The Tigers are going bowling in the Lone Star State.
No. 22 LSU (8-3) will be making the trek down I-10 West this holiday season to take on Big 12 foe Texas Tech (7-5) in the AdvoCare100 Texas Bowl, the school confirmed Sunday afternoon. The game is slated for an 8 p.m. kickoff from Houston’s NRG Stadium on Dec. 29.
It’ll be LSU’s first ever appearance in the Texas Bowl, which has been around since 2006 and became an official SEC tie-in as one of the league’s “Pool of Six” bowl games in 2014. Arkansas trounced Texas 31-7 in last season’s edition.
While the Texas Bowl berth itself is a first for LSU, playing in Houston is certainly not. America’s fourth-largest city is LSU’s largest out-of-state alumni base, and Les Miles’ club began the 2014 season at NRG Stadium with a come-from-behind 28-24 victory over Wisconsin in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Classic.
“It’s a great venue for our players and our fans,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Our recruiting efforts there are certainly significant and we recruit our student population from that area. A major city and a great place for us. We’ve enjoyed it.”
But as far as the opponent, third-year coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Red Raiders, it’s been a lifetime. LSU and Texas Tech have only met twice on the gridiron all time — both in the 1950s — with the Tigers sweeping a 1954 meeting in Baton Rouge, 20-13, and a 1957 clash in Lubbock, 19-14.
Focusing on the here and now, LSU versus Texas Tech represents as stark of a contrast in styles as any matchup this bowl season.
The Red Raiders rely on a high-powered aerial attack, ranking second nationally in total offense (594.5 YPG), passing offense (389.7 YPG) and points scored (46.6 PPG). The offense is built around sophomore signal caller Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 4,283 yards this season with 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Mahomes also plays a big role in a Tech ground game that’s much more formidable than in years past. The team’s second leading rusher behind DeAndre Washington (1,455 yards, 14 TDs), he has added 10 touchdowns with his legs.
“They’re very diverse offensively,” Miles said. “They’re going to put it in the air. They have a quarterback that is mobile and can run it. Their tailback is a 1,400-yard back. So it’s going to be a great challenge. Good news is we’ll have some fast guys back there and it’ll be an interesting matchup.”
Shifting to the other side of the ball, Leonard Fournette (NCAA-leading 158.3 YPG) will go to work against a Red Raider defense that ranks third-worst against the run in all of Division I (271.8 YPG). Texas Tech also ranks second-to-last in total defense, allowing 540.2 YPG.
“Their defense, they have a lot of movement to it,” Miles said. “Very sound. Play over the top. Again, it’s going to be a great challenge and we look forward to it.”
The TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville appeared to be LSU’s most likely destination earlier in the week but would up landing Georgia from the SEC pool. The Citrus Bowl, another briefly-rumored destination, would up taking in-state Florida.
SEC BOWL BIDS
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF BOWLS
Goodyear Cotton Bowl (North Texas) – Alabama vs. Michigan State – Dec. 31 – 8 ET / 7 CT – ESPN
Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) – Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State – Jan. 1 – 8:30 pm ET / 7:30 pm CT – ESPN
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (Orlando) – Florida vs. Michigan – Jan. 1 – 1 pm ET / Noon CT – ABC
Pool of Six Bowls:
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston) – LSU vs. Texas Tech – Dec. 29 – 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT – ESPN
Belk Bowl (Charlotte) – Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State – Dec. 30 – 3:30 pm ET / 2:30 pm CT – ESPN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville) – Texas A&M vs. Louisville – Dec. 30 – 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT – ESPN
Outback Bowl (Tampa) – Tennessee vs. Northwestern – Jan. 1 – Noon ET / 11 am CT – ESPN2
TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville) – Georgia vs. Penn State – Jan. 2 – Noon ET / 11 am CT – ESPN
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis) – Arkansas vs. Kansas State – Jan. 2 – 3:20 pm ET / 2:20 pm CT – ESPN
Additional SEC-Affiliated Bowl:
Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham) – Auburn vs. Memphis – Dec. 30 – 12 pm ET / 11 am CT – ESPN