ATHENS, Ga. -- Sixth-ranked LSU and No. 9 Georgia stood toe to toe Saturday at Sanford Stadium, trading haymakers that would have made Floyd Mayweather proud.
In the end, Georgia landed the final blow, scoring with 1:47 left and holding on to beat the Tigers 44-41.
Jeremy Hill gave LSU a 41-37 lead with an 8-yard run before Georgia got the ball one more time with 4:41 to play.
Aaron Murray drove the Bulldogs back, reclaiming the lead with a 25-yard pass to Justin Scott-Wesley with 1:47 remaining.
With the crowd roaring, Zach Mettenberger completed a first-down pass to the Bulldog 35, but four straight incompletions by the Athens native enabled Georgia to hold on and remain in the chase for the national title.
The track meet that many anticipated didn't take long to develop as each team tallied a pair of first-quarter touchdowns.
Murray and Mettenberger were the big stories.
Murray completed 20 of 34 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns, while Mettenberger hit 23 of 37 for 372 yards and three scores.
Murray, a senior, tossed touchdown passes of 5 yards to Michael Bennett and 25 to Chris Conley, while Mettenberger connected twice with Kadron Boone, first on a 48-yarder and again from 4 yards.
Mettenberger's second touchdown pass to Boone came seven plays after defensive tackle Anthony Johnson intercepted a pass at the Bulldog 38.
Both defenses started to settle down in the second, with the teams trading field goals -- 24 yards by Marshall Morgan and 49 yards by Colby Delahoussaye.
Tied at 17-17 with 3:51 left in the half, Georgia had time to find the end zone one more time. The Bulldogs drove 66 yards, scoring on a 1-yard run by Murray with 20 seconds remaining.
LSU took the second-half kickoff and drove almost 60 yards before settling for a 39-yard field goal by Delahoussaye.
The Bulldogs answered, getting a career-long 55-yarder from Moran to push the lead back to seven, 27-20.
But back came the Tigers.
This time, LSU found the end zone, driving 80 yards before scoring on a 39-yard pass from Mettenberger to Jarvis Landry with 3:40 left in the third.
It appeared the Tigers were about to regain the momentum after forcing a quick three-and-out. But Odell Beckham Jr. fumbled the punt, which Georgia's Connor Norman fell on at the LSU 20. Three plays later, Murray's second touchdown pass to Bennett -- a 21-yarder -- enabled the Bulldogs to surge back in front 34-27.
LSU tied the score once again on its ensuing possession thanks to Kenny Hilliard's 2-yard run. Morgan's third field goal put the Dawgs back up by three.
NOTES: The Bulldogs lost running back Todd Gurley with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Gurley ran for 73 yards on eight carries. ... Georgia's 7-0 lead in the first quarter marked the first time LSU has trailed in a game all year.