LSU hosts its annual homecoming week this weekend. LSU hosts Troy in a non-conference matchup. Both teams enter the game with a 3-1 record. LSU lost their first SEC game to Mississippi State by a score of 37-7 two weeks ago. Troy dropped their first game of the season 24-13 to Boise State. Entering the game, the Tigers have a few lingering injuries that could play a pivotal factor. For starters, star running back Derrius Guice is questionable, as he still isn’t 100% healthy. Safety Ed Paris is out for the season, which is a big blow to LSU’s monstrous defense.
LSU Hosts Troy
Tigers Head Coach Ed Orgeron stated this week that freshman quarterback Myles Brennan will continue to play. Brennan has shown flashes of his game throughout the season. The highly coveted quarterback could be the starter in 2018. But him seeing playing time now is the perfect setting. Brennan playing back up to starter Danny Etling puts him in the best situation. Etling has been proficient all season long. The area where Etling needed the most improvement was with his deep ball accuracy. He has done that through the first four games. When he drops back in the pocket, fans can almost always expect the play to be a long pass. That effectively opens up the running game, which helps the Tigers tremendously. Guice and backup Darrel Williams have been consistent running the ball so far.
Though Guice only had 14 yards on eight carries last week, he will definitely earn more yards as the season goes along. The Syracuse defense last week held their own and put the Tigers in a tough spot. LSU did come away with the 35-26 win. The game really should have been a bigger margin, though. The defense allowed way too many yards to the Orange, and that is something they have to fix.
Open The Playbook
Offensively for LSU, the Tigers will be in good hands. Etling knows how to manage a game and can do it well. One thing that Tiger Nation wants to see is the new offensive scheme. When offensive coordinator Matt Canada was hired, Tiger fans were promised a new-look offense. The coaching staff has yet to show much of that. That playbook has to be opened up if LSU wants to succeed in the conference. Now is the best time to try it. A non-conference matchup would give the offense the perfect opportunity. The Tigers will need to have tricks up their sleeve heading into Gainesville next week.
Running the jet sweeps and other plays hasn’t worked out. The Tigers need to open up the passing game more and establish their quarterback. The offensive line has to find their identity and do a better job as well. This new scheme will only work if the full playbook comes open.
What Troy Can Bring
Troy will come into the game attempting to pull off the upset that they almost did in 2008. Tiger fans remember that game vividly. Troy was up 31-7 and LSU came back to win 40-31. But this time it will be different. This is a Trojans team that can attack in all phases. Quarterback Brandon Silvers is one of the most under-rated players in the country. His ability to make efficient decisions in the pocket is something that has led Troy to success. Last week against Akron, Silvers threw for 314 yards including the game-winning touchdown. The pass to Deondre Douglas with 1:00 remaining sealed the deal. At running back, Troy can attack with multiple guys. Starter Jordan Chunn can proficiently run the ball. Sophomore Jamarius Henderson can elevate and gain yardage in crucial situations. The key for Troy is to not rely on the rushing attack as much as they have in the past. That factor will determine whether this game remains close.
Defensively, Troy brings forth a lingering defensive unit that the Tigers haven’t seen. Blace Brown leads the NCAA in interceptions this season. Linebacker Sam Lebbie can get into the backfield quickly. Safety Kameron Melton is one of the best in the Sun Belt Conference. All together, Troy will bring forth a fight in Death Valley unlike any other team has this season. Syracuse put up a game, but Troy can likely make this more interesting.
When LSU hosts Troy on Saturday, it will be an all out battle. Troy will come into Death Valley and try their hardest to win. But the monstrous attack of LSU’s defense will be too much to handle. And even if Guice doesn’t play, this offense will be just fine. LSU will take this game 38-21.