PREVIEW: LSU vs. Va. Tech - The Matchups

Tiger Rag breaks down the key matchups in Saturday's game versus LSU and Virginia Tech.

LSU rushing offense vs. Virginia Tech rushing defense

 

Virginia Tech allowed just 91.2 yards per game on the ground last season as the Hokies No. 1 rated defense clamped down on opposing offenses. However, the Hokies weren't nearly as sharp defensively against East Carolina and surrendered 142 yards to the Pirates last Saturday. The Tigers did run for 198 yards against a pretty good Miss. State defensive front. It could have been more had LSU's offensive line played a little better. Don't expect Virginia Tech to be as generous this week against the run.

 

Advantage: Even

 

 

 

LSU passing offense vs. Virginia Tech passing defense

 

The Hokies ranked No. 1 in the nation a year ago against the pass, allowing just 128.2 yards per game through the air. Last Saturday, the Hokies' pass defense, led by cornerback Brandon Flowers, held East Carolina to a mere 119 yards passing. LSU's passing game is better than that of East Carolina, but issues on the offensive line would lead one to assume Matt Flynn might be scrambling as much as or more than last week against the Bulldogs. The Tigers have a great wide receiver in Early Doucet and lots of other talented youngsters to whom Flynn can throw.

 

Advantage: Virginia Tech

 

 

 

Virginia Tech rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense

 

It is pretty simple to realize LSU has the best run stoppers in the country. They ranked 12th nationally last year, giving up 97 yards per game. LSU stoppers got off to a great start this season, giving up just 10 total rushing yards to Miss. State last Thursday. Brandon Ore is a capable back, but he won't find much room to run against LSU's front. He managed just 70 yards against East Carolina last weekend.

 

Advantage: LSU

 

 

 

Virginia Tech passing offense vs. LSU passing defense

 

Sean Glennon played much better in the second half of last week's game against ECU than he did in the first, but expect him to be under much more duress against LSU come Saturday. The Tigers battered Miss. State quarterback Michael Henig, and Glennon can expect much of the same. Matter of fact, there won't be many QBs this season walking without a limp after they face this LSU defense.

 

Advantage: LSU

 

 

 

LSU special teams vs. Virginia Tech special teams

 

Virginia Tech is known for outstanding play on special teams. Frank Beamer has prided himself on stressing special teams, and opposing teams live in fear of the Hokies' blitzkrieg attack on punts and field goals. LSU fell victim to the Hokies assault in 2002, having a punt blocked for a touchdown in that 26-8 loss in Blacksburg. Patrick Fisher had a tremendous game at Miss. State punting the football. He had three punts over 55 yards and averaged 44.9 yards per kick. Colt David made all six extra points and converted his only field goal attempt. LSU also did a good job of covering kicks. However, taking into consideration the Hokies tendency to block kicks and LSU's obscure punt formation, Virginia Tech gets the edge.

 

Advantage: Virginia Tech

 

 

 

Intangibles:

 

A lot has been made of the tragedy at Virginia Tech last spring when a gunman killed 32 students and faculty members in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Virginia Tech played with a lot of emotion last Saturday against East Carolina, and the Hokies are surely playing with purpose this season. LSU has a lot to gain with this game in terms of building its case for the BCS Championship Game come January. ESPN Gameday will be on hand, so the national spotlight will be shining on Baton Rouge.

 

Advantage: Even


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