Derrius Guice (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Tiger Blitz Game Preview: LSU-Southern Miss

Tiger Blitz previews LSU's home nonconference matchup against Southern Miss on Saturday night at 6:30 in Tiger Stadium with matchups to watch, keys to the game and predictions.

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 pm CT
WHERE: Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
TV/RADIO: SEC Network/Tiger Sports Radio Network
LAST MEETING: Southern Miss beat LSU 20-18 in 1994.
GAMBLING ADVICE: The over might be tough to hit given a 42-7 victory similar to LSU's over Missouri in a conference game doesn't even get within a touchdown. Southern Miss' offense is an uptempo attack. The hope for LSU would be for the Tigers to win 52-7 to hit the over. LSU is likely to be dominant in this game, but we're not comfortable taking the over here. The line is another story. LSU could win by four touchdowns and easily cover as some sites do have it as high as -25 for LSU. We're taking LSU to cover.

Tiger Trends

It's always something with LSU this season, but the Tigers look to get back to a normal game week of preparation following the controversy and rescheduling of the Florida game that left LSU with an open date last weekend. This is for sure: LSU is well rested and hungry. The team has seen some adversity with safety Rickey Jefferson going down with a leg injury this week and John Battle set to get the start. The offensive line was been shuffled and Andy Dodd is set to start at center with Ethan Pocic at right tackle.

Lots of changes in that regard for LSU including the continued installation of some new wrinkles to the offense. With the week off, the players should be focused and locked in. Danny Etling had yet another week to work with his new offensive line and Steve Ensminger. LSU fans should like the results.

Scouting Southern Miss

Another uptempo team comes into Tiger Stadium similar to the one that most recently visited. Missouri and Southern Miss have a lot of similarities in the way they operate. Quarterback Nick Mullens runs the show for the Golden Eagles and is very good at doing so, averaging over 300 yards per game passing. The trouble with this attack is how quickly they operate. Orgeron made a point that LSU will have to be on top of their substitutions to keep guys fresh and the right personnel on the field. If Southern Miss gets momentum, they'll want to go even faster.

Defensively, Southern Miss will blitz a lot and try to confuse LSU's offensive line. This attacking front is great at taking the ball away. N'erius Antoine is their leader at linebacker making the calls while Dylan Bradley is one of the quicker, albeit undersized defensive tackles LSU will face this year.

Matchup to Watch

LSU Defensive Line vs. Southern Miss Offensive Line: LSU has Arden Key coming off the edge, which right off the bat, is scary for an opposing team. The Tigers are deep along the defensive line and Dave Aranda had two weeks to work on implementing more of his defense. Expect a lot of disguises to try to confuse the Southern Miss offensive line. Southern Miss will have their hands full and if LSU shuts down the run like the team did against Missouri, it could get ugly.


Keys to the Game

Win the turnover battle. This is a given most nights, but Southern Miss is very good at taking the football away and Ed Orgeron keyed on that in his press conference this week. It's going to get extra emphasis and with LSU having a week off, you never know if players might be a little careless getting back to game speed in addition to feeling extra confident about facing a team like Southern Miss. 

Fast start. LSU needs to put away Southern Miss quickly. This is a team that will also be hungry following a beatdown at the hands of UTSA and Frank Wilson last week. The last thing LSU needs is for the Golden Eagles to hang around in this one.

What to Watch For

When LSU is on offense: More wrinkles. It's tough to beat a record setting day like the team had against Missouri, but I expect LSU to be even more multiple against Southern Miss. The receivers and Etling need to working timing a little bit more as LSU gears up for the difficult run of games to end their schedule.

When LSU is on defense: Pressure. Lots of pressure from Aranda on Southern Miss' attack. LSU's athletes are better than Southern Miss and the staff can leave players in 1-on-1 coverage and have done so often this year. I expect that to continue this weekend.

When Southern Miss is on offense: Tempo. LSU will have to keep players fresh when they can. The Golden Eagles like to go as fast as they can. LSU will have to be in their nickel defense most of the night and Southern Miss will try to take advantage of any chances that LSU isn't. 

When Southern Miss is on defense: Blitzing. Southern Miss will blitz and take their chances with Danny Etling in the passing game. Etling will have to be aware of his hot reads so he can get the ball out quickly.

Tiger Blitz Prediction

Billy Embody: LSU 49-7. Another statement game for LSU as the team is ticked off following the off week. Unfortunately for Southern Miss, they're in the way. I don't expect LSU to be looking ahead to Ole Miss coming to town next weekend. With the time off, LSU's legs should be fresh and ready to go. The coaches feel like the changes along the offensive line will benefit the team and open up things more for this offense. I agree. Danny Etling hits some of the deep shots he missed against Missouri en route to a winning big.

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