Chick-fil-A Bowl 2012: 5 LSU Starters Better Than Clemson Counterparts
The LSU Tigers will square off against the Clemson Tigers in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31.
This game features a matchup of a great offense in Clemson against a suffocating defense in LSU.
Les Miles' LSU team is favored heading into the matchup, but why so? What are the areas that LSU should dominate in this matchup?
Let's go ahead and preview this matchup as we provide five LSU starters who are better than their Clemson counterparts.
Right here, right now!
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You can put just about any defensive end in the nation against Sam Montgomery and LSU's dominant rush end would win that argument.
After getting off to a slow start early on this season, Montgomery was exceptional down the stretch for the Tigers. He recorded five sacks in his last six games, three of which came against South Carolina and Alabama, two of the best offensive lines in the country.
Montgomery's counterpart in this game would be Clemson DE Malliciah Goodman, who recorded four sacks for Clemson.
Look for Montgomery to get after Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and make it tough on him in this matchup.
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There are two really good cornerbacks in this football game with LSU's Tharold Simon and Clemson's Xavier Brewer.
But even though he was snubbed on the All-SEC team, make no mistake about it, Simon is the top corner in this game.
The Tigers' talented junior had an exceptional season after taking over a starting job in the defensive backfield with the graduation of Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal.
Simon, like Montgomery, was great in the second half of the season, picking off three passes in the Tigers' final five games.
Most importantly, all five of those games resulted in victories for LSU.
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Tharold Simon is the best cornerback in this football game, but make no mistake about it, LSU safety Eric Reid is the best overall defensive back in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Just take a look at this hit here in this photo.
That is something that Reid does on a regular basis. He mans the middle of the field for this LSU team and makes other teams think twice about going over the middle.
Clemson senior Rashard Hall is solid, make no doubt about it.
But when it comes to the best safety in this game, All-American Eric Reid takes the cake.
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Not only is Kevin Minter one of the top linebackers in the SEC, but this kid could very well be named an All-American when all is said and done.
Minter recorded an eye-popping 111 tackles this season from his middle linebacker position. In addition to that, he also had three sacks and an interception.
His counterpart is Clemson linebacker Jonathan Willard, who had a solid 75 tackles and two sacks. But let's be honest, those numbers can't compete with those of Minter.
Minter is the engine that makes this LSU defense go.
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Who should we title as Clemson's punter?
Either way, there is no question about who LSU's top punter is.
Sophomore Brad Wing has been phenomenal for the Tigers this season. He was a freshman All-American last season and was arguably even better this year.
How Wing was not named to the first-team All-SEC team is beyond puzzling, but this kid has one of the best legs in college football, without a question.
Field position could make a huge difference in a matchup like this, and you can be certain that LSU will have the edge there with Wing punting the football.
He is that good.