SCOUTING REPORT: Louisiana State

It's been 36 years since the LSU Tigers and Penn State Nittany Lions have squared off. Now the two traditional college football powers will meet on January 1. Get a closer look at the Tigers here.

Penn State and LSU have met only once previously, in the 1974 Orange Bowl. In that game the Nittany Lions, led by Heisman Winning running back John Cappelletti, beat the 9-2 Tigers 16-9 to cap a 12-0 undefeated season.

Now, 36 years later, the two teams will face each other for a second time. This season LSU is 9-3 headed into the bowls, with losses to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi by a combined total of 21 points. Here's how LSU's 2009 schedule broke down:

9/05 @ Washington W 31-23
9/12 Vanderbilt W 23-9
9/19 Louisiana-Lafayette W 31-3
9/26 @ Mississippi State W 30-26
10/03 @ Georgia W 20-13
10/10 Florida L 13-3
10/24 Auburn W 31-10
10/31 Tulane W 42-0
11/07 Alabama L 24-15
11/14 Louisiana Tech W 24-16
11/21 @ Mississippi L 25-23
11/28 Arkansas W 33-30 OT


LSU's total offense is ranked No. 108 nationally averaging 309.67 yards per game. Their passing offense is ranked No. 99, averaging 180.08 yards through the air per game and the rushing attack is ranked No. 84, rolling up an average of 129.58 yards per game. In terms of scoring, the Tigers are ranked No. 74, averaging 25.50 points per game.

The Tiger's offense is led by quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who has completed 169 passes on 272 attempts (62 percent, 7.22 YPA) with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He's also been sacked 30 times this season.

The 6-foot-5, 220 pound sophomore quarterback has good size and strength, but has not been a consistent running threat this season, averaging 14.5 rushing yards per game. He has two main go-to targets in senior wide receiver Brandon LaFell and junior WR Terrance Toliver. LaFell grabbed 52 passes for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while Toliver had 47 pull-ins for 654 yards and three touchdowns on the year.

Both receivers have impressive size; Toliver is 6-foot-5 and LaFell is 6-foot-3. They provide big targets and can be aggressive chasing after balls.

In terms of the ground game, LSU was led by Charles Scott, a 6-foot-1, 234 pound senior running back who rolled up 542 yards on 116 carries and four touchdowns. Scott missed the final three games of the regular season after he broke his collarbone against Alabama. However, there is speculation he could be back for the bowl game.

Aside from Scott, LSU has seen a rash of injuries this season, including senior tailback Keiland Williams who left in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss "significant" ankle injury. Also, senior wide receiver R.J. Jackson missed late season action with a broken bone in his foot.

The offense has struggled at times this season. They prefer to stay on the ground with 410 rushing attempts to only 312 passing attempts, but have had more success going to the air with 2161 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns to 1555 rushing yards, although they still have 14 rushing touchdowns.


Defensively, LSU can play tough and is ranked No. 28 in total defense, surrendering 326.58 yards per game. Their passing defense is ranked No. 29, giving up 192.42 yards through the air and their rushing defense is ranked No. 44, allowing 134.17 yards on the ground. In terms of scoring though, LSU's defense is stingy, allowing only 16 points per game, which puts them at the No. 12 scoring defense in the country.

The Tiger defense has several standout players, including junior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who leads the team in tackles with 103 (47 solo). He also has one interception, one sack, one forced fumble and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Defensive end Rahim Alem has a team-high 4.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 33 tackles. Drake Nevis is also a handful on the line at defensive tackle, with four sacks, 48 tackles (24 solo), 10 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. Linebacker Harry Coleman can also disrupt the pocket; on the year he has 77 tackles (34 solo), nine tackles for a loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles.

The front seven of LSU appears to be the strength of the LSU, causing disruption and forcing offenses out of their element. However, the secondary has managed to grab 14 interceptions, led by free safety Chad Jones with three.


LSU has seemingly struggled on offense, however they have a formidable defense. Stats aside though, this team has had an impressive year, losing by a total of 21 points to Alabama (national title bound), Florida (BCS bowl bound) and Ole Miss.

Penn State staff and Daryll Clark will have to have the offense sharp to address the major surge the LSU defensive front will carry. On the defensive side, the Nittany Lions will have to watch the passing lanes and put Jefferson on the run to take him out of his element and prevent him from taking time to set his feet and deliver.

Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Penn State football as they prepare for the Capital One Bowl and LSU.


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