Ohio State and LSU have played twice before on the gridiron. In 1987 the teams tied 13-all in Baton Rouge, a final preserved for the Tigers when LSU's Karl Dunbar blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt by Matt Frantz in the final seconds. One year later unranked Ohio State stunned No. 7 LSU in Columbus, 36-33.
LSU is third in the nation in turnover margin at plus-18. Ohio States is tied for 63rd at minus-1.
LSU averaged 7.2 points scored in the first quarter this season, the Tigers' lowest scoring quarter.
Ohio State averaged 9.3 points per first quarter, the highest-scoring quarter for the Buckeyes this season.
Of the 22 Buckeyes who started in last season's BCS National Championship game, 10 figure to start Jan. 7 at the Louisiana Superdome. That includes five players on offense: tackles Kirk Barton and Alex Boone, guard Steve Rehring, receiver Brian Robiskie and tight end Rory Nicol. Defensively Ohio State's pregame depth chart lists five returners as well: end Vernon Gholston, linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, and cornerbacks Donald Washington and Malcolm Jenkins. An 11th player, safety Jamario O'Neal, started the last title game but figures to be used as a reserve this year.
The two defenses in the title game held opponents to single-digit scoring in 11 of 25 games combined. Seven of Ohio State's 12 opponents failed to reach 10 points while LSU allowed more than nine four times.
Gholston enters the title game with 13 sacks, enough to tie Mike Vrabel's single-season school record set in 1995.
Ohio State's defense allowed 15 touchdowns this season, or less than half as many as LSU. The Tigers, who played one more game and had two overtime contests, allowed 32.
The LSU defense intercepted 21 passes this season compared to Ohio State's 10. Both teams tossed 12 picks.
Both teams averaged more than 32 minutes of possession per game, with Ohio State holding a slight advantage, 32:18 to 32:07 for the Tigers.
Entering the title game, 33 different receivers have caught passes between the two teams. That is amazingly split nearly down the middle: 17 Tigers have receptions along with 16 Buckeyes. Both regular starting quarterbacks, OSU's Todd Boeckman and LSU's Matt Flynn, are among the 33 as well.
Ohio State has scored 54.4 percent of its points before halftime this year. Conversely, the Tigers have been slower starters. They have scored just 41.4 percent of their points in the first two quarters.
The leading receiver for each squad – Buckeye Brian Robiskie and Tiger Early Doucet – caught 50 passes this season.
With 1,463 rushing yards this season, OSU tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells needs 76 to move into the all-time top five in school history. Tim Spencer's 1,538 yards in 1982 are currently No. 5. Wells' current total ranks seventh.
Ohio State outgained its opponents by an average of 171.8 yards per game this season. LSU outgained its opponents by 164.3.
Crunching The Numbers: Ohio State vs. LSU
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