It is the eve before the Huskies vs. Tigers game in football crazy town of Baton Rouge, LA. If you have had the chance to be in the South for a football game, you know what the Huskies are in for. Football is a religion in the South. Tailgating will start tonight and lead into tomorrow for a kick off time of 6:00 PM CST. The fans will be loud. They will be unruly. It is the SEC vs. the Pac12.
LSU enters the game 28-0 vs. non-conference teams in the regular season including wins over Oregon and West Virginia last year.
The basis of the Tigers great teams have been on the defensive side of the ball and this year is no different. As many know, they loss Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger came up with timely play after timely play last year in the biggest games for the Tigers including the wins over Arkansas and Georgia. This loss puts a talented freshman in Jalen Mills on the field sooner than the Tigers wanted but is heralded as being the next great LSU cornerback. On the opposite side of Mills is the reason why the Honey Badger was tarted so much in Tharold Simon. Simon has the size and speed that allows the Tigers to give him half the field in coverage and for surely will be matched up with talented Sophomore Kasen Williams for UW. The Tigers defense doesn’t start in the backend; it starts up front with two of the best defensive ends in all of college football in KeKe Mingo and Same Montgomery. The M&M boys are both juniors bound for the first round of the NFL draft and are going to be a handful for the Huskies offensive line to contain. The defensive pressure applied up front allows two of the best defensive back field mates in college football to make plays in Tharold Simon and Eric Reid. Reid is an active safety that can come down in the box, defend in the slot, and make plays in zone coverage.
On offense, the Tigers are big and experienced up front even with the loss of Left Tackle Chris Faulk for the season that was on the Outland Watch List. This may move Chris Hurst (battling a lingering ankle issue) to the blind side of QB Zach Mettenberger. The Tigers base their offensive game plan around smash mouth-old man football setting up the play action pass with Mettenberger. They are loaded at the running back position with Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Kenny Hilliard, and Alfred Blue who all get plenty of carries to wear down opposing team’s defenses. The missing element for the Tigers in past years has been the ability to stretch the field vertically either through play action or a drop back situation but now with Junior transfer Zach Mettenberger the Tigers have a QB that can do this. Mettenberger is a transfer in from Butler CC (U of Georgia) where he threw for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns with only four interceptions. With the likes of Odell Beckham, Russell Shepard, and Jarvis Landry, the Tigers have plenty of speed on the outside to cause problems to a new look Huskies Defense.
The game plan for the Tigers will look very similar to when they face the Arkansas Razorbacks who are also a team that has a shaky offensive-line, run a pro-style 3-WR set, and have a suspect defense. They will look to attack with pressure from the edge, contain in the middle with their defensive line, and be physical with the Huskies WR’s. On offense, the Tigers will look to pound the ball against a smaller defense and wearing them out later in the game looking for big pass plays down the field off of play action.