Preview: Orgeron to Debut on Homecoming
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications
BATON ROUGE – LSU is set to open a “new season” under newly appointed head coach Ed Orgeron on Saturday night when the Tigers host Missouri for Homecoming in Tiger Stadium.
Kickoff between LSU and Missouri is scheduled for 6:39 p.m. and the game will be televised on the SEC Network with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Jesse Palmer (analyst) and Kaylee Hartung (sideline reporter) on the call.
The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair, Doug Moreau (analyst) and Gordy Rush (sideline reporter) calling the action. The game can be heard in the Baton Rouge area on Eagle 98.1 FM or on the internet for free exclusively at www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU, which dismissed Les Miles as its head coach on Sunday, dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play with an 18-13 loss to Auburn last week. LSU has wins over Jacksonville State and Mississippi State, while the other loss came to now No. 10-ranked Wisconsin.
Missouri will make its first trip to Tiger Stadium and the Tigers bring a 2-2 overall mark and a 0-1 league record into the contest. Missouri, under first-year coach Barry Odom, is coming off a 79-0 win over Delaware State last week. Missouri’s other win came against Eastern Michigan (61-21), while its two losses were at the hands of West Virginia (26-11) and Georgia (28-27).
LSU and Missouri have met just one other time in football, that coming in 1978 when Mizzou posted a 20-15 win in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Missouri is the only current member of the SEC that LSU has never beat in football. Tiger Stadium is the only SEC venue that Missouri has yet to play a game.
Missouri, along with Texas A&M, joined the SEC in 2012. LSU has isn’t scheduled to play at Missouri until sometime in the early 2020s.
When LSU has the ball…
Orgeron’s pledge during his introductory press conference on Monday was to play up temp and spread the ball around on offense. Steve Ensminger, a former LSU quarterback who actually played the last time the Tigers played Missouri, will call the plays and run the Tiger offense.
In four games, LSU’s offense has sputtered, scoring only nine touchdowns and averaging 339.5 total yards per game (191.8 rushing, 147.8 passing). Junior Danny Etling, a transfer from Purdue, will make his third start at quarterback against Missouri. Etling has completed 40-of-71 passes for 433 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Backup quarterback Brandon Harris, who started the first two games of the season, has connected on 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Junior running back Leonard Fournette leads the SEC in rushing with 128.7 yards per game. Fournette, who will be a game time decision as he’s still nursing a sore ankle, has rushed for 386 yards and two TDs this year. He’s gone over the 100-yard mark in all three games this season.
LSU vs. Missouri
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LSU at Auburn
If Fournette can’t go, the Tigers will turn to sophomore Derrius Guice, who has rushed for 239 yards and a touchdown this year.
The Tigers will rely on an outstanding group of receivers in the passing game, which is led by senior Travin Dural (14 rec., 142 yards, 1 TD). Other key wideouts for LSU include junior Malachi Dupre (11 rec., 99 yards), junior D.J. Chark (7 rec., 75 yards, 1 TD) and senior DeSean Smith (2 rec., 65 yards, 1 TD).
Missouri will try to slow LSU with a defense that is allowing 18.8 points and 367.8 total yards per game (131.8 rushing, 236.0 passing). In four games, Missouri has recorded 23 tackles for loss, eight sacks and leads the SEC with seven interceptions
When Missouri has the ball…
Missouri brings in one of the nation’s top offensive attacks as the Tigers lead the SEC in total offense (569.6 yards per game), passing offense (391.2 yards per game) and rank second in the league in scoring (44.5 points per game).
Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock has already thrown for 1,508 yards and 14 touchdowns as he’s completed 96-of-162 passes with just three interceptions. Last week, Lock threw for 402 yards and five TDs in Missouri’s 79-0 win over Delaware State.
Lock isn’t Missouri’s only playmaker on offense as J’Mon Moore is among the best in the nation with 26 catches for 434 yards and six touchdowns. Mizzou also has two talented running backs in Damarea Crockett (210 yards, 3 TDs) and Ish Witter (209 yards, 2 TDs).
LSU, under first-year coordinator Dave Aranda, brings one of the top defenses in the SEC into the contest. Last week, the Tigers held Auburn to six field goals and had a goalline stand. LSU is allowing 16.8 points and 341.2 total yards per game (116.0 rushing, 225.2 passing).
LSU hasn’t allowed a first quarter touchdown this season as they’ve given up just an Auburn field goal during the first quarter of four games.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Arden Key leads the nation in sacks with 6.5 through the first four weeks of the season. Other defensive standouts for the Tigers include linebacker Kendell Beckwith (36 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks), safety Jamal Adams (30 tackles), linebacker Duke Riley (28 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss) and defensive end Davon Godchaux (20 tackles, 2.0 sacks).
Cornerback Tre’Davious White has scored two touchdowns this year, returning a punt for a score against Jacksonville State and an interception against Wisconsin. In four games, White has 11 tackles, an interception, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
After Saturday, the Tigers travel to Gainesville to face Florida at the Swamp. Kickoff between LSU and Florida is set for 11 a.m. on ESPN.