Pregame: LSU vs. Western Kentucky, who are players, key matchups to watch? _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele celebrates the win over Florida with defensive back Dwayne Thomas (13), safety Jamal Adams (33) and safety Jalen Mills (28). LSU won 35-28.

Pregame is a new blog posting each Friday before LSU’s game.

The Info

Match: No. 5 LSU (6-0, 4-0) vs. Western Kentucky (6-1)

TDP: 6 p.m., Saturday, Tiger Stadium


Series Record: LSU leads 1-0

Two Players To Watch (LSU)

DB Jalen Mills: The senior and leader of the secondary returns for what will likely be his first full game back from a fractured ankle that forced him to miss the first five games of the season. Mills had just 12-15 snaps last week, but expect him to be used more as the staff eases him back to the field. He returns at a good time. Western Kentucky is one of the nation’s most prolific passing squads, averaging nearly 400 yards passing a game.

Jalen Mills is back with his secondary buddies. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Jalen Mills is back with his secondary buddies. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

FB Bry’Kiethon Mouton: The freshman is coming along in replacement duty for the injured JD Moore. Coaches proved last week how much they trust the rookie from Lafayette. Mouton received a good chunk of snaps. LSU ran more than half of its plays against Florida (37 of 60) with a fullback. That guy each time: Mouton.

Two Players To Watch (Western Kentucky)

QB Brandon Doughty: One of the nation’s most prolific passers, Doughty leads the nation in completion percentage (74.1) and has thrown for 2,709 yards through seven games this season. That’s more than three times the amount of passing yards LSU QB Brandon Harris has through one less game.

WR Taywan Taylor: The junior from Louisville is third nationally in touchdowns (10), fourth in receiving yards (825) and has the 15th-most receptions nationally (45). Thing is, those 45 catches are just three more than the team’s second-leading receiver, Jared Dangerfield.

Two Key Matchups

LSU D-line vs. WKU QB Brandon Doughty: Wait, what? This is a defensive line against a quarterback? Yep. Tigers defensive linemen are focused on disrupting Doughty’s strength – the short passing game – by waving their hands and arms in the air. Could the D-linemen get more pass breakups than the DBs? Maybe.

LSU DBs vs. WKU WRs: LSU likes to refer to itself as D-B-U, a reference to its athletic and talented defensive backs, but the Tigers have struggled recently, allowing some big pass plays. They get a test Saturday against a Hilltopper team with four players with more than 400 yards receiving.

Of Note

Oh, what a streak: LSU hasn’t lost a regular season non-conference game since 2002. The Tigers have won 51 straight.

Coming home: LSU is 61-24-3 in homecoming games all-time. The Tigers have won 14 straight with the last loss coming to UAB in 2000.

Hot start: LSU is 6-0 under Les Miles for a third time in his 11 seasons and has improved to 7-0 twice (2010, 2011).

Close ties: LSU OC Cam Cameron coached Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm when Brohm was a QB for the Washington Redskins and Cameron was the QB coach in 1995.

The Spread

LSU -16.5