The last time Notre Dame and LSU got together was in 2014, and it was quite a game. I think you can expect the same type of game this New Years Day. Derrius Guice will play for LSU, but Arden Key will not. Linebackers Corey Thomspon and Donnie Alexander will also be out. Are the Tigers deep enough to compete with the Irish? You bet they are.
Breaking Down the Tigers: LSU has one of the best rosters in the country. That’s not a surprise. The rushing attack is solid (evidence of a good offensive line). And although he might not be Peyton Manning, Danny Etling has been efficient at quarterback. Plus, this LSU team doesn’t feel like the same team that got blown out by Mississippi State and embarrassed by Troy. The offense has a plethora of playmakers. Everyone knows about Guice, but his teammate, Darrell Williams (over 700 yards rushing), isn’t too bad either. At 6-1, 230, Williams has the size and speed (ripped off a 77 yard run this season) needed to spell Guice. Russell Gage is a great speed sweep option, too. At receiver, senior DJ Chark has had a fine season, and he will be looking to have a big game to improve his NFL Draft stock. On defense, LSU still has some of the best athletes in the country, even if three of its starters are injured. LSU is nationally a top 25 rushing defense, scoring defense, passing defense, and total defense. They can pressure the quarterback, too, sacking the quarterback 35 times, ranking LSU in the top 25 in that category, as well. Feels wrong to mention just one defender, but look out for Devin White, an All-SEC and 2nd Team All-American linebacker.
This is going to be a who wants it more football game. If you look at the rosters of each team, Auburn has the clear advantage. If you look at the body of work for each team, Auburn has a more impressive body of work. But these games are not played on paper. If Auburn views this game as a disappointing finish to the season, UCF could whip the Tigers. Central Florida is definitely going to be excited to play in this game. The question is are the Tigers excited to be playing in this year’s Peach Bowl?
Breaking Down Auburn: Phenomenal rushing attack, solid quarterback, veteran offensive line, dominant defensive line, and a few elite players (Tray Matthews and Jeff Holland to name a few) throughout the back end of the defense. This is a top 25 scoring offense, top 25 total offense, top 10 scoring defense, and top 15 total defense. Auburn is dang good. Kerryon Johnson is playing, which not only speaks to his toughness and character, but also speaks to Auburn’s willingness to play this game. If your star running back is risking it all for this game, you would have to think his teammates see that and want to match his intensity.
Star RB Kerryon Johnson (Image from Auburn Athletics)
On paper this game could be a blowout. Most pundits are picking Michigan, the spread has Michigan as over a touchdown favorite, and ESPN’s FPI models all have Michigan overwhelmingly. Which South Carolina is going to show up? The one that rolled over against a superior Clemson team, or the one that competed until the bitter end against Georgia?