College Football Preview: LSU Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
One week after firmly establishing themselves as the unquestionable No. 1 team in the nation, the LSU Tigers will take on a slightly less threatening foe – the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Despite the fact that this LSU team cemented itself as the best squad in the country via a 9-6 victory over Alabama last week (in a ratings bonanza for CBS, no less), the team’s head coach, Les Miles is still fretting about what this weekend holds. Acknowledging the very real risk of a letdown after such a huge, monumental effort just one week earlier, Miles made it known that his foot wasn’t going to come off the brake any time soon.
"The key is to keep fighting, to find a way," Miles said.
"There was nothing settled in any way with victory last Saturday," Miles said. "We still have to earn our way. It is all about whom we are about to play and what is a necessary improvement that must take place this week. With that being said, we are looking forward to the process as we go forward."
If the Tigers can earn a win this weekend, they’ll accomplish two feats: the 100th victory of Miles’ career and their first 10-0 start to a season in over 50 years.
Fortunately for LSU, barring a collapse of epic proportions, the team should be able to hold its own against a 5-4 Hilltoppers squad that has been outscored by its ranked opponents by nearly 29 points on average since 2004. Couple that with the Tigers’ perfect mark against Sun Belt Conference programs and 36 consecutive regular season wins over non-conference opponents since 2002, and you see why things are lining up nicely for the top-ranked team in the nation.
The plan of attack for LSU, no doubt, will be continue to abuse the opposing offense with a monstrous, impenetrable defense. For the year, the Tigers rank third in the FBS in yards allowed and second in scoring.
And, of course, Western Kentucky’s offense isn’t exactly potent. It currently ranks 101st in total scoring and offense this season. The team's only real means of attack is the run, with their senior running back Bobby Rainey boasting the 3rd most rushing yards in the FBS with 1,169. He has also racked up over 100-yards in eight games this year.
The far more interesting storyline going into Saturday isn’t how LSU will handle their vastly inferior opponent but, rather, what’s going to happen with their quarterback situation. After starting the game against Alabama last week, Jarrett Lee was pulled in favor of Jordan Jefferson – who in turn ended up playing the majority of the outing.
Miles has remained mum on who will ultimately start this weekend.
Regardless of who the starter ends up being, the squad can take solace in the fact that they’ll have running backs Michael Ford and Spencer Ware around to take some of the pressure off. The latter, of course, leads the team with 541 rushing yards total and the former has 513 yards on the season.
So, all in all – expect more of the same this weekend. The Tigers will pass the ball a bit, run it a little more than they pass, and ultimately seal the deal with their best-in-the-nation defense.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. eastern time, Saturday.