LSU vs. TCU: Can Casey Pachall Take Advantage of LSU Defense's Inexperience?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
TCU head coach Gary Patterson made it clear that he won't name either Pachall or Trevone Boykin the starting quarterback, but Pachall is presumed to be the man for the job after Boykin struggled under the helm last season.
If Pachall can return to the form he was at prior to withdrawing from TCU last season, he'll be a huge weapon as the Horned Frogs look to upset SEC-powerhouse LSU.
How well will Casey Pachall play in Week 1 against LSU?
The Tigers defense, while consistently ranked among the best in the country, is not as experienced in 2013. The team has just four returning starters on defense.
There are just three seniors in the starting lineup on defense as well, according to LSUFootball.net.
However, there are equally as many sophomores as seniors starting for LSU on the defensive side of the ball, as well as five juniors.
Compared to years past, the Tigers also lack star power on defense. LSU only has three members on the preseason All-SEC team. Junior defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and senior safety Craig Loston earned first-team All-SEC preseason honors, while senior linebacker Lamin Barrow made the second team.
With so much youth on the LSU defense, and with defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery gone, Pachall could pick apart a unit that has yet to play a live game together.
Pachall is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country. According to Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star, Pachall ranks second in the Big 12 in total career starts with 17.
Returning Big 12 QBs with D1 career starts: Texas' David Ash (18), TCU's Casey Pachall (17), Kansas' Jake Heaps (16, at BYU)— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) April 13, 2013
Over his career, Pachall has racked up some pretty impressive numbers, too. In the 24 games he's appeared in, he's thrown for 3,947 yards, 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Perhaps, what makes the quarterback such a weapon for TCU, though, is Pachall's ability in big games.
Against Boise State in 2011, he threw for 474 yards and four scores. He also went toe-to-toe with Robert Griffin III in the 2011 season opener for TCU with a 251-yard, four-touchdown showing. Of course, Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy that year.
Pachall is also terrific on the road. In games he's played away from Fort Worth, either on the road or at a neutral location, he's 11-1. The only loss came to the Baylor Bears in 2011.
Saturday's game will be played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, so the Horned Frogs will still have a sizable showing in the stands. But it's never quite the same as playing on your own home turf.
Ultimately, LSU's defense, while it will surely be great again in 2013, hasn't had enough games under its belt as a unit to be able to stop a quarterback as experienced as Pachall.
And that's why the Horned Frogs will pull off the early-season upset over the Tigers.
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