This will be one of college football's biggest games. With Oregon and LSU both ranked in the top five these two explosive programs will have a shot at each other on September 3 at Cowboy stadium. It will be the classic offense versus defense matchup that fans dream of. With an explosive Oregon offense that features Darron Thomas and LaMichael James and a very tough LSU defense that features a team that only allowed 20-plus points in just five of their 12 games last season. They return eight starters.
Over 80,000 tickets have been reported to have been sold to two huge fan bases that are not afraid to travel to see there team. This game will have major BCS implications which makes it all the more interesting to watch.
Look for this game to be one of the best and biggest game of the season.
Here is the starting lineup for the 3rd ranked Oregon Ducks:
QB: Darron Thomas
HB: LaMichael James & Kenjon Barber
WR: Larasier Tuinel, Justin Hoffman, and Josh Huff
TE: David Paulson
OL: Tackles: Darrion Weems and Mark Asper
Guards: Carson York and Ramsen Golpaphsin
Center: Hroniss Grasu
DL: Terrell Turner, Taylor Hart, Ricky Heimuli, Dian Jordan, and Brandon Hanna
LB: Josh Kaddu, Michael Clay, and Dewitt Stuckey
Secondary: Anthony Gildon, Terrance Mitchell, John Boyett, and Eddie Pleasant
Here is the starting lineup for the 4th ranked LSU Tigers: *Possible starter
QB: Jarrett Lee
RB: Spencer Ware & Alfred Blue
FB: J.C. Copeland
WR: Reuben Randle & Kadron Boone with James Wright & Odell Beckham subbing in
TE: Deangelo Peterson & Chase Clement
OT: Chris Faulk & Alex Hurst
OG: La'el Collins & Will Blackwell
C: P.J. Lonergan
DE: Ken Adams & Sam Montgomery *Lavar Edwards
DT: Josh Downs & Anthony Johnson *Michael Brockers
Weakside LB: Ryan Baker
MLB: Kevin Minter *Karnell Hatcher
Strongside LB: Stefoin Francois
CB: Mo Claiborne & Tyrann Mathieu *Tharold Simon
FS: Eric Reid
SS: Branden Taylor
LaMichael James: Running back LaMichael James will undoubtably be the returning star for the Oregon Ducks. James lead the nation with 144.2 yards per game also adding 12 points which also lead the nation makes James one of the top backs in all of college football. Last season, James had 1,731 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, 21 of those being rushing. James will be the spotlight player for the Ducks in this game and throughout the season.
Darron Thomas: Quarterback Darron Thomas will also be a key player for Oregon in this highly anticipated game. Thomas lead his team to a national championship last season and looks to not only repeat the performance this year but looks to win the whole thing. Last season Thomas passed for 2,881 yards which lead to 30 passing touchdowns. Thomas also has 61.5 completion percentage. He threw only nine interceptions last season and was sacked 10 times. Thomas is a fast a versatile quarterback who is not afraid to run the ball if the pass is not there.
Josh Huff: Wide Receiver Josh Huff has been getting a lot of hype after having a breakout true freshman season. Although Huff suffered a knee injury which sidelined him through camp he is expected to play against LSU. Last season Huff had 19 catches for 303 yards and lead to 3 touchdowns. At running back where Huff played for half the season, he had 214 yards averaging 17.8 yards and lead to two rushing touchdowns.
Jarrett Lee: Quarterback Jarrett Lee has been given the go as the starting Quarterback against Oregon. Lee is going to need to step up and command his offense if LSU wants to have a shot at winning this game. This is a huge opportunity for Lee who may be seeing a lot of playing time depending on the outcome of the Jordan Jefferson incident. Lee's best season came in 2008 when he completed 143 passes for 1,873 yards which lead to 13 touchdowns. He threw 16 interceptions and was sacked eight times. Last season, Lee threw for 573 yards that lead to 2 touchdowns. He also threw 1 interception and was sacked 6 times. Lee is going to need to take control quickly and set the pace for the Tigers.
Spencer Ware: Running back Spencer Ware is going to need to have a solid game against a tough Oregon defense. Lee is going to need all the support he can get which Ware will hopefully be able to fill the role of. Last season Ware ran for 175 yards averaging 7.3 yards which lead to 1 touchdown. As a receiver Ware went for 101 yards averaging 10.1 yards per catch.
LSU Defense: Perhaps the strongest part of LSU's team comes in the form of their defense. LSU's defense feels confident that they will be able to keep up with the fastest players on Oregon. “We’ve got defensive ends who run like they should be playing back there with us,” said strong safety Brandon Taylor. LSU prepared for the Ducks by practicing with two offensive scout teams so the defense was always going up against a fresh offense. LSU is going to need to put pressure on the Ducks new center in order to pressure and contain Darron Thomas.
Cornerback Cliff Harries is suspended for the opener against LSU after being pulled over for going 118 mph and for being under suspicion of smoking weed.
Linebacker Kiko Alonso may also not find the field depending on head coach Chip Kelly's decision. Alonso suffered a knee injury last season and was suspended after a arrest in the spring.
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson is suspended indefinitely for his involvement in a bar fight.
Reserve linebacker Josh Johns will also not be playing after he was arrested on felony second-degree battery charges.
The Tigers will also be without Wide Receiver Russell Shepard, who is suspended indefinitely after communicating with a teammate regarding the nature of questions asked of him by NCAA investigators.
Left Guard Josh Dworaczyk will be having surgery so he will be out.
Right Guard Josh Williford is questionable with injury.
Quarterback Matchup: Advantage—Oregon
I'm giving Oregon the advantage in the Quarterback matchup because simply put Darron Thomas is a better quarterback. He has better numbers and is a starter for Oregon who has better numbers. I hope that Jarrett Lee is successful and has a good game and maybe he can lead his team to beat Oregon but overall Thomas is better than Lee. LSU is just under to much pressure with off field legal issues.
Running Back Matchup: Advantage—Oregon
There is no comparison between LaMichael James and Spencer Ware. James has better stats and could have gone very high in the draft had he chosen to take that route. James is a possible Heisman candidate depending on how his season goes. Spencer Ware does not have the skill, quickness, and power to produce the numbers that James will put up.
Defensive Matchup: Advantage—LSU
LSU will be very strong defensively. They have been working very hard in preparation this year by practicing with two offensive scout teams so the defense was always going up against a fresh offense. LSU is going to need to put pressure on the Ducks new center in order to pressure and contain Darron Thomas. They should be very fast which will be a major key to success against this team.
Sorry LSU fans, but I think Oregon has the upper hand in this one. They are just two fast and are simply a better team. LSU is without their starting quarterback and other key players that have been troubled with offseason legal issues.
Oregon has shown that they are a top level team who are definitely going to go very deep this season. Look for LSU's defense to be a tough opponent against Oregon but they will ultimately come out on top.