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Game Preview: #6 LSU Tigers vs #9 Texas Longhorns

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Saturday’s matchup between #6 LSU and #10 Texas at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin sets up a showdown between two teams that haven’t played each other since the 2003 Cotton Bowl.  Tom Herman holds an unblemished 3-0 record against Southeastern Conference teams, but the Tigers are boasting a new roar, bringing a revamped, uptempo spread offense into Austin. Texas is 7-1-1 against LSU at home, and hopes to continue those winning ways in front of a sold-out crowd with ESPN’s College GameDay on campus.  While the original line on the game favored LSU by 4.5 points, that line has slipped to -6.5 for the Tigers.

What:  Texas Longhorns (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. LSU Tigers (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
When:  Saturday, September 7, 2019
Time:  6:30 PM CST
Venue:  Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, TX
Television: ABC
The Line: LSU -6.5

Last Meeting Between the Two Schools:  Texas defeated LSU 35-20 in the SBC Cotton Bowl (January 1, 2003)
All-Time Series Record:   Texas leads LSU 9-7-1

The Coaches

LSU Tigers

Head Coach:  Ed Orgeron
Head Coaching Experience: 8th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at LSU:  4
Career Record:  42-36
Career Record at LSU:  26-9

Texas Longhorns

Head Coach:  Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 5th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas:  3
Career Record:  40-14
Career Record at Texas:  18-10

ESPN’s College GameDay in Austin

Saturday’s game will mark the first time ESPN’s College GameDay has been in Austin since the 2009 season (and the 17th time the show has been on hand for a Longhorn Football game).  Texas is 10-6 all-time when participating as one of the teams in the program’s featured matchup, and holds a 5-1 record when the show comes to Austin.

The Texas Offense needs to Turn it Loose

As expected last week against Louisiana Tech, the Longhorns played relatively vanilla on offense. Expect Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck to shake it up this week in efforts to stop a talented Tiger defense from making big plays. Texas must establish the run early, and with a dinged up Keaontay Ingram and a converted QB/LB at 2&3 (Johnson, Gbenda) on the RB Depth Chart, expect to see Ehlinger run more. The staff needs Sam healthy for the duration of the season, and I know the philosophy is to pass-first, but they may not have a choice but to mix in designed runs for the junior quarterback. Ehlinger’s success through the air will depend on wide receiver Collin Johnson. Johnson will be double-covered all night, but needs a big game in order for the Longhorns to pull off the upset. Duvernay’s play out of the slot could also be a golden nugget for the offense, keeping the defense in check with speed.

LSU’s Defensive Talent

Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda has athletes and playmakers at almost every position for the Tigers. Linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson is one of the best in the nation, and he and senior linebacker Michael Divinity will look to disrupt a Texas offense that has the potential to make big plays. One of the bigger challenges for Texas and Sam Ehlinger will be winning the match-ups in the secondary. Texas wide receivers are tall and have reach, but LSU’s defensive backs are speedy and hit hard. If Texas can’t win some of these battles early, it could be tough-going for most of the night.

Joe Burrows Leads New LSU Offense

LSU QB Joe Burrows leads a new-look LSU offense that did damage against Georgia Southern last week. He threw for 278 yards and five touchdowns, making the Tiger offense look like a well-oiled machine in the 55-3 rout of the Eagles. A young Texas secondary is vulnerable, so expect Burrows to test them early on in hopes of capitalizing on the youth and inexperience. The Longhorns face similar offenses in Big 12 play, so Texas should adjust without too much trouble.

DBU needs to play like DBU

Texas defensive backs struggled to hold their own against Louisiana Tech last weekend, allowing Bulldog quarterback J’Mar Smith to throw for 331 yards and two touchdowns. A young and inexperienced secondary will have to hold their ground against an offense that can put points up fast. Defensive backs coaches Jason Washington and Craig Naivar have been working all week to put a plan together that will give the Longhorns what they need in the secondary. Now it’s time for the players to execute that plan.

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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