By Stewart Mandel
October 03, 2009

The LSU Tigers are living dangerously. They're severely flawed. But they're 5-0, ranked fourth in the country and just gained a gigantic boost of confidence heading into next week's showdown with No. 1 Florida.

After struggling offensively for three-plus quarters at Georgia, after seeing the game nearly slip away from them on a phenomenal A.J. Green touchdown catch with just 1:17 left, the Tigers still managed to leave Sanford Stadium with a 20-13 victory Saturday after star running back Charles Scott -- headliner of a previously non-existent LSU running game -- slipped two tackles and burst for a game-winning 33-yard touchdown.

The game's epic finish (the lead changed hands three times in the final three minutes) will undoubtedly be marred by controversy. Officials called a seemingly unwarranted excessive celebration flag on Green following his go-ahead score, moving Georgia's ensuing kickoff back 15 yards. The Dawgs couldn't bring down Trindon Holliday on his 40-yard kick return which, combined with another penalty, set up LSU at the Georgia 38.

The Tigers were averaging just 2.7 yards per carry on the afternoon, but Scott gained five yards on his first attempt, then dashed to the end zone with 54 seconds left. A subsequent Perry Riley interception of Dawgs QB Joe Cox sealed the deal.

Prior to those dramatic final minutes, this was a painful game to watch. Georgia (3-2) came in ranked 74th nationally in total offense and LSU 105th, and both teams looked it -- heading into the final minutes, the score stood 7-6 Georgia. Picking up where it left off in last week's escape at Mississippi State, the Tigers' offensive line struggled mightily (especially with an apparent flu bug taking down three guards during the game) as the Dawgs sacked Jordan Jefferson five times.

The whole time, one couldn't help thinking: These are the toughest remaining opponents on Florida's schedule?

LSU will have a lot going it for it next weekend in Death Valley -- a raucous home crowd and, most notably, the possibility Tim Tebow either won't play or won't be fully recovered from his concussion -- but the Tigers will need an inspired performance to knock off the Gators. The offense we saw for most of the day Saturday wouldn't stand a chance against Brandon Spikes and the Florida D. LSU's best hope is that the late-game heroics of Jefferson (who engineered an 88-yard go-ahead touchdown drive prior to Green's score) and Scott will spark a breakthrough.

Georgia, meanwhile, has another month before its Jacksonville date with Florida, and the Dawgs have plenty of work to do before then. Green continues to make a case he's the most dangerous receiver in the country, but Georgia managed just 44 yards rushing on the day and committed more costly penalties.

Obviously, if Tebow isn't healthy, all bets are off next week in Baton Rouge. As it stands today, however, the defending champs have no business losing to either team we saw today.

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