LSU vs Louisiana Tech : A gridiron battle between undefeated teams is going down in the Sportsman’s Paradise on Saturday when the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (2–0) travel to Baton Rouge to take on No. 6 LSU (3–0) in front of 100,000-plus in Tiger Stadium. The winner earns the bragging rights as Louisiana’s best.
Upsets big and small have taken place across the country this season, which has not been lost on the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech hopes to sneak into Death Valley to recreate a nightmare LSU lived through just a year ago when Troy upended LSU 24–21 at home. Led by junior dual-threat quarterback J’Mar Smith and four returning starters in the trenches, the Bulldogs have jumped on the opposition early this year, averaging 42 points per game and 527 yards of total offense.
LSU has fought their way to an unbeaten start being the same old Tigers squad — that is a stifling defense and an offense that wears down the opposition into submission. Dave Aranda’s defense is holding teams to an average of 308 yards per game, while the offense has been balanced, led by Ohio State graduate transfer QB Joe Burrows.
How to watch LSU vs Louisiana Tech
WHO: No. 6 LSU vs. Louisiana Tech
When: 6 p.m. (CST)
WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
RADIO: LSU Sports Radio Network 98.1 (Baton Rouge) or 870 AM (New Orleans)
LSU will win if
The Tigers come out and play inspired football from the onset because Louisiana Tech will be jacked up. This isn’t a big game for the Bulldogs or even their bowl game. This is equivalent to their Super Bowl.
There are several guys who felt slighted by LSU during the recruiting process and they want to prove they belong on the same field as the four and five-star recruits that litter LSU’s roster.
After nearly knocking off Arkansas in its own backyard then having a rerun the following year at South Carolina, Louisiana Tech wants to prove there is more than one heavyweight in Louisiana.
LSU looked disinterested after it got up 17-0 on Southeastern two weeks ago and Tiger Stadium resembled a ghost town in the second half. This may not be an SEC contest that fans will get riled up for, so the players and coaches have to give them reasons to make noise.
Joe Burrow is hitting 34-of-76 passes (46.2 percent) on the season for 540 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His best mark is 50 percent against Southeastern and the accuracy and consistency need to improve like one expects it will with every start he adds to his résumé.
The short, quick passing game worked well at Auburn and they should not abandon it this week with the notion of saving something for next week against Ole Miss. After the way Alabama dismantled the Rebels, 62-7, in Oxford, Louisiana Tech is probably on par with Ole Miss and it would not be surprising in the least if the Bulldogs beat the Rebels.
Louisiana can pull the upset if
First and foremost, the Bulldogs win the turnover battle.
LSU is the only FBS school that has yet to commit a turnover in 2018 and the Bulldogs have given the ball away five times.
Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith has tossed three picks in two games and goes against a defense that has intercepted five passes. LSU will challenge Tech’s receivers with press coverage and force the Bulldogs to man up and play physical.
If LSU gets a turnover, it needs to make Tech pay with six points and not rely on the leg of Cole Tracy even though he has been clutch hitting 8-of-9 field goals.
The same thing applies with LSU’s receivers against Tech corners Amik Robertson and L’Jarius Sneed.
Robertson is smaller than your typical SEC corner in the 5-foot-8, 180-pound range but plays a lot bigger than his size indicates. He picked off five passes and earned Freshman All-America honors last year and will challenge LSU’s bigger, more physical wide outs. Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan stepped up last week and need to get involved early by using those 6-foot-6, 220-pound frames to their advantage.
It will be hard for Tech to match Anderson and Sullivan’s physicality, but the Bulldogs know they can’t let Justin Jefferson beat them. He leads LSU with 11 catches for 183 yards but is not as physically imposing as many of the other LSU receivers. Tech will try to take him out with getting in his face and he needs to make Robertson and Sneed pay with his route running and ability to stretch the field.
LSU had problems with Southeastern free-lancing with its pass rush and with the Tigers potentially using their fourth different starting offensive line in as many games the Bulldogs will bring plenty of pressure leaving them vulnerable on the second and third levels.
Offensive line coach James Cregg needs to get his unit to play at the same high level it played against Auburn. Ferguson is a potential second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and can be disruptive. However, 6-foot-2, 282-pound defensive tackle Jordan Bradford is a load to handle too, leading the team with 16 tackles – 2.5 for loss.