PREVIEW: LSU-Fresno - The Matchups

Tiger Rag breaks down the key matchups for Saturday's LSU-Fresno State game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. in Tiger Stadium and the game will be shown on ESPN2.

LSU rushing offense vs. Fresno State rushing defense:


This should be a pretty good battle actually. Fresno State allows a respectable 122 yards per game on the ground while LSU has struggled most of the year trying to run the football. Versus Kentucky, the Tigers generated a season-high 268 yards of rushing offense. Nine different players accounted for positive rushing yards for the Tigers. Look for LSU to get Charles Scott revved up and possibly Keiland Williams will get more quality snaps against Fresno in preparation for the trip to Tennessee in three weeks.


Advantage: LSU



LSU passing offense vs. Fresno State passing defense:


Simply put, Fresno State gives up 235 passing yards per game. That ranks 100th in the nation in terms of pass defense. Also, the Bulldogs are rated 86th in pass efficiency defense., While JaMarcus Russell hasn't played all that great in big games, he has torched lesser opponents and it is safe to say Fresno State is lesser. Look for Russell to air it out to his talented cast of receivers much the way he did versus the Wildcats last weekend.


Advantage: LSU



Fresno State rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:


Fresno State has a very balanced offensive attack. The Bulldogs average 172 rushing yards each contest. Led by Dwayne Wright, Fresno State must run the football to take the pressure off quarterback Tom Brandstater. The Tigers defense continues to dominate opponents as LSU limited Kentucky to a stingy 61 yards on the ground last week. The Tigers are rated 8th in the nation against the run allowing a mere 82 yards per game on the ground.


Advantage: LSU



Fresno State passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:


Speaking of that balanced Fresno State offense, the Bulldogs run for 172 yards per game. With Brandstater at the controls, Fresno produces an average of 179 passing each game. However, Brandstater has been replaced as the Bulldogs quarterback by backup Sean Norton. Another major problem for the Bulldogs offense is the fact LSU gives up just 139 passing yards each game, which leads the SEC and is fourth nationally. The Tigers are also the nation's No. 1 team in terms of pass efficiency defense.


Advantage: LSU



LSU special teams vs. Fresno State special teams:


Did you know LSU is 107th in he nation in both net punting and kickoff returns? If you saw the Florida game you'd know that's for sure. But Fresno isn't all that great punting the ball either. The Bulldogs are 116th in the country in net punting, however, the Bulldogs are second in punt returns. Even though LSU kicker Colt David missed a field goal against Kentucky, he has been solid handling the Tigers' kicking duties. Les Miles seems to have found a solution to the problem returning punts as Craig Davis did a phenomenal job last week against the Wildcats. However, adjustments need to be made to the Tigers' wacky punt formation. In all, though, LSU has too many athletes on special teams.


Advantage: LSU

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