It's finally (almost) here. LSU plays Texas on Saturday night in a game that will push the winner toward the College Football Playoff. As kickoff approaches, read staff writer Wilson Alexander's keys to the game.
1. See ball, take ball
Both LSU and Texas enter this game plus-2 in turnover margin after their season-opening wins, a fact coach Ed Orgeron has stressed this week. Winning the turnover battle is essential in every game, but especially on the road. Turnovers can suck the air out of a hostile crowd — or send almost 100,000 people into an excited frenzy. LSU, which recovered two fumbles last week, needs to protect the ball.
2. Anticipate pressure
LSU did not allow a sack against Georgia Southern, but Orgeron will wait until after playing Texas to say whether or not the offensive line has improved. The Tigers anticipate facing a defense that Orgeron said will blitz “almost every down.” The Longhorns recorded five tackles for loss and one sack last weekend. LSU’s offense requires its linemen to block one-on-one, so they will have to handle Texas’ zone blitzes.
3. Secondary test
In Collin Johnson, Texas has one of the most dynamic and physically imposing wide receivers LSU will face this season. The senior stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 220 pounds. He caught 68 passes last season for 985 yards, an average of 14.5 yards per reception, with seven touchdowns. Though Johnson injured his groin last weekend, he’s expected to play against LSU. The Tigers’ heavily-praised secondary must contain him.
4. Here's the kicker
If the outcome of this game gets decided by a score late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers might need freshman kicker Cade York. How will he respond? York, whose range sits around 51 yards, made two field goals in his collegiate debut with a long of 48 yards. LSU believes in York’s ability, but the Tigers have not seen if he can make a high-pressure kick. It might happen Saturday.