PREVIEW: LSU vs. Tennessee - The Matchups

Tiger Rag sizes up the Tigers and Vols heading into Saturday's game in Knoxville

LSU rushing offense vs. Tennessee rushing defense:


It is no secret that every team in the country knows LSU is having trouble running the ball this season. It is difficult to say that the Tigers cannot run the ball because they are averaging 158 yards on the ground per game. But against the likes of Auburn and Florida, yards were hard to come by on the ground. A steady Jacob Hester has been LSU's saving grace on the ground, but he lacks the speed to get outside. Alley Broussard showed some flashes of his old self against Fresno State, and a couple of new wrinkles were shown with Trindon Holliday, Charles Scott and Keiland Williams. Things are looking up, but with a depleted offensive line, LSU isn't going to bully anyone around with its running game. Tennessee is average at best against the run, allowing 124 yards per game, which is 54th nationally.


Advantage: Even



LSU passing offense vs. Tennessee passing defense:


As it has been and will be in every game this season, it will be very hard for any team to slow down the Tigers' passing attack. JaMarcus Russell, who leads the SEC in passing efficiency, has been stellar is most games this season. His only struggles have on the road at Auburn and Florida. His numbers were good in both games, but the one stat that counts is touchdowns – 1. Tennessee is solid against the pass, allowing 168 yards passing in each game. Being on the road will be a big enough test for Russell to face, as well as it being the Volunteers, but LSU is too deep in wide receivers in terms of size, speed and physical play.


Advantage: LSU



Tennessee rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:


The Volunteers have prided themselves on their ability to run the football in years past. However, that is not the case this season. The Vols are generating a whole 113 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 86th in the nation. LaMarcus Coker is the team's leading running back, having rushed for all of 393 yards on 62 trips with one touchdown. LSU ranks seventh against the run allowing a stingy 72 yards per game on the ground. Look for the Volunteers to be quite one-dimensional.


Advantage: LSU



Tennessee passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:


Erik Ainge couldn't have asked for a better set of circumstances with former Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe taking over as offensive coordinator. Ainge has risen from relative obscurity a year ago to the SEC's leading passer in both yards and completions. He is second in touchdowns. Ainge has matured greatly from his sophomore season and is playing with lots of poise and confidence. The Tigers, however, are strong against the pass, ranking fifth in the nation in pass defense (139 yards per game). LSU is No. 1 nationally in pass-efficiency defense. This should be a good matchup.


Advantage: Even



LSU special teams vs. Tennessee special teams:


Special teams have been far from special this year for the LSU Tigers. Chris Jackson has struggled punting the football, and LSU's return game, until recently, has been a collection of bloopers. Tennessee, on the other hand, has two of the best specialists in college football. James Wilhoit is 11-of-13 in field goals this season, has a long of 51 yards and is rated the third-best kicker in the SEC. Britton Colquitt leads the SEC with a 46.4 yard punting average. This is pretty cut-and-dry here.


Advantage: Tennessee

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