This week the Aggie football team takes their 2-2 record south to Baton Rouge, LA where they will face an angry LSU Tiger football team. LSU is coming off a loss at home to Mississippi State and is looking to get right against an inferior Aggie squad. We've enlisted the help of LSU beat writer Jim Kleinpeter from The Times-Picayune to give Aggie fans a quick look at what to expect from the Tigers on Saturday.
LSU is coming off a loss to Mississippi State last week in which they fell behind early. Slow starts have been a little bit of a theme is three of the four games they’ve played this season. What has been the primary reason for the slow starts?
LSU's offensive line was supposed to be the strength of the team. The tackles have played well, the middle three not so much. Senior center Elliott Porter was suspended for the first two games and the lineup has been juggled. Porter will be playing his third game and the Tigers should show some improvement here. LSU is inexperienced at all three of the main skill positions. They aren't going to do much if the O-line struggles too.
LSU has two quarterbacks, sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris. It sounds like Jennings will get the start but how quickly do you think we will see Harris, particularly given the spark he gave to the offense in the Mississippi State game?
LSU coach Les Miles has pledged that Jennings will start but Harris will play more. He played only 14 of 74 snaps last week and produced two touchdowns. Jennings is safer, he'll make fewer mistakes, but also fewer plays. Harris is a freshman who probably can't handle the burden of being the starter right now. I'm thinking Jennings will get the first two series, or the first quarter. Harris the 2nd quarter and they'll go from there. A 50-50 split is likely.
In the two wins over Sam Houston State and UL Monroe, the LSU defense was downright stingy giving up only 299 total yards in the two games. What were the Tigers able to do against those two teams defensively that was so devastating to those teams’ offenses?
Those two teams weren't the quality of the other two they played. LSU in games against Wisconsin and Mississippi State has given up the big play. The Tigers would stop Mississippi State for two plays and then Dak Prescott would go the distance with the defense spread out. It was troubling because the LSU defense is supposed to be seasoned, but they seem to make just enough mental errors to get beat. 10 plays of 20 yards or more against Mississippi State.
Aside from freshman quarterback Brandon Harris, who are a couple players on offense and defense that could see significant playing time in this game who haven’t seen much action the first four weeks?
Wide receiver Malachi Dupre, who caught the two TD passes from Harris last week, will get a lot more snaps. He mossed the opener with a hamstring injury. LB Kendell Beck with will probably start in the middle, a much better athlete than senior starter DJ Welter. And freshman DT Davon Godchaux will start in place of injured Quentin Thomas.
What do the Aggies need to do to keep this game respectable?
Possess the ball with short passes and run right at LSU in the middle. The DT position has been a real big weakness because of Thomas' injury and the failure of some redshirt freshmen to step up. Godchaux is undersized and so is the next player up, Lewis Neal, who is 255 pounds. Beckwith is a better athlete than Welter but does not have as good a grasp of the defensive playbook.
Aside from the outstanding tailgating at LSU, what are some other game day festivities that Aggie fans making the trip to Baton Rouge should put on their to-do list?
There will be a band playing in the morning in front of the basketball arena across the street from the stadiu. The team and the LSU band walk down the hill near the stadium around 3-4 p.m. The live mascot Mike VI is fun to visit in his habitat near the basketball arena. And a lot of the tailgaters will invite visitors to come over and eat and drink with them if they spot the team colors.
Your prediction for the game.
LSU 59, New Mexico State 7. LSU players have had their ears chewed all week but the coaches and should respond with focus and intensity.