LSU vs. Missouri: Keys to the Game

Danny Etling LSU

By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor

LSU will win if….

Coach O rallies the troops. It’s impossible to tell how LSU’s players will respond to the firing of Les Miles. It can go one of two ways: the team could come out flat on Saturday, feeling as if it has nothing to play for, now that its coach is canned and its championship hopes are all but done and dusted. Players may look to their futures rather than their presents. Or, they can rally around Ed Orgeron, as Southern Cal did in 2013, and close out the season as an energized, motivated, united front. If that happens, there’s enough talent in the Tigers to see them put up some memorable results.

The offense opens up. Is LSU’s offense capable of opening up now that Miles and Cam Cameron are gone? I’d be shocked if a new playbook is installed, but LSU has to be able to spread the ball more than it has, while still pounding the rock in the run game. The Tigers looked good in spread running formations, few as they were, Saturday, with Derrius Guice’s 50+ yard scamper being the best evidence. Steve Ensminger has led offenses before. Will he let LSU spread the field, or will we see more of the same? Only time will tell.

Missouri will win if….

It starts fast. Nothing would deflate LSU and its fans more than falling behind quickly at home on homecoming to the visiting Tigers. Missouri’s offense has shown vast signs of improvement this year. Drew Lock is off to a quick start and is tossing for major yardage left and right, throwing for 400+ yards in two of four starts so far this season. If Missouri comes out gunning and busts LSU’s secondary for a long score or two, it will be easy for the hosts to shut things down mentally and emotionally. One hard punch landed early could knock LSU out before the first quarter ends.

It scores 30 points. I’m not convinced this LSU offense has the ability to reach the 30 point mark in the SEC, no matter who is calling the plays. The offensive line is a mess, unable to consistently block in the run or the pass. It’s why LSU gets big plays at times, then goes three-and-out at others. Missouri got to 27 points against Georgia, and lost, and has reached 60+ against two cupcakes. Their offense is still a work in progress, but the first team to 30 will win this game. Heck, the first team to 20 will probably win it.

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