Oregon vs LSU: Saturday Night Game Preview

Erik UnderwoodCorrespondent IIISeptember 1, 2011

Oregon's Heisman candidate LaMichael James
Oregon's Heisman candidate LaMichael JamesJonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Saturday, September 3

8:00 PM ET on ABC at Cowboys Stadium


The Ducks are coming fresh off a season in which they reached the BCS Championship Game, losing on a last-second field goal to Cam Newton and Auburn. They start the season highly ranked at No. 3, and return many key players from their high-octane offense that averaged 47 points per game last year.

On the defensive side of the ball, playmaking cornerback Cliff Harris will not play in Week 1 against LSU after being suspended by head coach Chip Kelly. Oregon’s defense was stout last year considering how many points their offense put up.

The Ducks will be playing their second consecutive SEC team if you count the BCS title game last year, and will look to keep the pace of the game fast against a team with a very good defense entering 2011.

Players to watch: QB Darron Thomas, RB LaMichael James, RB Kenjon Barner, LB Anthony Wallace



LSU’s offseason has been marred by controversy this year. The Tigers were first accused of being involved with street agent Willie Lyles, then had a group of players—including projected starting QB Jordan Jefferson—involved in a bar fight which could carry felony charges.

The Tigers will lean heavily on their defense this season considering their offense appears to be in constant flux due to the offseason arrests. They return seven starters to a defense that gave up only 18 points per game last year. Their rush defense has declined in each of the last four seasons, which could be because of the players they’ve had to replace each year.

Offensively, it will be interesting to see if Jarrett Lee can carry LSU to more consistency than they had last year.  At times the offense looked unstoppable, and at times it looked unmovable. Les Miles would love to see them get going to take pressure off the defense.

Players to watch: QB Jarrett Lee, WR Rueben Randle, DT Anthony Johnson, FS Craig Loston


For free picks against the spread and analysis of this game and the other big games of the weekend, visit my site Saturdays in the Fall!