The LSU Tigers answered some questions last week in a 31-10 thrashing of heated rival Auburn. The game was not even as close as the score suggests as LSU dominated on both sides of the football. It was really the first glimpse this year of what this 2009 squad is capable of.
Now, the Tulane Green Wave comes to town in what has to be considered a “tune up” for the biggest game of the year. No disrespect intended here. Tulane is a 36-point underdog, so LSU should win this game easily. The question is how?
Will the Tigers come out motivated and focused and put the game to rest early? Or will LSU sort of go through the motions, allowing the Green Wave to hang around like they did against ULL or Vanderbilt? It’s a game to test this team’s maturity. By Sunday, everyone will know the answer.
Everyone from players to coaches at LSU knows that they have to beat Tulane BEFORE they play Alabama. Everyone knows that, but players are human and coaches are too. Tulane is 2-5 and 0-4 in their conference so this is an easy team to look past.
Alabama has a bye week and will be refining their game plan for LSU. They will be resting. The Tigers need to take care of business early, and clear the benches, so that they too can rest and prepare. Jordan Jefferson got hit pretty hard at the end of the Auburn game and this week he’s had some sort of infection.
Jefferson and all the LSU players need to stay sharp and healthy looking towards next week and with the Green Wave occupying the visiting sideline there is no better time to build on the momentum the offense generated last Saturday.
When Tulane Has the Ball
The Green Wave will look to run the ball with Andre Anderson. Anderson has carried the ball 131 times this year for a total of 646 and six touchdowns. Tulane has used the run to set up the pass early on but look for a lot of three-step drops and the short passing game that hurt LSU in the beginning of the year.
Ryan Griffin made his first career start under center at Southern Miss last week, completing 21-of-33 passes for 158 yards - all career highs. On the year, Griffin has completed 44-of-70 passes for 397 yards with a score and two interceptions. Joe Kemp started the previous six games and completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,007 yards. But his 6 to 4 interception to touchdown ratio was a sore spot with Bob Toledo.
Biletnikoff Award Watch List member Jeremy Williams leads Tulane’s receiving corps with 44 receptions for 682 yards and three scores. He’s capable of making a big play and is also the Green Wave’s second leading rusher with 95 yards on 27 totes.
Once LSU has bottled up the Tulane rushing attack, John Chavis and co. will force Griffin and/or Kemp into third and long, and blitz. It’s hard to imagine Tulane being more effective against this defense than Auburn and the Plainsmen weren’t effective at all.
When LSU Has the Ball
This is always a tough call.
Last week I thought LSU would try to develop a power rushing game. Instead they came out and threw the football all over the field, leading to a career night for Jefferson. If this is in fact the “identity” of the LSU offense, then expect them to build on that performance.
Jefferson will continue to spread the football around, looking first for Terrance Tolliver and Brandon LaFell. Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard, and Trindon Holliday should get extended playing time if the Tigers take care of business.
Charles Scott will start at tailback and alternate with Keiland Williams and Shepard. Jarrett Lee should get his first meaningful playing time at some point in the second half.
How We See It
LSU should be confident after playing their most complete game of the season last Saturday. Expect the Tigers to build on that momentum and put the Green Wave away early.
LSU has not been a sloppy team or one that turns the ball over. If they stay in character, the game is over by halftime and a lot of young players get some playing time in the second half.
LSU 45 Tulane 7