It is Game Day LSU fans, and it is going to be a unique gameday as for the first time ever, the LSU Tigers will welcome Army for the first time ever in Tiger Stadium. This is only the second time that these two programs will ever meet as the Tigers and the Black Knights have played one other time, which was all the way back in 1931 where LSU went to West Point and lost by a final score of 20-0.
The Bayou Bengals are looking to have much more success in the second go around as the #19 LSU Tigers have found themselves right back in the SEC Western Division championship race after its last two victories in Missouri and Auburn. A big reason why LSU is right back in the thick of things is because of their quarterback Jayden Daniels, who is right now in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious award: the Heisman Trophy. Daniels has taken tremendous strides in his second year by leading the league in scoring offense (45.3), total offense (550.4), offensive TDs (40), passing TDs (22), pass efficiency (188.04), passing yards (327.7), first downs (194) and third-down conversions (57.5 pct.).
“It’s fun to watch an offense like that. I hope our fans are taking it in. I know 2019 was a trendsetter because it led to a national championship, and rightfully so, but you should not take this for granted. This is pretty remarkable stuff.”LSU HC Brian Kelly on incredible offensive production
The Daniels’ Heisman campaign got another big boost this past Saturday in a 48-18 win over Auburn as he accounted for 418 total yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers’ dual threat quarterback also leads the country in total offense with 401 yards per game. Overall, he has completed 152 of 208 passes for 2,294 yards and 22 touchdowns to only three interceptions while also rushing for 515 yards and three more touchdowns. Head Coach Brian Kelly has stated that it is his work ethic during the offseason that has put him in position to be one of the most elite quarterbacks in college football.
“His work in the offseason was unbelievable in how much time he spent here. I don’t know if you know the story, but we changed our protocols and procedures in terms of letting players into the building. We used to cut them off at a certain time. We gave them unlimited access to the building because he was in here 5:00 in the morning and he was here late at night. He just lived in this building and watching film and just learning the offense and he knows it so well that when I’m sitting in those meetings, it’s amazing the progression that he has made relative to understanding all the nuances of the offense, and that’s on him. He did that.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Jayden Daniels’ work ethic
The Tigers also have a school record of six consecutive games of over 500 yards of offense or more. Daniels has a lot of offensive weapons to spread the football to led by Malik Nabers, who is leading the country in receiving yards with 860, and Brian Thomas Jr., who leads the country in touchdown catches with nine, but a third receiving option has emerged in last week’s victory against Auburn, and that is Kyren Lacy, who had the best game of his college career with four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s a confidence booster for him. Early on, he caught a dig route over the middle and Jayden threw him another ball that he dropped, but I stayed on him when we got to the sidelines. I told him I would throw the ball to you again and I expect you to make it the next time it comes to you. The next time he touched the ball, I knew he was going to do something special with it. Jayden came back to him on the dig again. His confidence showed throughout the game.”LSU WR Malik Nabers on Kyren Lacy
The Tigers also had a complete game from its deep running back rotation. Logan Diggs continued to pace the running back room with 97 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, but John Emery Jr. also accounted for close to 100 total yards of offense and a touchdown. Josh Williams added two touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 receiving), and Kaleb Jackson showed some flashes of why he could be the next big LSU running back star with a 60 yard kickoff return.
The front five leading the way is also among the best in the country as the LSU offensive line is on the Joe Moore Midseason Honorable Roll. The Tigers will be without their starting right tackle Emery Jones, who is dealing with an ankle injury. In his place at right tackle will be Lance Heard, who is making his first start of his career and will bookend the edges alongside his former Neville High School teammate Will Campbell.
“Coach Davis prepares everybody to get ready so the chemistry is there definitely and Lance played well. I think he is going to improve each week and the more reps he gets, it is only going to go up from there.”LSU OT Will Campbell
On the defensive side of the football, the LSU Tigers had their most complete performance on that side of the football forcing six three and outs. The defensive line had a great outing led by Paris Shand, who was all over the field with six tackles, one tackle for loss, and a pass breakup.
“I feel like any good game will enhance people’s confidence. We just feel good as a room and we feel good no matter how we play. We have that brotherhood. We always keep each other up, but that game, we feel very confident.”LSU DL Paris Shand on defense’s confidence after Auburn performance
Also, last week, Zy Alexander was targeted many times during the Auburn game, but fared well finishing with nine tackles and two pass breakups. Harold Perkins Jr. is starting to look like the dominant defensive player everybody expected him to be heading into the season as he was all over the field with five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry, and one pass breakup. Linebacker Omar Speights also was active against Auburn finishing with seven tackles. He also feels that the side of the football is taking steps in the right direction after a discouraging start.
“I think it is a lot better. We are communicating better and we are playing off each other better. We are bringing a lot more intensity and we are being more physical. We are taking strides, and we are going to keep on building so we can get that much better each and every week.”LSU DL Paris Shand
The LSU defense would look to continue that momentum as they take on the Army Black Knights that come in with a 2-4 record after a 19-0 loss to Troy. LSU is showing some southern hospitality to Army by doing some cool pregame and postgame festivities including painting the end zones in camo colors, but Kelly wants to make sure that during the game that his team is ready to fight and bring the intensity for a full 60 minutes.
“We’re excited about hosting Army. Anytime you play a service academy, the respect that we have for the great leaders that are playing collegiate football. We want to be able to honor that, but we also want to beat them. They are a good football team.”LSU HC Brian Kelly on Army
Under head coach Jeff Monken, the Army offense is not running the traditional triple option as they have normally run in the past as the cut block penalty has been outlawed by the NCAA. Because of that, the Black Knights will be running plays from the shotgun, but still will be running the ball most of the time.
Army is led by junior quarterback Bryson Daily, who has tallied 712 yards passing for six touchdowns. He also leads the Black Knights in rushing with 412 yards on the ground, averaging 4.1 yards per touch, with three touchdown scores.
Junior Isaiah Alston leads the team in receiving with nine catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns, while Noah Short also has 15 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
On the defensive side of the football, senior linebacker Leo Lowin leads the Army defense with 35 total tackles to go along with a forced fumble and recovery. Kalib Fortner has 29 tackles and a sack, while defensive back Quindrelin Hammonds has 28 tackles and an interception for the season.
Finally, LSU head coach Brian Kelly has a chance to get a milestone victory tonight in getting his 300th career victory. Earlier this week, Kelly gave his thoughts on what he thinks about the mark and how he originally did not think he would last long in the business.
“I think when you love what you do, you’re not counting wins. Listen, if I was thinking about wins, I would have gotten out of this business a long time ago, but having said that, I think going back and looking at the journey, I had no idea I’d be in it this long because my first game, I remember the president at Grand Valley State opening up the press box and I was hearing him because there were probably about 300 people there and said who the hell hired this guy? So I didn’t think I was going to be in this business very long”LSU HC Brian Kelly
Now, Kelly has a chance to become only the 12th different head coach to accomplish that feat.
Kickoff is at 6:30 P.M. and the game will be broadcasted on SEC Network.
Final Score Prediction: 55-13, LSU
Check out all the photos from last week’s 48-18 win over Auburn taken by Billy Metcalf!