PREVIEW: LSU vs. MTSU - The Matchups

Middle Tennessee made a splash on the national scene with last week's offensive barrage versus Louisville. Now, can the Blue Raider offense solve LSU's stingy defense.

LSU rushing offense vs. Middle Tennessee rushing defense


There were lots of question marks surrounding LSU's offense heading into the Virginia Tech game. However, putting up 598 yards on the nation's best defense has a way of fixing things in a hurry. There was a lot of unrest concerning LSU's rushing attack after the season opener, but the Tigers piled up 297 rushing yards against the Hokies last Saturday as Keiland Williams topped the century mark with 127 yards on just seven carries. LSU's offensive line, while thin on depth, dominated Va. Tech's defensive line and opened up lots of holes for the Tigers' running-back-by-committee to rumble through. Middle Tennessee is 112th in the nation against the run, giving up 272 yards per game.


Advantage: LSU



LSU passing offense vs. Middle Tennessee passing defense


Matt Flynn is the starting quarterback, no doubt about it. Making his first career start in Tiger Stadium against Virginia Tech, Flynn completed 17 of 27 passes for 217 yards. However, Ryan Perrilloux looked awfully impressive in his time under center completing all five pass attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Both quarterbacks (maybe more) will play in this one as the Blue Raiders rank 108th against the pass (166 yards per game). Look for that number to go up this weekend.


Advantage: LSU



Middle Tennessee rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense


Phillip Tanner showed some great moves against Louisville, running for 144 yards and three scores against the Cardinals defense. He might be the best running back LSU has faced up to this point. But the Louisville defense isn't quite in the same league as LSU's. Tanner will struggle to find daylight this weekend as the Tigers improve on their No. 11 national ranking (40 ypg) against the run.


Advantage: LSU



Middle Tennessee passing offense vs. LSU passing defense


Here again it's the same situation as Tanner. Craddock had a good game against Louisville, but that is a Cardinal defense that allowed 500-plus yards to a team from the Sun Belt Conference. Again like Tanner, Craddock may be the best quarterback LSU has seen so far this season, but that isn't going to get the job done either.


Advantage: LSU



LSU special teams vs. Middle Tennessee special teams


Middle Tennessee had to replace both its place-kicker and punter from last season's team. LSU seems extremely solid in all phases of special teams as Patrick Fisher looks like the best punter in the nation through two games. Colt David is as accurate as ever, and Josh Jasper and Andrew Crutchfield have done a good job rotating on kickoffs. LSU could do a better job of finding Early Doucet and Trindon Holliday a little more running room on kick returns. Also, the Tigers need to shore up some issues on covering kickoffs as Va. Tech bit off a few chunks of yardage. All in all, this one's not close either.


Advantage: LSU





Like Miss. State a few weeks back and very much the situation when Middle Tennessee went to Louisville, the Blue Raiders have nothing to lose when they come to Baton Rouge. But the Tigers now are focused on the biggest prize in college football – a national championship – and you can bet they'll cross the T's and dot the I's against MTSU. No hiccups here.


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