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9/30/16 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

LSU fans are really starting to get pumped about tomorrow’s homecoming contest against Missouri, and it’s easy to see why. The weather is expected to be crisp and cool for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff and fans are eager to see just how different this team looks under the direction of interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Personally, I wish I could share in your utmost level of excitement, but I cannot. My saying this has nothing to do with the LSU situation and only a little to do with my lower back injury (S.I. joint) which has been getting the best of me. No, the main reason is because I’m sad to announce that my father-in-law, PJ Roths, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. For quite some time, PJ and I routinely watched LSU sports together on my back porch up until last week when he was too weak to join me. The Friday before the Auburn game, he was hospitalized. His last words to me were, “Sorry I won’t be able to watch the game with you, but we’ll do it next week.” I have no doubt that he’ll be right there with me tomorrow as promised, only he’ll be watching from the best seat in the house. Please keep PJ’s family – my family – in your thoughts and prayers. 

As promised, today I’ll give you my thoughts on who has the advantage in tomorrow’s game on offense, defense, and special teams, but before doing that, here are a few newsy tidbits to pass along.

• Footballscoop.com, a well-connected source in the coaching search business, says that neither Nick Saban nor Urban Meyer has any interest in leaving their current situations, but suggests the door is not completely closed on Jimbo Fisher, Tom Herman, and Bob Stoops. Author Scott Roussel also suggests a new potential candidate – Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly. You can read Roussel’s thoughts here

• In yesterday’s post-practice presser, Coach O gave a personnel update. Ethan Pocic and Kevin Toliver (both of whom missed some practice recently) are a go for tomorrow’s game. Toby Weathersby (ankle) is out, and Leonard Fournette (ankle) will be a game-time decision. He also implied that Davon Godchaux will likely play by saying, “things have cleared up” and “everything is looking pretty good.” 

• According to The American Press, walk-on punter Bailey Raborn has decided to transfer to McNeese State. Raborn, a product of St. Thomas More High School,  walked onto the team this summer and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and careless operation in mid-July.

• Because of my personal situation, I won’t be posting my weekly predictions this week. (I just didn’t have the time or strength to research the games.) I will, however, give you my LSU-Missouri prediction at the end of the following analysis.

Ok, let’s jump back to tomorrow’s game, which kicks off at 6:30 and will be televised on the SEC Network, by comparing the two teams on offense, defense, special teams, and intangibles. Here we go…

LSU offense vs. Missouri defense

LSU’s offensive line struggled last week against Auburn. So what will it look like when it goes against a school that prides itself on producing NFL defensive linemen? That’s hard to say, especially with so many questions looming. Questions like, “What will Coach O and Offensive Coordinator Ensminger’s tweaked offense look like?” and “What is the status of LSU’s two biggest players on offense?” As mentioned above, center Ethan Pocic missed some practice time this week (for undisclosed reasons) and running back Leonard Fournette also missed practice time due to his ankle injury. Both are likely to play tomorrow, but one has to wonder if they are at full health. Quite frankly, I don’t think Fournette has been 100% yet this season. As for LSU’s opponent, Terry Beckner Jr. seems to be the next great defensive lineman for the Missouri Tigers, and while their D-line unit is mostly unproven (two blowout wins against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State), the Tigers of Mizzou have allowed no more than 28 points in a contest this season (allowed 28 to Georgia and 26 to West Virginia). That’s not bad considering it took a last-second, fourth-down touchdown for Georgia to pull out a win. Also worth noting is that Missouri’s run defense can be a force to be reckoned with. Just ask Georgia’s Nick Chubb who was held to only 63 rushing yards on 19 carries in Week 2. Where LSU’s offense has a chance to really make hay against Mizzou is in the passing game. Excluding their blowout win against Delaware State, Missouri hasn’t given up fewer than 282 yards in any contest and gave up 308 against Georgia.
Advantage Unknown (too many questions)

LSU defense vs. Missouri offense

Andrew Lock has shocked many with his performance this season. The second-year starting quarterback didn’t make a lot of noise last season, but now he’s either first or second in the conference in five major passing categories. That’s quite a leap forward from last year’s 1,332 passing yards, four touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Despite Lock’s improvement, many feel Missouri doesn’t have enough athletes surrounding him to produce the type of explosive offense Missouri fans have grown accustomed to, although they sure did erupt last week in their 79-0 win over lowly Delaware State. On the flip side, LSU’s defense has played very well minus a few hiccups in the secondary. The most interesting stats from both teams are sacks and sacks given up. LSU is second in the SEC in sacks with 14, while Missouri is first in fewest sacks allowed, with only one sack given up all season. But to be fair, Missouri hasn’t faced a pass rush like the one LSU and Arden Key will bring tomorrow night. Lock will likely make some throws and have Missouri in the game, but I look for LSU’s defense to create turnovers with its pressure like it’s done every week to this point.
Slight Advantage LSU

Special teams

LSU’s and Missouri’s special teams haven’t been particularly special. Kicking-wise, Missouri has a slightly better yards per punt average, while LSU has a slightly better success rate in field goals and in PATs. (LSU is second to last in SEC PAT conversion percentage, while Missouri is last). The two teams have similar numbers in returns and yards allowed per return, so this might be the biggest push of the season. There might be room for optimism, though, as Ed Orgeron has told Bradley Dale Peveto to focus solely on special teams. Whether this provides better play in that phase altogether or not remains to be seen.
Push

Intangibles

The LSU Tigers will be playing their first home game without Les Miles as head coach in over a decade. Emotions will undoubtedly be running high, but Ed Orgeron has done a marvelous job of handling these situations in the past as an interim head coach at USC. Based on everything I’ve seen from Coach O so far, I have little doubt that he’ll have his group recharged and focused on the task at hand. I can tell you one thing, Coach O’s charisma and personality have already recharged the LSU fanbase, and the Fall’s first cool front of the year will surely add to the electric atmosphere.
Advantage LSU 

Prediction: LSU 31 Missouri 23


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9/30/16 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

LSU fans are really starting to get pumped about tomorrow’s homecoming contest against Missouri, and it’s easy to see why. The weather is expected to be crisp and cool for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff and fans are eager to see just how different this team looks under the direction of interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Personally, I wish I could share in your utmost level of excitement, but I cannot. My saying this has nothing to do with the LSU situation and only a little to do with my lower back injury (S.I. joint) which has been getting the best of me. No, the main reason is because I’m sad to announce that my father-in-law, PJ Roths, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. For quite some time, PJ and I routinely watched LSU sports together on my back porch up until last week when he was too weak to join me. The Friday before the Auburn game, he was hospitalized. His last words to me were, “Sorry I won’t be able to watch the game with you, but we’ll do it next week.” I have no doubt that he’ll be right there with me tomorrow as promised, only he’ll be watching from the best seat in the house. Please keep PJ’s family – my family – in your thoughts and prayers. 

As promised, today I’ll give you my thoughts on who has the advantage in tomorrow’s game on offense, defense, and special teams, but before doing that, here are a few newsy tidbits to pass along.

• Footballscoop.com, a well-connected source in the coaching search business, says that neither Nick Saban nor Urban Meyer has any interest in leaving their current situations, but suggests the door is not completely closed on Jimbo Fisher, Tom Herman, and Bob Stoops. Author Scott Roussel also suggests a new potential candidate – Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly. You can read Roussel’s thoughts here

• In yesterday’s post-practice presser, Coach O gave a personnel update. Ethan Pocic and Kevin Toliver (both of whom missed some practice recently) are a go for tomorrow’s game. Toby Weathersby (ankle) is out, and Leonard Fournette (ankle) will be a game-time decision. He also implied that Davon Godchaux will likely play by saying, “things have cleared up” and “everything is looking pretty good.” 

• According to The American Press, walk-on punter Bailey Raborn has decided to transfer to McNeese State. Raborn, a product of St. Thomas More High School,  walked onto the team this summer and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and careless operation in mid-July.

• Because of my personal situation, I won’t be posting my weekly predictions this week. (I just didn’t have the time or strength to research the games.) I will, however, give you my LSU-Missouri prediction at the end of the following analysis.

Ok, let’s jump back to tomorrow’s game, which kicks off at 6:30 and will be televised on the SEC Network, by comparing the two teams on offense, defense, special teams, and intangibles. Here we go…

LSU offense vs. Missouri defense

LSU’s offensive line struggled last week against Auburn. So what will it look like when it goes against a school that prides itself on producing NFL defensive linemen? That’s hard to say, especially with so many questions looming. Questions like, “What will Coach O and Offensive Coordinator Ensminger’s tweaked offense look like?” and “What is the status of LSU’s two biggest players on offense?” As mentioned above, center Ethan Pocic missed some practice time this week (for undisclosed reasons) and running back Leonard Fournette also missed practice time due to his ankle injury. Both are likely to play tomorrow, but one has to wonder if they are at full health. Quite frankly, I don’t think Fournette has been 100% yet this season. As for LSU’s opponent, Terry Beckner Jr. seems to be the next great defensive lineman for the Missouri Tigers, and while their D-line unit is mostly unproven (two blowout wins against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State), the Tigers of Mizzou have allowed no more than 28 points in a contest this season (allowed 28 to Georgia and 26 to West Virginia). That’s not bad considering it took a last-second, fourth-down touchdown for Georgia to pull out a win. Also worth noting is that Missouri’s run defense can be a force to be reckoned with. Just ask Georgia’s Nick Chubb who was held to only 63 rushing yards on 19 carries in Week 2. Where LSU’s offense has a chance to really make hay against Mizzou is in the passing game. Excluding their blowout win against Delaware State, Missouri hasn’t given up fewer than 282 yards in any contest and gave up 308 against Georgia.
Advantage Unknown (too many questions)

LSU defense vs. Missouri offense

Andrew Lock has shocked many with his performance this season. The second-year starting quarterback didn’t make a lot of noise last season, but now he’s either first or second in the conference in five major passing categories. That’s quite a leap forward from last year’s 1,332 passing yards, four touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Despite Lock’s improvement, many feel Missouri doesn’t have enough athletes surrounding him to produce the type of explosive offense Missouri fans have grown accustomed to, although they sure did erupt last week in their 79-0 win over lowly Delaware State. On the flip side, LSU’s defense has played very well minus a few hiccups in the secondary. The most interesting stats from both teams are sacks and sacks given up. LSU is second in the SEC in sacks with 14, while Missouri is first in fewest sacks allowed, with only one sack given up all season. But to be fair, Missouri hasn’t faced a pass rush like the one LSU and Arden Key will bring tomorrow night. Lock will likely make some throws and have Missouri in the game, but I look for LSU’s defense to create turnovers with its pressure like it’s done every week to this point.
Slight Advantage LSU

Special teams

LSU’s and Missouri’s special teams haven’t been particularly special. Kicking-wise, Missouri has a slightly better yards per punt average, while LSU has a slightly better success rate in field goals and in PATs. (LSU is second to last in SEC PAT conversion percentage, while Missouri is last). The two teams have similar numbers in returns and yards allowed per return, so this might be the biggest push of the season. There might be room for optimism, though, as Ed Orgeron has told Bradley Dale Peveto to focus solely on special teams. Whether this provides better play in that phase altogether or not remains to be seen.
Push

Intangibles

The LSU Tigers will be playing their first home game without Les Miles as head coach in over a decade. Emotions will undoubtedly be running high, but Ed Orgeron has done a marvelous job of handling these situations in the past as an interim head coach at USC. Based on everything I’ve seen from Coach O so far, I have little doubt that he’ll have his group recharged and focused on the task at hand. I can tell you one thing, Coach O’s charisma and personality have already recharged the LSU fanbase, and the Fall’s first cool front of the year will surely add to the electric atmosphere.
Advantage LSU 

Prediction: LSU 31 Missouri 23

9/29/16 5:15 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Excitement is in the air, not only because of the season’s first cool front which is making its way toward South Louisiana, but also because of the energizing effect interim head coach Ed Orgeron is having on the LSU football program. In today’s daily dose of Tiger news, I’ll recap for you the first ever Coach Ed Orgeron show which took place last night. But before going there, here are a half-dozen quick hitters to get you up to speed on other LSU-related news.

1. LSU defensive end Davon Godchaux was reinstated to the team yesterday after all charges against him were dropped due to inconsistent statements made by his girlfriend. As of now, it’s unclear whether Godchaux will play this Saturday, but my guess is he will. During yesterday’s SEC teleconference, Coach Orgeron said they will take it day-by-day and make sure they have all the information available before making any decision.

2. It’s also uncertain as to whether Leonard Fournette will play this Saturday. Orgeron said it will be a game-time decision. Fournette did not practice Tuesday and it’s unclear whether he did yesterday because practice was closed to the media.

3. Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out this letter yesterday, encouraging Tiger fans to support the efforts of Coach Orgeron and the fighting Tigers over the next two months of the regular season and beyond. “There are no limits to what can be accomplished in the coming weeks,” he wrote. Alleva also briefly expressed his gratitude to Coach Miles for his “substantial contributions to our football program and for the first-class manner in which he always represented LSU and Louisiana.”  

4. Former LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman spoke on 104.5 ESPN and shared his thoughts on Les Miles, LSU’s coaching search and more. Bertman is not likely to have any influence on who Alleva hires, but it was interesting to learn that in the interview (which I haven’t had time to listen to yet) he denounced  the idea of Lane Kiffin or Bobby Petrino landing LSU’s job. 

5. LSU’s premier linebacker target, Dylan Moses, has pushed back his commitment date, presumably in response to LSU’s coaching situation. The Baton Rouge native was expected to announce his school of choice on December 15th but has decided to wait until January 1st. 

6. The 2017 induction class for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame will have a strong LSU flavor with longtime gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, All-American golfer David Toms and two-sport star Eddie Kennison among eight coaches and athletes chosen for the honor. Congratulations to those three Tigers and the five other coaches and athletes chosen for the induction. More on that can be found in this article by The Advocate.

Now for a recap of the first ever Coach Ed Orgeron Show:

First of all, let me just say that Coach O’s style of answering questions was nothing at all like Coach Miles’. I don’t mean for that to sound offensive to Coach Miles because I always enjoyed his shows, though I’ve got to admit his answers were sometimes elusive and filled with “coach speak.” Coach O’s answers, on the other hand, were direct, honest, and sounded like they were coming from your buddy sitting across the table at a crawfish boil. I found that as refreshing as a cold Abita beer, but it’s too early to be thinking about beer, so let’s move on…

One more note about this recap: I wasn’t able to catch as much of what Coach O said as I would have liked. And no, that’s not because of his accent, which, by the way, sounds very at home to me. No, the reasons why I didn’t catch it all are two-fold. First, he speaks very fast and dishes out a lot of info without using a lot of words. Second, I’m nursing an aching lower back and was hurting so much by the time the show was done that I didn’t take the time to go back to my recording and fill in what I missed. Hope you understand.

In his opening statements, Coach O said what an honor it is to represent the Tigers and Louisiana. He also promised that they are going to do some things differently on offense like pass the ball around and spread it out a bit. He also introduced a theme that was returned to throughout the night: “One Team, One Heartbeat.” The idea is that it’s not about one coach, one player or one unit (offense, defense or special teams) but rather it’s about the whole team working together. 

The first call-in question of the night came from Rickey in Birmingham who asked about improving field position and special teams. Orgeron said Coach Peveto is working exclusively on special teams now and that he is involved too. He said they’ve done some things this week that will be better, but that it will be a process.

Shannon from Lafayette asked Coach O how he thinks the defense will look this Saturday when they're not forced to stay on the field as much. Coach O said he’s hopeful that the defense will look really good, but then reiterated his theme of one team, one heartbeat, saying that it’s about the whole team. 

Between calls, host Chris Blair asked whether the quarterback position was back open now. Coach O said Danny Etling has earned his role as starting quarterback by making good decisions and that he will only get better as games go by. He added, “Obviously, if he has a bad game we wouldn’t have a problem bringing in Brandon.”

Another interesting comment Orgeron made between calls is that the team has simplified some things on offense and only ran about 20 plays this week as opposed to about 80 in previous weeks. The idea is to master the plays you practice and run them with detail and speed.

Sadie from Denton, Texas asked what Coach O learned from his jobs at Ole Miss and USC. Orgeron answered by saying you can’t learn to be a head coach until you are one. He made note of some things from his days at Ole Miss that he wanted to improve and then did those things at USC. 

The next caller asked if we will see LSU throw more to the middle of the field. Orgeron answered affirmatively, saying he believes in taking shots downfield, doing things like running four verticals, stressing the defense and not letting them bring their safeties up.

Mike in Baton Rouge pointed out that Brandon Harris was a great spread, option QB in high school but seemed uncomfortable in the power-I. He then asked if Orgeron foresees an instance where we spread out Missouri and run a read-option. Coach O said, “We will spread them out, for sure, but I won’t tell you if we’re gonna run the option or not.” He added that Harris’ development was not as fast as expected and right now Etling is playing well and that’s who they’re going with.

Joe from Lafayette asked if we would see more of freshman linebacker, Devin White. Coach O said we’re going to see White play more this week since Missouri runs so many plays, requiring them to rotate a lot of guys on defense. He added that while White will be an outstanding player, right now there’s a big difference between him and Kendell Beckwith and that it’s hard to take Beckwith off the field.

The next caller, Charles from Lafayette, who’s a member of the Gridiron Club, told Coach O that when he comes to Lafayette he’ll have some étouffée for him. He then asked if Coach O would be meeting with the GridIron Club on Friday. Orgeron answered affirmatively, saying, “Yeah, I’ll be there. You can bring that étouffée.”

Jennie from New Orleans asked about Malachi Dupré being wide open on that last drive against Auburn and whether that was communicated back in the huddle to Etling and to the coaches. Orgeron said yes, he’s sure Dupré let Etling know and that Etling needs to work on seeing all of his progressions. He concluded his answer with “Communication breeds confidence.”

Al asked if the team has been working on the two-minute drill. Orgeron said they have been practicing it extensively and that we should see some improvement there.

The Evil Twin pointed out that there are four seniors on the team who could have gone pro early and said we as fans have an obligation to never quit on them since they never quit on us. I agree 100% with that comment and was glad to hear it. He then said something else I liked: “For the first time, we don’t have a coach with an accent.” To which, Coach O quickly responded, “For the first time I’m someplace where they don’t think I have one.”

Wayne from Hammond said the kicking game and timing on pass routes seem to be a little off. Coach O said they did some research on the kicking issues. "I think it's going to take some time to fix them but you should see some results this week,” he said. As for the passing game, Orgeron said we will see a new philosophy on offense with regard to getting guys downfield as well as throwing to the tight ends and running backs, and that we should see some differences this Saturday.

Jeff from Ponchatoula asked how are we doing in recruiting. Orgeron said Sunday night they called all of their recruits and were very well received. The players and their families are happy that a familiar staff remains intact. Coach O told them to just sit back and see what happens and at he thinks they’ll like it.

The last caller asked Coach O what he has to do to keep the head coaching job after this season. Orgeron answered by saying the best thing he can do is bust tail every day and make this team play at a championship level. “We need to put excellence on the field, and if we do that, things will work out as they should.”

In the closing segment of the show, Blair asked what the team needs to do to be successful this week. Coach O’s stated recipe for success included being explosive on offense, spreading it around, and being unpredictable. On defense, avoid giving up big plays with busted coverages, and cause some turnovers. On special teams, be very efficient and exciting. I think that’s a philosophy we can all get behind.  

In closing, I want to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.

9/28/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With so much change in the air, we’ve had a lot to talk about in the last few days, but lost in the discussion has been the fact that LSU has a game to play this Saturday. In today’s report, we’ll begin turning our attention to LSU’s homecoming contest against Missouri which kicks off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by The SEC Network. The forecast for Baton Rouge on Saturday is nearly perfect with clear skies and evening lows in the mid-50s, and you know what I call weather like that – Gumbo weather! Bring it on!

Before getting to our weekly stat comparison of LSU and its opponent, there’s some news to pass along about defensive end Davon Godchaux who was arrested Monday morning and then suspended indefinitely. According to reports, prosecutors have decided to drop the charges against him because of inconsistencies in the statement provided by the alleged victim, the mother of Godchaux’s 10-month-old child, and physical evidence at the scene. Godchaux and his girlfriend were both arrested Monday morning after what the police report described as a “tussle” stemming from infidelity in their relationship. As far as I know, Godchaux remains suspended at this time.
 
There’s also a bit of  news to share regarding LSU’s coaching search. According to this article by Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel, LSU’s selection committee is shooting for the stars and will “gauge the interest” of four coaches who have won national championships – Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher – as well as Houston’s Tom Herman. The article states that LSU believes they will attract a coach of that caliber, and I like that way of thinking. Of course, LSU will be gauging the interest of many other coaches as well, including several I mentioned in Monday’s report. As for my own personal opinion, well let’s just say this: If I were a betting man (and I’m not), my bet (at this time) would be on Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher. Evidently, the Las Vegas oddsmakers agree. Here are the latest LSU head coach odds according to Bovada (@BovadaLV): Tom Herman 5/4, Jimbo Fisher 3/1, Larry Fedora 4/1, Gary Patterson 15/1, Art Briles 28/1.

Of course, one person who I think has a legitimate chance of landing the job is interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In order for him to do so, he’d likely have to run the table or at least win seven of the remaining eight games including Alabama. What are the chances of that happening? I don’t know. Ask me again this Sunday. I will say this for now: I really like the excitement Orgeron is bringing to the program and feel like LSU is extremely fortunate to have him. Not only is it rare to be able to call up someone from within who has head coaching experience (at Ole Miss), it’s even rarer to have someone on staff who has valuable experience as an interim head coach (at USC). Coach O is exactly what LSU needs in this transitional time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds with him at the helm this Saturday.

Speaking of this Saturday’s game, let’s move on with our weekly statistical comparison to get a better idea of what LSU will be up against. Here we go…

LSU - Missouri Stats

• First, it should be noted that the stats for Missouri (2-2) are inflated by their dominant 79-0 win last weekend over a very weak Delaware State team and a 61-21 win over a weak Eastern Michigan squad in Week 2. Missouri racked up 698 yards of total offense against the the Hornets of Delaware State and held them to only 140 total yards (44 rushing and 96 passing). Against Eastern Michigan, Missouri amassed 647 total yards (477 passing, 170 rushing) but gave up 428 yards (141 rushing and  287 passing).

• It should also be noted that Missouri nearly defeated a good Georgia team in Week 3 and was leading the Bulldogs in the 4th quarter before falling 28-27. Their other loss was at West Virginia, 26-11, to start the season.  In their two losses, Missouri is averaging 19 points per game, but they did put up 462 yards (282 passing, 180 rushing) of offense at West Virginia and actually out-gained Georgia in total yards 471 (376 passing, 95 passing) to 409.

• Missouri’s defense only allowed 101 rushing yards vs. Georgia, which is impressive considering Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the country. He only had 63 rushing yards on 19 carries in that contest.
 
• Missouri is 4th in the nation with 391.3 passing yards per game, and quarterback Drew Lock is second in the country with 1,508 passing yards.  To put that in perspective, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris passed for 2,165 passing yards last season through 12 games, and Drew Lock could break that total in just six contests.
 
• Missouri’s passing stats and pass efficiency are quite impressive. In fact, quarterback Drew Lock leads the league in passing yards per game (377.0) and passing touchdowns (14) and has the second highest pass efficiency in the league behind Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly.  

• One downfall of Missouri’s extensive passing game is that it puts their defense out on the field an awful lot. Missouri has only possessed the ball for 25:47 (at WVU), 21:16 (Eastern Michigan), 22:42 (vs. Georgia) and 24:59 (vs. Delaware State), an average of just 23.7 minutes per game vs. 36.3 for the opponent.
 
• Missouri appears to win most of the hidden yard categories such as punting average (4.6 yard advantage), punt return average (2.1 yard advantage), kickoff return average (1.5 yard average). While those yards may not seem significant, those types of missed yards quickly add up and result in unfavorable field position that adds pressure to both offenses and defenses. Auburn took advantage of those hidden yards last Saturday in its narrow victory over LSU.

• Of course, hidden yards also come from penalties, and that’s one area where LSU leads statistically. Missouri is heavily penalized, averaging 9.5 more penalty yards per game than the Tigers. Penalties often kill drives, which could be part of the reason why Missouri only averaged 19 points in their two losses despite the fact they averaged 466.5 yards in those two contests.

• Obviously, Missouri’s fast-paced offense is a big reason why they have so many more plays this season than LSU. Missouri has 331 offensive snaps (161 rushing, 170 passing) for an average of 82.8 per game, while LSU only has 236 snaps, an average of 59 per game. While that is a stark difference (23.8 more snaps per game for Missouri), it will also give LSU’s defensive line an opportunity to increase their 3.5 sack per game average. I look for Arden Key, Lewis Neal and the linebackers to have great opportunities to record numerous negative plays, particularly against quarterback Lock.

Tune in later this week as we compare LSU’s offense vs Missouri’s defense and vice versa, as well as special teams and intangibles.

I’ll leave you today with this video complialtion by Jacques Doucet of WAFB called, “Best of Les Miles.” Have a great day.

 

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