Breaking down the Wildcats

Coming off last Saturday's 49-7 win over UL-Monroe, the LSU Tigers get set to head west to take on the Arizona Wildcats. <br><br> The Wildcats, the doormat of the Pac-10, enjoyed a lopsided victory of their own last weekend downing UTEP 42-7. <br><br> Some folks say an upset is possible, the Sporting News even predicts it, but we at Tiger Rag will show you here why LSU should have no problem taking care of the Cats Saturday night.

LSU rushing offense vs. Arizona rushing defense

The Tiger proved they could run in the win over UL-Monroe. While hardly a test in rushing for 168 yards against the Indians, it should be a better match when the Tigers heralded O-line meets up with the Wildcats. While Arizona only gave up 69 rushing yards to UTEP last Saturday, remember the Wildcat's defensive front is the same group that surrendered 161.8 yards per game a year ago.

Advantage: LSU

 

LSU quarterback Matt Mauck looks to improve on a 13-of-28 passing performance against ULM.

 

LSU passing offense vs. Arizona passing defense

Matt Mauck's numbers throwing the ball were not exactly what people wanted to see against UL-Monroe. However, taking solace in the fact he had six drops and Marcus Randall was excellent in reserve action, the Tiger passing game is on its way. Look for it to get another boost against an Arizona secondary that gave up 239 yards per game last season.

Advantage: LSU

 

Arizona rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense

The Tigers rushing defense was superb in holding ULM to just 59 total yards on the ground last week. While the Wildcats generated 234 yards against UTEP and the ground game is supposedly improved, take into consideration this is a unit that was last in Division I-A last year in rushing offense with just 43.8 yards rushing per contest. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Advantage: LSU

 

With senior cornerback Randall Gay out with a fractured arm, Arizona quarterbacks could look to pick on reserve corner Ronnie Prude.

 

Arizona passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:

The Wildcats can't throw it like they could a year ago when Jason Johnson racked up 3,327 yards through the air. Arizona uses a platoon system at quarterback, which was effective in last week's win over the Miners. Taking into consideration Randall Gay is out with a fractured arm and a number of true freshmen will see action in their first road game, the Wildcats could have a leg up. Plus they are in the Pac-10, a league that likes to throw the ball.

Advantage: Arizona

 

LSU special teams vs. Arizona special teams:

With the emergence of Shyrone Carey as star on punt returns, LSU's special teams has a newfound weapon. Donnie Jones continues to boom punts (long of 53 vs. ULM), plus he can aim kicks as well as demonstrated with a couple of pooch punts against the Indians. Chris Jackson's kickoffs are booming and it is a matter of time before he takes over all place kicking duties.

Advantage: LSU

 

Justin Vincent is not a true freshman, but he will be playing in his first road game as a Tiger.

 

Intangibles:

This will be the first road game for a number of true freshmen. And it is not like going to Starkville or Little Rock, these guys are flying halfway across the country. Throw in a nationally televised audience and things could get dicey. Plus, an SEC team has not beaten a team from the Pac-10 since Tennessee beat UCLA 30-24 in 1997.

Advantage: Arizona

 

Prediction:

Believe it or not, this one shouldn't be that close. Although LSU will probably allow the outcome to be closer than it should be, the Tigers are a far superior team to a beleaguered Arizona club. Internal problems are already out in the open after last season and UA's steady downturn in the ranks of the Pac-10 is well noted. One national magazine analyst made the comparison of the Wildcats to SEC member Vanderbilt. Enough said.

LSU 35, Arizona 17

 

- Matt Deville

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