Three Keys to Victory: LSU
Each week, I'll look into the weekend's matchup and try to pinpoint three things Louisiana Tech needs to do to win on Saturday. This week, the Dogs head south to Baton Rouge to take on the #6 LSU Tigers at 6:00 PM. How can Tech ruin LSU's title hopes and extend its win streak to 6 games on Saturday?
1) Born on the Bye-you
As we all know, Tech is coming off of its early bye week tomorrow and getting back to action. In the Holtz era, the Bulldogs are 1-4 coming off of their bye weeks. That one victory was a two point win over UTEP in 2015, which ended up having Tech’s lowest point total of the season (17). Let’s face it, to this point Tech has been awfully flat (or flatly awful) coming out of their bye weeks under Holtz. If Tech wants to beat LSU in Baton Rouge, they’ll have to figure out how to change that. But it’s not all sour grapes in this category. While Tech had last weekend off, LSU travelled to Alabama to take on #7 Auburn. If anyone’s going to be tired or worn down this weekend, I’d expect it to be the Tigers. To win this game, Skip Holtz and the Dogs will need to have taken complete advantage of their open date.
2) No mistakes
It’s no secret that LSU’s strength is their defense. For Tech to come out and win tomorrow, they’ll need flawless play from the offensive playmakers. We need to see the same J’Mar Smith that was slinging the ball confidently regardless of the pressure brought from Southern’s Jaguars. We need the running backs to hit holes consistently and hold onto the ball for dear life. The wide receivers have to catch every ball that comes their way; no tips, no drops, and no opportunities for the Tigers ballhawks like Greedy Williams to make plays. Most of all, the Bulldogs need to execute under the bright lights and keep cool under pressure. If they can keep a clean sheet, Tech can beat LSU for the first time since 1904.
3) Burrow in on Defense
Offensively, the Tigers rely more heavily on their running game than their passing game. Because of this, Tech’s best chance to win on Saturday will be stopping the run. LSU Senior RB Nick Brossette has watched from the sideline for years, but so far he’s made the most of his opportunity in 2018. Brossette is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has two touchdowns in the first three games of the year. He is also the Tigers’ best player with a rating of 84.7, according to our friends over at Pro Football Focus. What the Bulldogs and Defensive Coordinator Blake Baker need to do is come up with a plan that takes Brossette and the running game out of the offense as much as possible. They need to force the game into the hands of Joe Burrow, who has looked less-than-stellar through three games as LSU Quarterback. He’s completing less than half his passes, and has thrown for fewer yards through three games than J’Mar Smith has through two. Burrow is particularly inaccurate when pressured, completing just 2 of his 19 pass attempts so far this season with opponents in his face. If that wasn’t salivating enough for Baker, let’s look at Burrow’s statline against Southeastern a couple weeks ago: 10 for 20, 151 yards, and 2TDs. If there’s one thing I’m sure Tech has, it’s a better defense than Southeastern’s. If Tech can find a way to force the passing game to be the focal point of LSU’s offense, they have a chance to win in Baton Rouge tomorrow night.
Evan is also a contributor to gtpdd.dog, a lighthearted Louisiana Tech blog. Be sure to follow @gotechplsdntdie on Twitter.