On Saturday, September 2nd, the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, will play host to an intriguing matchup between the BYU Cougars and the SEC powerhouse LSU Tigers. Kickoff for this neutral site game is at 9:30 P.M ET.
The BYU Cougars will enter this contest after playing one game already. Their matchup against Portland State can be seen as a good warmup for a battle against the SEC’s perennial top defense – LSU Tigers. BYU finished the 2016 with a 9-4 record, but appear to have a tougher schedule this year, which could prevent them from hitting double digit wins.
LSU was 8-4 in 2016 and looks to make a run at the SEC West division and a top bowl game. With the conference being talented from the top on down, it’s going to be a dogfight almost every week in the SEC. However, LSU does have the defense and rushing game to reach the 10 win mark.
The betting line has been bouncing around between +12 points and +13.5 points for BYU. It’s settled right now at +13. The Over/Under is sitting at 47.5 points.
Both teams enjoyed an advantage in Time of Possession last season as each offense averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground. They will look to do the same in 2017 by controlling the clock through an improved ground and pound rushing attack.
LSU has a stud running back in Derrius Guice who has the potential to replace the majority of production lost via Leonard Fournette’s departure to the NFL. The Tigers will also place more emphasis on the running game with five of their top six receiving targets gone and a new offensive system.
For BYU, their strength is in the offensive line, which could finish as one of the best in the nation. The front five should be up to the task in taking on a ferocious LSU defense. This game will definitely be won in the trenches on both sides of the ball. In fact, it should be one of those classic smash mouth style games where we get to see some hard hitting, physical football.
It’s also the style of game that produces lower point totals. Last season, LSU held their opponents to just under 16 points per game and finished 10th in the nation for total defense. BYU’s defense did a respectable job as well, holding opponents to 19.5 points per game and finishing 14th in the nation for scoring defense.
The Under is 4-0 in the Tigers last 4 September games and 3-0-1 in their last 4 non-conference games. For BYU, the Under is 7-0 in their last 7 non-conference games and 7-1 in their last 8 games played.
As BYU tries to balance out their offense with a more consistent passing attack, and LSU bringing in a new offensive coordinator to implement an air show, it’s easy to see this game resulting in a low scoring battle as both offenses revert to what they know best – pounding the pig skin.