BATON ROUGE -- When LSU steps onto the field against eighth-ranked Tennessee, the Tigers will do so with an offense and defense that, statistically speaking, is the best in the Southeastern Conference.
The 13th-ranked Tigers bring a 6-2 overall mark into Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday as they play a key SEC matchup against the 7-1 Vols. The game will be televised to a national audience by CBS. Kickoff for the only all Top 25 matchup on Saturday is slated for 2:30 p.m. CDT.
LSU currently leads the SEC in four offensive categories and they are atop the conference in eight defensive categories.
LSU goes into the Tennessee game with an offensive unit that ranks first in the SEC and 11th in the nation in scoring with a 35.88 average. The Tigers have scored 40 points a school-record tying five times this year, including 49 against Kentucky and 48 in a win over Mississippi State.
The Tigers also lead the conference and rank No. 16 in the nation in total offense, averaging 414.75 yards per game. Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russell has been the key to the LSU offensive attack, throwing for 241.6 yards per game. Russell leads the league and ranks fourth in the nation in pass efficiency with a 174.58 rating as he has connected on 135 of 193 passes for 1,910 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Tigers are not only the best in the SEC, but have been called the top unit in the nation. LSU currently leads the SEC and ranks No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 8.2 points per game, some four points better than conference foe Florida, who is yielding 12 points per contest.
In eight games this year, the Tigers have allowed only 66 points, which is the fewest by an LSU team since the 1970 squad held its first eight opponents to 65 points. In all, the Tiger defense has given up just three rushing touchdowns and three passing TDs all year.
In terms of total defense, LSU enters the weekend as the leader in that category for the fifth straight week. The Tigers are allowing a national best 211.6 yards per game LSU has been atop the national standings in total defense since holding Mississippi State to 212 yards during the fifth week of the season.
LSU has held three of its eight opponents to less than 200 yards of total offense, including a season-low of 152 yards to Arizona in a 45-3 win over the Wildcats. The most yards gained on the Tigers this year came against Florida when the Gators had 288 yards in the 23-10 victory in Gainesville.
LSU also leads the nation in pass efficiency defense with an 85.36 rating and the Tigers are among the national leaders in pass defense (No. 5 at 139.0 yards per game), rushing defense (No. 7 at 72.63 yards per game) and sacks (No. 10 at 3.25 per game).