LSU Tigers vs. Furman Paladins Complete Game Preview
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LSU's national championship hopes were dashed last week in the Tigers' 27-24 loss to Ole Miss. Now the Tigers must look ahead to the four games left on the schedule.
The easiest test left on LSU's schedule will be Furman on Saturday night. The game will get ugly quick, as the Paladins have an overall record of 3-4 in a horrendous conference.
LSU will get a bye week after its game against Furman. The Tigers must straighten things out, as their next game will be in Tuscaloosa to play Alabama.
Here is everything you need to know:
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Place: Tiger Stadium; Baton Rouge, La.
TV: Pay-per-view TigerVision
Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network
LSU Keys to Victory
Show Up, but Play Hard
LSU's freshmen could beat down Furman. But do not be surprised if the Tigers give a halfhearted effort on Saturday night.
The Tigers have been known to take their foot off the gas if they are knocked out of the national championship hunt early in the season. The 2008 and 2012 seasons are perfect examples of LSU playing mediocre, half-speed football to close the season.
Les Miles must inspire his team to play with passion until the final whistle.
LSU made far too many errors against Ole Miss.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw three interceptions. The defense missed numerous tackles. Les Miles made a horrendous coaching gaffe late in the fourth quarter.
LSU will not get much competition from Furman. It is important the Tigers challenge themselves to get better. One way to do that is to clean up their play.
Furman Keys to Victory
Furman defeated Appalachian State last week despite being dominated in total yards, first downs and penalties. But the Paladins forced the Mountaineers to fumble eight times to go along with a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown.
If Furman wants to keep it close against LSU, it will need to force Mettenberger to throw multiple interceptions.
Furman committed 11 penalties against Appalachian State, which equated to 115 yards. If the Paladins do that against LSU, they will dig an even deeper hole against elite talent.
The LSU secondary can be prone to big plays. Furman has little to lose, so why not chunk it deep a few times to top receiver Andrej Suttles?
Furman should also blitz on defense. Bring the house early and see if the defense can make a big play like it did against the Mountaineers.
LSU Players to Watch
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Zach Mettenberger is a senior quarterback, so somebody will need to take the reins of the LSU offense when he leaves.
Freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings has been effective in situational roles for the Tigers. Jennings will get his opportunity against Furman to play quarterback for multiple series when the game gets out of hand.
Expect LSU to get Jennings more repetitions throwing the football.
LSU linebacker Lamar Louis showed some promise against Ole Miss. Louis raked in six tackles on limited snaps.
LSU is looking for more playmakers on defense, so Louis could be that guy. Expect him to get more snaps on Saturday.
Furman Players to Watch
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Sophomore quarterback Reese Hannon has been efficient since taking over as the starter for Furman, only throwing one interception.
But LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has feasted on young quarterbacks in Tiger Stadium. Florida's Trent Murphy figured that out weeks ago.
Hannon will need to play fearless on Saturday.
Sophomore linebacker Carl Rider is a tackling machine. He leads the Paladins in tackles, tackles for loss and fumbles.
Rider and his teammates will need to wrap up LSU star running back Jeremy Hill, a task easier said than done.
What They Are Saying
LSU head coach Les Miles said he must improve as a teacher as the Tigers get ready for Furman, via Deke Bellavia of WWL.com:
I can do a better job of coaching. I can do a better job of teaching my guys. And I can do a better job of preparing us...the good news about Furman is that when we watch the film, we'll realize this is a challenge, they got good players, they'll tackle you, they'll run to the ball, they'll make plays offensively, and we'll have to improve.
It's a good feeling to have a coach behind you to take the blame for a game like that even when it's not his fault. It's us as a whole, as a team. Everybody is hurting from it. I don't blame it on him.
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Predicting the attendance would be a far more difficult—and interesting—task then predicting the score.
LSU fans are fearing a record-low attendance on Saturday, especially after a deflating loss against Ole Miss. There might only be a third of Tiger Stadium filled by kickoff on Saturday.
But no matter who shows up, a game will still be played.
The Tigers should plaster the Paladins. Expect Mettenberger and Jennings to combine for three passing touchdowns as the Tigers get ready for Alabama in early November.
Score: LSU 52, Furman 10