Washington vs. LSU Preview: Why LSU Will Win

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2012

Washington vs. LSU Preview: Why LSU Will Win

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    After each team earned a convincing Week 1 victory, Washington and LSU are prepared to square off in one of the top nonconference college football games this weekend.

    Washington will bring its high-powered offense to Baton Rouge and attempt to knock off the defending SEC champs in what should be a battle of great offense vs. great defense.

    The last time these two teams met was back in 2009 when LSU squeaked out a 31-23 road victory over the Jake Locker-led Huskies.

    What's changed three years later and should we expect a similar result this time around?

    Let's go ahead and give you a complete game preview of this Week 2 college football showdown, Bleacher Report style!

Game-Day Information

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    Who: Washington at LSU

    When: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

    Where: Baton Rouge, La.

    Stadium: Tiger Stadium

    TV: ESPN

    Internet Stream: Watch ESPN 

Depth Chart (LSU)

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    Offense

    Quarterback

    Zach Mettenberger - Jr.
    Stephen Rivers - Fr. (redshirt)
    Rob Bolden - Jr.

     

    Running Back

    Alfred Blue - Jr.
    Kenny Hilliard - So.
    Michael Ford - Jr.
    Spencer Ware - Jr.
    Jeremy Hill - Fr.

     

    Fullback

    J.C. Copeland - Jr.
    Connor Neighbors - So.

     

    Wide Reciever

    James Wright - Jr.
    Kadron Boone - Jr.
    Odell Beckham, Jr. - So.
    Russell Shepard - Sr.

     

    Tight End

    Chase Clement - Sr.
    Nic Jacobs - So.
    Travis Dickson - So.

     

    Left Tackle

    Chris Faulk - Jr.
    Chris Davenport - Jr.
    Jerald Hawkins - Fr.

     

    Left Guard

    La'el Collins - So.
    Josh Dworaczyk - Sr.
    Jonah Austin - Fr.

     

    Center

    P.J. Lonergan - Sr.
    Elliot Porter - So.

     

    Right Guard

    Josh Williford - Jr.
    Trai Turner - Fr.

     

    Right Tackle

    Alex Hurst - Sr.
    Vadal Alexander - Fr.

     

    Defense

    Left End

    Barkevious Mingo - Jr.
    Jermauria Rasco - So.
    Chancey Aghayere - Sr.

     

    Left Tackle

    Josh Downs - Sr.
    Ego Ferguson - So.

     

    Right Tackle

    Bennie Logan - Jr.
    Anthony Johnson - So.
    Quentin Thomas - Fr. (redshirt)

     

    Right End

    Sam Montgomery - Jr.
    Lavar Edwards - Sr.
    Jordan Allen - So.

     

    Strong-side Linebacker

    Luke Muncie - Jr.
    Tahj Jones - Jr.
    Lamar Louis - Fr. 
or 
Kwon Alexander - Fr.

     

    Middle Linebacker

    Kevin Minter - Jr.
    Ronnie Feist - Fr.
    Trey Granier - Fr.

     

    Weak-side Linebacker

    Lamin Barrow - Jr.
    Deion Jones - Fr.
    Lorenzo Phillips - Fr.

     

    Left Cornerback

    Jalen Mills - Fr.
    Jalen Collins - So.

     

    Right Cornerback

    CB Tharold Simon - Jr.
    Dwayne Thomas - Fr.
    Derrick Raymond - Fr.

     

    Strong Safety

    Craig Loston - Jr.
    Micah Eugene - Fr. (redshirt)
    Corey Thompson - Fr.

     

    Free Safety

    Eric Reid - Jr.
    Ronald Martin - So.

Depth Chart (Washington)

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    Offense

    Quarterback

    Keith Price - Jr.
    Derrick Brown - Fr. (redshirt)
    Cyler Miles -  Fr.

     

    Running Back

    Bishop Sankey - So.
    Erich Wilson II - Fr.
    Willis Wilson - So.
    Dezden Petty - Fr. (redshirt)
    Jonathan Amosa - Sr.
    Cole Sager - Sr.

     

    Wide Receiver

    Kasen Williams - So.
    Cody Bruns - Sr.
    Jaydon Mickens - Fr.
    Kevin Smith -  Jr.
    Kendyl Taylor - Fr.
    DiAndre Campbell - So.

     

    Tight End

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins - So.
    Michael Hartvigson - So.
    Evan Hudson - So.
    Joshua Perkins - Fr. (redshirt)

     

    Left Tackle

    Micah Hatchie - So.
    Dexter Charles - Fr. (redshirt)

     

    Left Guard

    Colin Tanigawa - So.
    Dexter Charles - Fr. (redshirt)
    Siosifa Tufunga - Fr. (redhsirt)

     

    Center

    Drew Schaefer - Sr.
    Erik Kohler - Jr.

     

    Right Guard

    Erik Kohler - Jr.
    James Atoe - So.
    Shane Brostek - Fr.

     

    Right Tackle

    Mike Criste - So.

     

    Defense

    Defensive End

    Talia Crichton - Sr.
    Pio Vatuvei - Fr.
    Danny Shelton - So.
    Semisi Tokolahi - Sr.
    Lawrence Lagafuaina - So.
    Andrew Hudson - So. 
    Sione Potoa'e - Jr.
    Josh Shirley - So.
    Connor Cree - Fr. (redshirt)

     

    Linebacker

    Travis Feeney - Fr. (redshirt)
    Princeton Fuimaono - Jr.
    John Timu - So.
    Thomas Tutogi - Jr.
    Taz Stevenson - Jr.
    Shaq Thompson - Fr.
    Sean Parker - Jr.

     

    Safety

    Will Shamburger - Jr.
    Justin Glenn - Sr.
    Sean Parker - Jr.
    Anthony Gobern - Sr.

     

    Cornerback

    Desmond Trufant - Sr.
    Marcus Peters - Fr. (redshirt)
    Tre Watson - Jr.
    Gregory Ducre - Jr.

     

    *Depth chart courtesy of seattletimes.com

What Happened to the Tigers Last Week

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    LSU welcomed North Texas to Baton Rouge and when it was all said and done, the Tigers had to leave Tiger Stadium with high expectations for their team heading into this week's game.

    LSU was dominant on offense, featuring a run game that many believe is the most potent attack in the nation.

    Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard combined to run for 264 yards and two touchdowns in leading LSU to a 41-14 route over North Texas.

    First-year starter Zach Mettenberger looked good at quarterback, completing 19-of-26 for 192 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

    The defense was strong as always, holding North Texas to just 219 yards of offense in the game.

What Happened to Washington Last Week

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    Washington jumped out to an early 14-0 lead against San Diego State and held on for a solid 21-12 victory.

    Keith Price started right where he left off last season for the Huskies, completing 25 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown.

    In total yards, Washington out-gained the Aztecs by just one yard, 328 to 327. Outside of that, Washington appeared to have control of this contest from start to finish.

What It Means to Both Teams

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    This is arguably the top game in the country in Week 2.

    LSU is obviously among the best in the SEC, and outside of Oregon and USC, Washington could make a solid case for being the third-best team in the Pac-12.

    Both of these teams feature athletes all over the field, so there should be plenty of points put up on the scoreboard.

    In the end, the SEC is a whole different brand of football than Keith Price and this Washington team is used to seeing.

Key Player for LSU

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    This will be Zach Mettenberger's first true test of the 2012 college football season and one that he must pass if he wants to remain a fan-favorite with the LSU faithful.

    Mettenberger was solid in his first game as the Tigers' starting cornerback, but he played the entire game with a lead, knowing that his team was in control of the game at all times.

    This Washington team is explosive and could give LSU a run for its money if the Tigers do not play smart football.

    At some point in this game, Mettenberger is going to have to show that he can convert big third-down plays and move the ball for this LSU offense.

    That's why he is the key player for LSU in this game.

Key Player for Washington

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    Call me a slacker, if you must, because you think I am taking the easy route by selecting two quarterbacks as the key players.

    But truth be told, this Washington offense is only as good as Keith Price is on a game-to-game basis.

    Price is what makes this offense go, and when he is on—like he was in that bowl game last season—this Washington team is tough to beat.

    If Price can have another big game this week, watch out, folks.

    This Washington team should not be taken lightly.

    That's for sure.

LSU Will Win If...

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    They stick to what they are traditionally good at—running the football and playing aggressive in-your-face defense from start to finish.

    Let's be honest here: LSU is the better team in this game.

    On the other hand, Washington's offense can put up points in bunches if Keith Price gets in a rhythm in this one.

    The defense needs to play up to expectations and dominate the line of scrimmage. If the defensive line can keep Price and this Washington rushing attack in tow, while controlling the run on the offensive side, then LSU should walk away with a win in this game.

Washington Will Win If...

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    Everything goes just about as perfect as it possibly could.

    This isn't to say that the Huskies are not a good football team, but in order to beat the defending SEC champs, a whole lot would have to go good for this Washington team.

    If Keith Price can get this offense going with some early points on the board and find some running room against this smothering LSU defense, then Washington has a chance in this one.

    What the Huskies defense can do against this LSU rushing attack remains to be seen, but if they can answer both challenges at hand, look out, folks.

    This game could come down to the wire and Keith Price has the experience factor in his favor in this contest.

Prediction

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    This game will remain close throughout the first half, but in classic LSU-fashion, the Tigers will pull away in the second half.

    The Tigers' rushing attack and both the defensive and offensive lines will simply overpower Washington and take control of the game in the trenches down the stretch.

    Keith Price will keep the Huskies in this game with his arm and his tremendous speed, but he won't have enough to pull out the upset.

    Look for LSU's backfield to have another tremendous outing, rushing for more than 250 yards in this one.

    Make it: LSU 28, Washington 17.