasty."
Georgia, which won the SEC and played for the national championship last season, fell to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC with just its second regular season loss out of the last 19. The Bulldogs became the highest ranked team to lose at Tiger Stadium since No. 1 Florida fell, 28-21, to No. 14 LSU on Oct. 11, 1997.
The last time LSU beat a team ranked higher than No. 2 anywhere was No. 1 Ohio State by 38-24 in the national championship game on Jan. 7, 2008, when LSU was ranked No. 2.
"Georgia is a national contender," Orgeron said. "We're an up and coming football team."
Georgia came in with the No. 1 defense in the SEC and No. 6 in the nation with 283 yards allowed. LSU shredded that with 475, including 275 on the ground with 145 on 19 carries by tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed 15 of 30 passes for 200 yards and rushed 13 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns with a 59-yard jaunt to set up LSU's last touchdown with 4:14 to play.
Meanwhile, LSU's defense limited Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm - the SEC's third most efficient passer - to 16-of-34 passing for 209 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. The Bulldogs managed just 322 total yards - 163 below its average.
"Obviously, we didn't play our best football today," said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, whose team played its first ranked opponent of the season. "I thought LSU did a hell of a job. We have a standard at Georgia that we play to, and we didn't do that today. Offensively, we couldn't get any rhythm, and it's frustrating."
LSU led 16-0 at halftime before Georgia finally scored on a 40-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship with 9:03 to play in the third quarter.
The Tigers came right back with a 24-yard field goal by Cole Tracy to extend their lead to 19-3 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
Georgia finally scored its first touchdown after a 75-yard drive with tailback Elijah Holyfield - son of former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield - scoring on a 10-yard run with seven seconds to play in the third quarter to get the Bulldogs within 19-9. Georgia went for two, but tailback D'Andre Swift was stopped short of the goal.
LSU immediately answered with an impressive, 86-yard drive in six plays to take a 26-9 lead with 9:31 to play.
"We needed that drive, no question," Orgeron said. "The momentum was changing. It was swinging their way."
LSU kept it swinging back its way on the ensuing kickoff when Georgia's Mecole Hardman coughed up the return after a hit by cornerback Ed Paris. LSU kicker Avery Atkins recovered at the Georgia 14. Tracy then booted a 30-yard field goal for a 29-9 lead with 7:20 to go.
Georgia got within 29-16 with six minutes to play on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to wide receiver Riley Ridley, but the game was over.
Burrow busted a 59-yard run around end on a keeper to the Georgia 4-yard line. Tailback Nick Brossette, who gained 64 yards on 16 carries, scored from there with 4:14 to play for a 36-16 LSU lead.
The Tigers drove 84 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal, 1-yard sneak by Burrow to take a 10-0 lead with 13:46 to go in the second quarter. A 46-yard run up the middle by Edwards-Helaire to the Georgia 7-yard line on the last play of the first quarter set up the touchdown.
Edwards-Helaire led all rushers in the first half with 77 yards on eight carries.
LSU's defense stuffed Georgia again and got the ball back. Burrow then found wide receiver Justin Jefferson for a 50-yard completion to set up a 36-yard field goal by Tracy for a 13-0 lead with 11:22 to go before halftime.
Tracy added a 39-yard field goal with 5:09 to go in the first half for the 16-0 halftime lead.
LSU outgained Georgia, 246 yards to 124 in the first half and forced five punts. Burrow completed 10 of 19 passes for 136 yards, while Fromm was but 5 of 16 for 47 yards.
After each team traded punts to open the game, LSU took a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal by Tracy with 9:32 to play in the first quarter.
A 37-yard pass from Burrow to true freshman wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to the Georgia 20 set up the field goal.
Georgia drove to a 31-yard field goal attempt, but faked it on fourth and nine from the LSU 14 and failed to make the first down. After catching a pitch from holder Jake Camarda, Blankenship was stopped for a loss of two yards by safety Grant Delpit, who forced a fumble on the play. White recovered for LSU on the Tigers' 16-yard line, but they were getting the ball anyway.
"I thought it would be a big moment for us," Smart said. "I didn't think that was the end of the momentum for us, just that it hurt us at the time."
LSU took that 84 yards for the 10-0 lead. Burrow hit tight end Foster Moreau on a 12-yard pass on the drive and had a 5-yard completion to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
The score quieted a mass of red throughout Tiger Stadium as it is believed Georgia has brought the most visiting fans ever to an LSU home game. Georgia received an allotment of 6,000 tickets from LSU, but it appeared to have twice that with tickets available via other markets.
They did not start the journey home happy.
"I do believe we were to blame for the Florida loss," Orgeron said. "I do believe there was a hunger. When we play well, we can play with most teams in the country."