For an extremely young offense, Vanderbilt did a pretty good job of limiting turnovers last week, but sophomore quarterback Larry Smith had an early game fumble at the goal line. Vanderbilt's offense, run by several underclassmen, including Smith and freshman running backs Zac Stacy and Warren Norman, can not afford to turn the ball over against LSU's defense. The offense must be effective, and Stacy and Norman must run the football well. They don't need to pile up 433 rushing yards, like they did against Western Carolina, but they will need to take some of the heat off of Smith. Smith, though facing the toughest crowd of his football career, must remain calm and manage the game. Vanderbilt's defense should limit LSU, so the offense does not need to score 35 points, but they need to move the ball down the field with consistency and give the defense a break.
Vanderbilt's defensive line did a great job at stuffing the Western Carolina run game, and pressuring Catamount's quarterback Zach Jaynes. They will need to continue this play against a tough LSU offensive line. Vanderbilt has several excellent players in the trenches, such as T.J. Greenstone and Broderick Stewart, but the depth will be a major factor. LSU will try to run the ball early and often because of their inexperience at quarterback, and because they believe they can win the battle in the trenches. The secondary defensive linemen, such as Josh Jelesky will need to be able to step in without there being a noticeable difference in order for the Dores to win.
For as good as the Commodores' opener was, the kicking game was atrocious. Freshman kicker Ryan Fowler must improve from his previous performance, where he went 1/3 missing from 43 and 32 yards before tacking on a 25 yard field goal. Brett Upson, the Music City Bowl MVP, was terrible, hitting one punt for -24 yards, and another for only 7 yards. Upson must pin LSU's offense back, and Fowler must be able to make field goals in a hostile environment, particularly if the game is close in the fourth quarter.
LSU leads all time series 20-7-1. They lead in Baton Rouge 10-2-1. LSU Coach Les Miles is 1-0 against Vanderbilt and head coach Bobby Johnson. Johnson is 0-2 against LSU (0-1 in Baton Rouge). Vanderbilt's last win in Baton Rouge came in 1951.
Last Meeting: LSU 34 Vanderbilt 6 (2005 in Nashville)
Last Meeting in Baton Rouge: LSU 24 Vanderbilt 7 (2004)