Peach Bowl 2019: Underrated Stars to Watch and Picks in Oklahoma vs. LSU

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss (81) looks for room past Mississippi defensive back Myles Hartsfield (15) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. No. 1 LSU won 58-37. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

The success of the LSU Tigers' offense has been profiled at length during the college football season, but a few members of the unit could still be viewed as underrated stars. 

With the Oklahoma Sooners expected to hone in on Joe Burrow's top targets, the Heisman Trophy winner may have to rely on players further down the depth chart to win the Peach Bowl. 

The same strategy may be employed by the Big 12 champion's defense, as it is dealing with a few absences ahead of its meeting with the top-ranked SEC champion.


Underrated Stars to Watch in Peach Bowl

Thaddeus Moss, WR, LSU 

Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

The son of NFL legend Randy Moss has been a reliable target for Burrow, even with three other wide receivers owning 10 or more touchdown catches. 

In a four-game span from October 26-November 23, Thaddeus Moss hauled in 22 receptions and averaged over six yards per catch in each contest. 

In the 23-20 victory over the Auburn Tigers, he was one of four players to have seven or more catches and brought in six passes in the win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

With Oklahoma's secondary focused on stopping Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall, Moss could break free on a few occasions and connect with Burrow to advance drives. 

The 21-year-old may not be on the Sooners' radar entering the Peach Bowl because he only caught two passes for 12 yards in the SEC Championship Game. 

The junior's production could increase as well if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is not 100 percent. 

According to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, the running back picked up an injury during Tuesday's practice. 

Against Georgia, Edwards-Helaire had seven catches for 61 yards, and if he is not at full strength, Moss could step into a larger role in the aerial attack. 


Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma

Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

Oklahoma enters Mercedes-Benz Stadium at a defensive disadvantage with sack leader Ronnie Perkins suspended. 

According to The Athletic's Jason Kersey, Perkins will miss the Peach Bowl, as well as two other players,  due to a failed drug test. 

With the sophomore sidelined, the Sooners have to turn to other pass-rushers to put pressure on Burrow. 

Neville Gallimore earned two tackles and a sack in the Big 12 Championship Game win over the Baylor Bears. He has four sacks and two forced fumbles this season. 

In fact, three of the senior's four takedowns have come against ranked opponents, after he had two in the October victory over the Texas Longhorns. 

Even though Burrow has put up mesmerizing numbers, he has not been clean in the pocket, as he suffered 28 sacks

If Gallimore and others can slow down the LSU quarterback, the Sooners may be able to hang in the contest for longer than most experts and fans think. 



LSU over Oklahoma

Even if the Sooners had a full-strength defense at their disposal, they would face a hard time silencing the Heisman Trophy winner. 

Ed Orgeron's side leads the FBS in total yards per game and ranks third in points per contest. 

Since October began, Lincoln Riley's squad held two opponents under 20 points, and it conceded 23 or more in three of its four Top 25 matchups.

Conversely, LSU's defense comes into Atlanta in its best form of the campaign after it held Texas A&M and Georgia to 17 points in the last two games. 

If the Tigers receive similar production from their defense Saturday, the offense could be in a great position to open up a double-digit advantage.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com