LSU rushing offense
vs. Oklahoma rushing defense
After watching Kansas State running
back Darren Sproles rip through the Oklahoma defense for huge chunks of yards in
the Big 12 title game, there is little doubt SEC Championship Game MVP Justin Vincent can’t repeat Sproles’ performance. Oklahoma will face its toughest task
trying to penetrate the best offensive line it has seen this season. Look for
Vincent and Co. to run the ball effectively.
LSU passing offense
vs. Oklahoma passing defense
Although Matt Mauck is among the
best quarterbacks in the nation, the Sooner secondary ranks as the best in
college football allowing just 145 yards passing per game. Derrick Strait is a
stud at corner as Oklahoma features an aggressive secondary. The Sooners can
bring heavy pressure with defensive linemen Tommie Harris, Dan Cody and Butkus
Award winner Teddy Lehman as well. Although OU gets the nod here, don’t expect
Mauck, the SEC leader in touchdown passes, along with his talented cast of
reeivers to be intimidated.
offense vs. LSU rushing defense
This could be among the best
matchups of the game. Oklahoma likes to throw the ball around a great deal with
Jason White at quarterback, but the Sooners still run the ball quite often. Not
in this game though. LSU held Georgia to just 50 yards in the SEC title game.
Although the Tigers are third in Division I against the rush giving up only 68
yards per game, many will say LSU’s run defense is the best in the country.
offense vs. LSU passing defense:
The LSU Tigers led the SEC in sacks
in 2003 with 44 total. However, the secondary has been susceptible to big plays
over the middle resulting in LSU’s giving up 191 passing yards each game.
Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jason White is good and can get the ball to a
star-studded receiving corps led by Mark Clayton. However, if the Tigers get the
White before he gets to Clayton, watch out.
LSU special teams
vs. Georgia special teams:
We will call this a push simply
because of the fact the Tigers struggled to kick an extra point in the SEC title
game. OU kicker Trey DiCarlo has been nearly perfect this season on field goals
(19-of-22), but c’mon, the Sooners haven’t needed many 3-pointers this year. The
punting game is nearly neck and neck with Donnie Jones and Oklahoma’s Blake Ferguson as is the return game with Skyler Green and Antonio Perkins.
By the way tickets have been
coveted as if plated in gold around Baton Rouge, one can imagine a very biased
purple and gold clad crowd in the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 4. In what is
being called a home game for the Tigers, LSU will come out shy-high in front of
50,000-plus Tiger faithful. Although Oklahoma has more big game experience and
will be trying to make amends for the meltdown in the Big 12 title game, LSU
should be heavily favored in the intangibles vying for their first national
title in 45 years.
Hmmmm…. You can’t possibly think
Tiger Rag Magazine will pick against the Tigers in LSU’s first trip to the
national title game in almost half a century. We are going with the Tigers, but
not because we are biased. LSU looked dominant in its conference championship
game and is the team with the fewest distractions as far as the BCS argument is
concerned. In the quote-unquote home game for the Tigers, LSU cruises into the
Superdome with nothing but winning on its mind. Oklahoma is still smarting from
the beating it took from Kansas State and a few early mistakes could leave coach
Bob Stoops’ team questioning itself. Not saying LSU will run away with it the
way the Wildcats did in Kansas City, but we think the Tigers will emerge with
the crystal football.
LSU 23, Oklahoma
- Matt Deville