Thanks to its big win over Texas, No. 5 LSU has inserted itself into the College Football Playoff conversation. With upcoming games against No. 10 Florida, No. 7 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama in the next month, the Tigers will have every opportunity to show they belong in that discussion. However, they can’t look past Utah State as they gear up for the meat of SEC play.
Utah State lives for these types of games. Though the Aggies perpetually come up short against bigger name opponents, they’ve already given Wake Forest a run for their money this season. If LSU’s not careful, Utah State can make this potential trap game more interesting than Las Vegas projects.
If nothing else, this should be an entertaining battle between two fast, high-ceiling offenses with two possible future NFL starters at quarterback in Jordan Love (Utah State) and Joe Burrow (LSU). Here’s how to watch Saturday’s game between LSU and Utah State, and what storylines to follow.
LSU: The Tigers’ offense hasn’t missed a beat, but the defense has been more susceptible to giving up yards and points. A big part of that has been injuries. Starting linebackers K’Lavon Chaisson and Michael Divinity Jr., as well as defensive ends Glen Logan and Rashard Lawrence, are all nursing various injuries. Their chances of suiting up for Saturday’s game range from questionable to doubtful. These losses could be huge given Utah State’s pace of 82.3 plays per game at 6.5 yards per play. In a game that may feature a frantic pace, it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers’ defense can get off the field.
Utah State: If Utah State is going to do the improbable, quarterback Jordan Love needs to be the best player on the field. That might seem like a stretch given all the talent LSU has, but Love is a broadway show of an athlete. He’s second in the Mountain West with 318.8 yards of total offense per game with six touchdowns in four games. He’s even getting some NFL Draft hype as the season progresses because of his production and measurables. Having a big game against the Tigers would do wonders for making him more of a household name outside the Group of Five.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 5 | Time: noon ET
Location: Tiger Stadium — Baton Rouge, Louisiana
TV: SEC Network | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
This could be one of those games that ends up being more interesting than the line projects. Love is a stud and LSU’s defense has been injury plagued. If the Tigers aren’t careful — a noon kickoff the week before Florida is a precarious spot — the Aggies will absolutely make this a game. LSU probably wins, and may even win comfortably by the time this is all said and done, but covering nearly four full touchdowns is a lot to ask against a motivated dog. Pick: Utah State +26.5
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