PREVIEW: LSU vs. Arizona - The Matchups

The LSU Tigers are set to face the Arizona Wildcats in a 5:30 p.m. clash Saturday in Tiger Stadium. LSU (1-0) is heavily favored against the Wildcats (1-0), who are under second year head coach Mike Stoops. Here is our call as far as how the matchups will play out.

LSU rushing offense vs. Arizona rushing defense:

The LSU rushing attack got off to kind of a sluggish start versus the Ragin' Cajuns in the season opener. However, that may have to do with the fact ULL opened the game by putting eight to nine men in the box, fully committed to stopping LSU's ground game. Justin Vincent got the start, but gave way to Alley Broussard after a sluggish beginning. Broussard didn't play until the second half, but looked impressive in running hard and over defenders. Arizona ranks sixth in the nation against the run after allowing just 24 yards versus BYU last week. But remember, that was against Brigham Young.

Advantage: LSU

 

LSU passing offense vs. Arizona passing defense:

While Arizona's rushing defense may have allowed just two dozen rushing yards last week, the Wildcats secondary allowed almost 300 passing yards to he Cougars, 289 to be exact. JaMarcus Russell was almost perfect in picking apart the Ragin' Cajuns secondary going 13 of 17 for 253 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. This one isn't close.

Advantage: LSU

 

Arizona rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:

The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns ranked seventh in the nation last year running the ball and Tyrell Fenroy is the Sun Belt Conference's top running back. Still, ULL managed just 113 yards on the ground against the Tiger defense. Arizona ran for all of 67 yards against BYU's defense. You do the math.

Advantage: LSU

 

Arizona passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:

Like last week, there aren't many phases of the game where the opponent is going to be better than the Tigers. But considering the Wildcats are from the pass-happy Pac-10, one would have to think they can throw the ball around pretty well. And they can. With quarterback Willie Tuitama at the helm and a talented cast of wideouts, Arizona can move the ball through the air. However, the Tigers have the best secondary in college football.

Advantage: LSU

 

LSU special teams vs. Arizona special teams:

Special teams are an important phase of the game, especially when you are playing a top flight opponent. Only problem is, the Wildcats aren't exactly top flight. At any rate, the Tigers made too many blunders on special teams last week including two muffed punts and sporadic kickoffs. Arizona kicker Nick Folk was 3 for 3 last week on field goals, including a 48-yard game-winner.

Advantage: Arizona

 

Intangibles:

A member of the LSU student media asked LSU coach les Miles before the ULL game if his team might be caught looking past the Tigers' two, tune-up games against the Cajuns and Arizona with sights set on a Sept. 16 showdown with Auburn. Miles scoffed at the question. But if LSU does go into Saturday's game with the Wildcats looking to a trip to the Plains, coach Mike Stoops' team does have the capability to beat the Tigers in Death Valley. Don't count on it, but Arizona does have a slight edge here.

Advantage: Arizona

 

Check back tomorrow for our game preview and prediction.


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