Saturday’s LSU-McNeese State match-up is a clear test for the Tigers. Sure, the Cowboys are from the FCS. But LSU is on a mission to rebound after a brutal 38-27 loss at UCLA last weekend.
LSU-McNeese State Preview
While the loss to UCLA was bad enough, the Tigers underperformed in many areas. The first home game of the season will be a chance to correct the mistakes from a week ago. Max Johnson will once again get the start under center. However, Tigers fans could see freshman signal-called Garrett Nussmeier get his first game action this weekend.
Offense Must Click Early
One aspect that Johnson has to improve on is getting the ball out quicker. The Sophomore held on to the ball for too long in the first game. He also has to adapt to getting the snap faster. Too often a week ago, Johnson let the play clock get down to nearly zero. While all the talk will be centered around QB1, Nussmeier has a big opportunity this week. If he plays well, he could see even more extended playing time next week.
For starters, the offensive line has to block better. The Tigers struggled to run the ball last week against the Bruins. Sophomore tailback Tyrion-Davis Price totaled just 31 rushing yards. To have success against McNeese State, LSU will have to run the ball much better.
Secondly, LSU has to get better looks in the passing game. The wide receivers have to get open and give Johnson more chances to improve. Expect another standout game from Kayshon Boutte, but other receivers have to step into the spotlight this week. The McNeese State defense could present a challenge early, but the Tigers wide-outs will be able to take advantage in the deep threat.
Tigers Defense Has to Step Up
From a defensive standpoint, LSU has to protect against the pass. Cowboys quarterback Cody Orgeron, the son of Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron, is a decent quarterback. LSU struggled against the pass last week at UCLA. One area the defense has to improve upon is tackling. Standout defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. allowed two touchdowns last week due to missed tackles.
Furthermore, the Tigers have to play lights out defense. Get pressure in the backfield and step into passes to prevent completions. McNeese Stats could attempt routes over the middle. Those routes hurt LSU last week in a big way. But this week, the defense has a chance to redeem themselves and play like an elite-level unit.
LSU-McNeese State Prediction
LSU will put up points in this game if the offense can get clicking early on. It will be up to the offensive line to open holes in the run game and give Johnson time in the pocket to complete throws. The LSU-McNeese State game on Saturday might finally answer some of the questions that surrounded the program entering the season. Coming off a crucial loss, the Tigers need to get back on track.
This game likely won’t remain close for too long. Once the Tigers get going, McNeese State will have a tough time adjusting. Cody Orgeron might impress his dad with his passing, but it won’t be near enough for the upset.