When: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 pm CT
Where: Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, LA)
TV/Radio: ESPNU/LSU Sports Radio Network 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
Series: First meeting between LSU and JSU
Well, Week 1 was a bust offensively for LSU. The Tigers turned the ball over three times, had little rhythm and Leonard Fournette was injured in the loss to Wisconsin. All the talk of some scheme changes for the offense were for not. LSU displayed questionable play calling and poor execution across the board. Missed throws, dropped passes and poor protection all were the perfect storm for LSU's offensive performance in the 16-14 loss. Fournette is a game-time decision after the injury this week.
Defensively, it was a solid day for the most part for the Tigers. It was a bend, but not break defense that forced three turnovers of their own including a Tre'Davious White interception return for a touchdown that sparked the Tigers to take the lead. While White and the secondary performed well, the Tigers linebackers had to clean up a lot of the mess that LSU's defensive line couldn't stop. Corey Clement had good success running the ball and that got the Tigers' attention. Troy Fumagalli was able to slip behind the linebackers to grab a few balls and keep drives alive.
Scouting Jacksonville State
Quarterback Eli Jenkins gives Jacksonville State a big-time threat for the Tigers to defend. Jenkins had over 330 total yards in the team's win over North Alabama in Week 1 and enters as one of the most productive FCS quarterbacks. Jenkins was the preseason Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Roc Thomas will be the one joining Jenkins as the two-headed monster in the backfield for Jacksonville State. Thomas ran for three touchdowns in Week 1 and is a former Auburn Tiger, who had some success with Auburn before transferring to JSU.
Defensively, Jacksonville State had five sacks and nine tackles for loss in Week 1. They're an aggressive front that could give the Tigers fits if JSU employs some of what Wisconsin did against the Tigers. It's not about going player-for-player in the game for Jacksonville State, but finding creative ways to pressure Harris and/or Etling while stopping the run.
Matchup to Watch
LSU's offensive line vs. JSU's defensive line: LSU's offensive line was a bit embarrassed against Wisconsin and now gets some revenge potentially. Desmond Owino will be a handful for the Tigers along the interior. Against Auburn, Owino recorded six tackles in JSU's near upset of the Tigers last season. LSU will also be without Josh Boutte, who's suspended. With Maea Teuhema back at right guard, it'll be something to watch as LSU had communication issues last week against Wisconsin. The offensive line has to set the tone for the Tigers this week to take control early.
Keys to the Game
Play mistake free offensively. LSU can't turn the ball over against a team like this with some offensive firepower. The more chances you give JSU to make plays, the more likely they're able to take advantage.
Make JSU one-dimensional. LSU's defense forced three turnovers last week and if the Tigers can
What to Watch For
When LSU is on offense: We're looking for some sort of creativity following the loss to Wisconsin. With Fournette having a good chance of being out, LSU will turn to Derrius Guice to step up in the backfield. A strong running game with a good mix of play-action and short passes should help the Tigers get into a groove offensively that they desperately need heading into the Mississippi State game.
When LSU is on defense: LSU's linebackers have to play with more discipline as they were beaten by some short and intermediate routes due to the group peaking in Wisconsin's backfield. With another formidable running game up next against the Tigers, they'll have to rely on the defensive line to make stops at the line of scrimmage. Jenkins can pass the ball well, but this is a team that's built on its running game. The Tigers have to shut it down.
When JSU is on offense: JSU is going to bring an up-tempo, spread attack into Tiger Stadium and will try to spread the ball around while running the ball with Thomas and Jenkins. It's up to the Tigers to get them off the field in third down situations to not allow them to sustain drives.
When JSU is on defense: JSU is going to attack the Tigers with blitzes and try to confuse LSU's offensive line. JSU doesn't matchup talent for talent, but with a good, attacking gameplan, JSU can make life difficult for Harris & Co.
Tiger Blitz Staff Predictions
Billy: LSU 38-7
Josh: LSU 45-10
Christian: LSU 35-17