LSU Football: 5 Things We Need to See in Outback Bowl
It wouldn't hurt to see a fundamentally sound LSU football team take on a mentally strong Iowa squad in the 2014 Outback Bowl.
Inspired play. Is it too hard to ask for these days? Judging by LSU's torpid performances against the likes of Ole Miss, Furman and Arkansas this season, it might be.
So first things first, an aggressive LSU team must take the field against a well-coached Iowa bunch that executes assignments and wins football games.
The rest should follow as such.
A Well-Prepared Anthony Jennings Taking the Field
Coach 'em up, Cam.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has the unfortunate task of preparing his offense without his star quarterback. With Zach Mettenberger healing from a torn ACL, backup Anthony Jennings will serve as the Tigers' starter.
Can he rope-a-dope another victory like he did versus Arkansas?
It's safe to say he won't catch anyone off guard this time, but let's hope the moment doesn't take him by surprise.
Cameron is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game, and he will have Jennings prepared to lead the Tigers to victory. Will it formulate into a grand performance by this young quarterback?
A Heavy Dosage of Hill and Magee
Balance will be needed to beat Iowa, but that doesn't necessarily mean Terrence Magee and Jeremy Hill shouldn't combine for 35 rushes.
It's true that balance is indeed a must, but stellar performances by Hill and Magee are needed more than ever come Jan. 1.
The Tigers are far too talented to rely on their backup quarterback for a victory.
Iowa's run defense, which allowed an average of 120.8 yards per game, is the fourth best run defense in the Big Ten. Considering the type of offenses that are showcased in that conference, that's an impressive stat to say the least.
Can Hill and Magee combine for 200-plus yards against this stingy defense? Both have carried the ball a combined 27 times in the last two games.
Knowing Les Miles, it's not too far of a stretch to assume Hill and Magee generate more carries than that with Mettenberger sidelined. Quite frankly, it will be needed against a physical Iowa front-seven.
A Bounce-Back Anthony Johnson Performance
Don't think we forgot about you, Anthony Johnson.
Johnson's performance against Arkansas was less freak more meek, as his athletic prowess was overwhelmed with clumsy offside penalties. It was simply a lack of focus.
Still, Johnson has earned a big reputation in the SEC, which saw him nab credit that Ego Ferguson deserved. Johnson over Ferguson as a Second-Team All-SEC defensive lineman? Voted on by the coaches nonetheless.
Though the SEC coaches have turned a naked eye to Johnson's underwhelming performance this season, the fans haven't.
Johnson needs a return to form against Iowa, especially since he'll be heavily counted on against a power-I offense. Strap it up, Freak.
D.J. Welter's Best Game
D.J. Welter is a Big Ten defender through and through.
Welter is like a Toyota Yaris: Nothing sexy about that thing, but it's durable and will last over 200,000 miles.
Though Welter may not be the most fluid pass rusher or the most graceful sideline-to-sideline runner, he is a force on the inside that absorbs multiple blows.
Count your blessings, Tiger fans. The man you love to hate will be heavily counted on in this encounter with Iowa.
Because as Mark Weisman hits the hole and sheds defenders' tackles, Welter's strength on the inside will be an ideal counter to Weisman's hard-nosed running style.
A Starting Rashard Robinson
There's no turning back now. Cornerback Rashard Robinson proved that he belongs on that field as a starter, and every time he comes into the game, the defense plays better.
Following his sensational outing against Mike Evans in the Texas A&M game, Robinson did not start against Arkansas.
You remember how that game started.
Heck, Brandon Allen had Arkansas up 17-14 at the half. Going against a team that LSU might have trouble hyping itself up to face, a starting Robinson could help negate any possibility of Iowa hitting a home run ball early on the Tigers.
He's proved he's worthy, and he needs to be starting alongside Tre'Davious White in the bowl game.