No. 20 LSU Tigers (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Texas Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Tuesday December 29th, 9:00PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium Houston, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -7.5/TTU +7.5
Over/Under Total: 73
During the final weeks of the season, many wondered if long time Head Coach Les Miles would return to Baton Rouge after yet another semi late season collapse that saw the LSU Tigers drop 3 of their final 4 games. At one time LSU stood at 7-0 in the thick of the National Championship discussion but the offense unraveled down the stretch causing a late season stumble. However, Miles overcame all the negativity with a big season-ending victory over Texas A&M and on December 29th the Mad Hatter will lead 20th ranked LSU to their 11th straight bowl game under his reign when the Tigers meet the Texas Tech Red Raiders inside NRG Stadium.
The Red Raiders had an up and down season that ended in 7-5 marks SU and ATS. The defensive play was unbearable to watch at times but the offense was one of the most exciting units in the country. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes posted gigantic numbers throwing for 4,283 yards with 32 touchdowns and 14 picks. Mahomes was also 2nd on the team in rushing with 484 yards and an additional 10 touchdowns. Tailback DeAndre Washington led the team in rushing with an impressive 1,455 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Together with Mahomes and Washington, the Red Raiders averaged a whopping 594.5 yards per game to give them the 2nd best offense in all of college football.<.p>
On December 29th, the Red Raiders explosive offense will be matched against one of those reputable stingy SEC defenses that typically creates an intriguing matchup. LSUs defense ranked 25th in the country this year which is actually a step down from their typical top 10 defensive units which have been the norm under Miles. Still, the Tigers have a ton of talent in the secondary and among the defensive front to challenge Texas Techs quick striking offense. Texas Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant has been one of the Red Raiders biggest offensive threats in the passing game this year with 80 catches for 1,143 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Tigers pass defense has had some struggles this year. Therefore it will be interesting to see how this defense holds up against the Red Raiders fast paced offense and if they give any extra attention towards Grant on the outside.
The other matchup that most will be eager to see will be LSUs offense versus the Red Raiders defense. Actually most onlookers will be eager to see Leonard Fournette against the Red Raiders defense. If you remember, Fournette dominated the first half of the season but shut down during the late stages of the season. Despite the late season collapse on offense, Fournette still racked up huge numbers with 1,741 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. After several defenses found ways to slow down LSUs star tailback down the stretch, it will be interesting to see if Fournette can have another big outing against Texas Techs horrid defense.
Texas Techs defense ranked 2nd to last in the country giving up a lucrative 540 yards per game. For every point the offense racked up, the defense literally gave it away. Against the run, the Red Raiders relinquished 270 yards per game on the ground alone. Therefore, it is going to be very interesting to see how Texas Techs defense prepares against one of the best rushing teams in the country and frankly one of the best tailbacks in the country. Obviously Les Miles is a veteran coach and if you consider his tendency to keep the ball on the ground in big games, you would have to think LSU will try to dominate the game on the ground while playing keep away from Texas Techs offense. I believe they have the ability to do that but they will have to keep from turning the ball over. The Tigers only turned the ball over 9 times this season but 6 of those turnovers were in their 3 losses. If LSU can control the ball, they should be able to dominate where it counts the most by way of the trenches.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: LSU -7.5
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