The highlight of the college football schedule this weekend is surely the showdown between the No. 6 LSU Tigers and No. 9 Texas Longhorns. Despite being the home team, the Longhorns are listed as 6.5-point underdogs with an over/under of 56.5 points.
Last week, Texas was able to win its season opener for the first time in Tom Herman’s three seasons at the school. The Longhorns took care of business against a Louisiana Tech team that could have proved troublesome for them. Texas led 38-0 after three quarters and went on to win 45-14 to get their season started on the right note.
Meanwhile, LSU was just as impressive, blowing out Georgia Southern 55-3. Facing a triple-option offense, the Tigers allowed less than 100 total yards. The offense was nearly as dominant as the offense, as quarterback Joe Burrow threw for five touchdown passes, all of which came in the first half before the Bayou Bengals took their foot off the gas.
Both Sides Now
It may have been against Georgia Southern, but LSU showed last week just how dominant its defense can be. The Tigers are loaded all over the field and could end up having the best defense in the country when all is said and done. Obviously, the Texas offense will pose a much bigger challenge. But they look to be up for the challenge, even without the home crowd behind them.
The LSU offense shouldn’t be overlooked either. Again, it’s easy to dismiss last week’s performance against Georgia Southern. However, Burrow seems to be a good fit for an LSU offense that is willing to throw the ball more than in the past. The former Ohio State quarterback can sling it and had good chemistry with his receivers. Another thing to be aware of is that Texas didn’t muster much of a pass rush against Louisiana Tech last week. If the Longhorns don’t put pressure on Burrow, he’ll light them up the way he did Georgia Southern last week.
On My Own
For Texas, the key will be the play of quarterback Sam Ehlinger. He’s in his third season of being at least a part-time starter for the Longhorns, so he’s played in plenty of big games and performed well. Ehlinger looked sharp in the season opener and has become a reliable passer in addition to being a threat with his legs.
The caveat with Ehlinger is that he’s rarely faced the caliber of defense like the one he’ll face against LSU. No Big 12 defense he’s faced in his career compares to what the Tigers have on that side of the ball. If the Texas defense can’t keep the LSU offense contained, Ehlinger is not necessarily the type of gunslinger who can keep up in a shootout, especially against such a talented defense.
Hear the Roar
It seems a little unusual for a road team to be favored in a matchup of two top-10 teams. But they are surely the better defensive team and appear to have their offense clicking early in the season. As long as the success of the LSU offense isn’t an aberration, you should feel comfortable betting on the Tigers to win and cover.