ANALYSIS: Western Kentucky at No. 1 LSU

A closer look at Saturday's homecoming clash between Western Kentucky and LSU at Tiger Stadium

Western Kentucky (5-4) at No. 1 LSU (9-0)

6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

WDGL-FM 98.1; XM 199; Sirius 220/ESPNU

 

Series record: First meeting

 

LSU

 

In the spotlight: RB Michael Ford

Michael Ford

 

Season stats: 90-523 rushing, 6 rushing TDs

 

The rollercoaster ride for Ford was headed in the right direction last week as he carved out the best rushing performance by a back against Alabama’s defense this season with 72 yards – most on an option combination with Jordan Jefferson. But Ford also ran hard inside, belying his reputation and giving the Tigers another wrinkle in an already talented and versatile backfield. Western Kentucky has shown the ability to stack up opponents’ inside running attack, so Ford could be valuable again on the edges.

 

Injuries: LG Josh Dworaczyk (knee) out for season, DE Kendrick Adams (knee) probable, S Craig Loston (wrist) probable, Josh Williford (shoulder) probable

 

Schedule (9-0, 5-0)

Sept. 3 LSU 40, #3 Oregon 27

Sept. 10 LSU 49, Northwestern State 3

Sept. 15 LSU 19, #25 Mississippi State 6

Sept. 24 LSU 47, at #16 West Virginia 21

Oct. 1 LSU 35, Kentucky 7

Oct. 8 LSU 41, #17 Florida 11

Oct. 15 LSU 38, Tennessee 7

Oct. 22 LSU 45, Auburn 10

Nov. 5 LSU 9, Alabama 6 (OT)

Nov. 12 Western Kentucky, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)

Nov. 19 at Ole Miss, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Nov. 25 Arkansas, 1:30 p.m. (CBS)

Dec. 3 SEC Championship Game

 

Western Kentucky

 

In the spotlight: MLB Andrew Jackson (6-1, 255, So.)

Andrew Jackson

 

Season stats: 90 tackles, 13½ tackles for loss

 

Jackson plays with a non-stop motor and almost always finds a way to be near the ball when a play is in progress. He will be the biggest key for WKU’s run defense, especially between the tackles. If he piles up big tackle numbers, it means the Tigers aren’t churning out huge numbers on the ground with Spencer Ware and Alfred Blue. If Jackson is having to chase down Michael Ford on the outside or is heavily involved in pass coverage, then the advantage shifts to LSU.

 

Injuries: DE Jared Clendenin (foot) out, DB Arius Wright (ankle) probable

Schedule (5-4)

Sept. 1 Kentucky 14, WKU 3

Sept. 10 Navy 40, WKU 14

Sept. 17 Indiana State 44, WKU 16

Oct. 1 Arkansas State 26, WKU 22

Oct. 6 WKU 36, Middle Tennessee 33 (2 OT)

Oct. 15 WKU 20, Florida Atlantic 0

Oct. 22 WKU 42, UL-Lafayette 23

Oct. 29 WKU 31, UL-Monroe 28 (OT)

Nov. 5 WKU 10, Florida International 9

Nov. 12 at No. 1 LSU, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)

Nov. 19 at North Texas, TBA

Nov. 26 Troy, TBA

 

Three keys to the game

 

1. Find some energy: There will be a letdown – it’s unavoidable. The Tigers have to find a way to get through that quickly and feed off whatever energy they can generate quickly, whether it’s a special teams hit or long pass play. Playing flat all day could equate to a performance similar to McNeese State last season or Louisiana Tech the season before.

Jarrett Lee


2. Get Jarrett Lee back in the saddle: High if not on the top of the LSU coaches’ to-do list this week is to get Jarrett Lee’s confidence restored. It shouldn’t be as difficult as it was three years ago, but the Tigers have to connect on some downfield throws early and often with Lee on the field to make sure he is mentally in the right place for the final two SEC games.

 

3. Use that depth and add to it: This game shouldn’t be close and unless some really strange stuff happens, it won’t be. That should allow the LSU coaches to expand their amazing depth even more by getting Zach Mettenberger a few complete series, let Terrance Magee and Kenny Hilliard run the ball and rotate in defensive youngsters like Jermauria Rasco, Sam Gibson and Anthony Johnson get their feet on the ground for long stretches.


 

Prediction

Coming off the biggest regular-season win in four years, the Tigers will have to deal with a hangover against the Hilltoppers. Had this been another SEC foe, that could’ve been tricky. Even though Western Kentucky enters on a five-game winning streak, there’s just too big a talent difference for there to be much drama here. Look for the Tigers to strike early, build a cozy lead and then empty the bench. … LSU 52, Western Kentucky 7


Tiger Blitz Top Stories