Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The Bayou Bengals
The Bulldogs are headed down the red stick this weekend. Buckle up.
The Tigers got out of the gate fast beating North Texas, Washington and Idaho by an average of 38 points. U Dub has actually turned out to be a half-way decent team (5-4), so that 41-3 drubbing the Tigers put on them is impressive. After those three they went up to the Plains where they engaged in a tough 12-10 contest. This was pretty surprising when it happened - that it was this close - and looking back it is mind-boggling that as bad as Auburn is they could play that close with LSU...but they did.
Once the Tigers got back to Baton Rouge they played a really really ugly game with FCS Towson, 38-22. The next week they went to #10 Florida, and it really wasn't hard to believe they'd lose the game, which they did, 14-6. At this point in the season LSU didn't seem like they had much juice, and some talking heads suggested they would get beat by #3 South Carolina in Death Valley at night (despite being favored by 3). But LSU ended up beating USC by a narrow margin, 23-21.
That win really seemed to breathe some life into this team as they proceeded to stop Johnny Football in his own stadium and beat #20 A&M 24-19. After a week off they played #1 Alabama last week and really outplayed them, but they lost it in the final minute...allowing A.J. McCarron to march down the field after stuffing him the entire 2nd half. The game this week will be LSU's 5th straight against a ranked opponent (MSU, #22).
QB Zach Mettenberger really wasn't doing all that much this year, and he looked borderline awful in College Station. But he had the game of his life last week, and against the best defense in the country. He's thrown for 1,717 yards this year, 8 TD and 4 INT.
LSU has 1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE running backs with at least 250 rushing yards. Wow. Freshman Jeremy Hill leads with 429 yards and 6 TD. Kenny Hilliard isn't far behind with 420 yards and 6 TD himself. It doesn't really matter who Miles puts back there - they're good, and they could have all five come down with the flu, they'll just put Russell Shepard back there who has 128 yards rushing.
The Tigers always have some good receivers (but sometimes no QB). This year's leader is Odell Beckham, Jr. with 493 yards. Kadron Boone leads with 4 TD receptions.
The offensive line was regarded as one of the SEC's best coming in to the year, but they've struggled to a degree (LSU's standards). They lost LT Chris Faulk to injury early and have struggled despite replacing him with a veteran who's name is Dfyaalgdladsk or something. This group is still good, and the way MSU's D-line has been playing, it will be another tough matchup.
Mingo and Montgomery. You've heard of 'em, you've seen 'em. Now let's just hope Blaine Clausell and Charles Siddoway can slow them down enough to keep Tyler Russell alive. As always, LSU's defensive line is real, real good.
At LB, you'll want to keep an eye on Kevin Minter. He and his 82 tackles will be all over the place. Eric Reid is a great player at safety as well. Basically everyone on their defense is good, just like Alabama, so you've got to play solid on offense to move the ball, and don't do anything stupid or they'll make you pay.
LSU ranks 3rd in the country in total defense (253.1), and 10th in scoring defense (15.3).