This is the type of game that is one of the major reasons that recruits choose to go to Washington. When you play football at Washington you get the chance to play against the very best in the most hallowed cathedrals of the sport.
The last time these two teams met was back in 2009 in Seattle. The Huskies were competitive against the heavily favored Tigers but LSU was able to pull out a 31-23 victory on the road. The rematch is being played in Baton Rouge and bad things tend to happen to opposing teams when they visit "Death Valley".
Tiger Stadium seats 92,542 of the loudest and wildest Cajuns you have ever heard in your life. Bear Bryant was quoted as saying that playing in that stadium was similar to playing inside of a big drum. Is it louder than Husky Stadium back in the early 1990's? Some folks say it is because it holds 20,000 more people and they all liquored up, full of gumbo, and very angry when kickoff time arrives.
I met quite a few LSU fans when they were in Seattle and they were all nice to a fault. All the folks who visited this blog the week of the game were exactly the same way...the nicest people you ever want to meet...so what exactly happens to make them transform so on game day?
For one thing they all get it...This isn't just a sport for them...It is a birthright and religion. They all live for college football. They all know how to party so hardy that Tiger Stadium has been voted as one of the best game day experiences in the country.
They do it up right in Baton Rouge and those that are fortunate enough to attend Saturday's game are going to have one of the best times of their lives if they stay reasonably behaved.
So how does Washington Stack up against LSU?
To me it looks very similar to how we have stacked up against Stanford during the Harbaugh years. These guys look real good getting off the bus.
LSU seems to have a decided advantage on both sides of the line and a lot more power and depth in the backfield. Don't forget those special teams. They love to score points and force mistakes with their special teams play.
The LSU offensive theory is going to be pretty simple. They are going to keep running it until we show that we can stop it. If we can't force them into lower percentage passing situations on third down it is going to be a long day of five yard plus gains.
The conventional wisdom on defense floating around the boards this week is that Wilcox may go to a bigger four man front in the hope of slowing these guys down at the line of scrimmage. I think he will try to throw a lot of different stunts and looks at them to keep them off balance.
As usual turnovers will have a big part in deciding who wins. The UW defense needs to force some of those to even up the yardstick between the two teams. Perhaps the absence of the Honey Badger tilts that factor in Washington's direction.
Defensively LSU is going to try to take away the UW running game and target their talented defensive ends in the direction of QB Keith Price who will be playing behind an inexperienced and banged up offensive line. Price isn't going to have a lot of time to get rid of the ball so it is crucial that his receivers get open after he swings wide or drops three steps.
Keith Price needs to hit the field wearing a Superman suit on Saturday because beating LSU on the road is going to be a tall order. He will go to ASJ early and often on Saturday but he needs to do a better job this week spreading the ball around the entire field.
Price needs to get the ball into hands of Kasen Williams who needs to have more touches per game. He needs to hit Jaydon Mickens deep to stretch the field and keep the Tiger defense honest. He will need to use his feet in the same way that Jake Locker did because his offense is going to some need help picking up yards on the ground.
Notable Pre Game Quote
Washington has the makings of a formidable underdog, with an immensely talented quarterback, a slew of explosive receivers and a defense that appears to have put its worst days behind it. There's just one problem: It's playing LSU. And Washington is still nowhere near Les Miles' squad's level.
So who is going to win?
A Washington upset would be huge. It would rank right up there with the Whammy in Miami. We all know what happened on that day. Miami was cruising along 14-3 at the half and the Huskies came out and hammered the snot out of the Hurricanes for 22 points in a span of five minutes to take over the ball game at the start of the second half.
Key plays included a 75 yard touchdown pass, 34 yard interception return, and a fumble recovery. The Huskies showed no signs of slowing down and dominated the entire second stanza on the way to a stunning 38-20 victory. Washington is going to have to come up with a similar type of performance to beat LSU on Saturday.
To have a chance to win the Huskies are going to have to win the special teams battle against a squad that absolutely excels at special teams play. They are also going to have to get some turnovers...a defensive score or two would also be nice. They need to do all of the above to the third ranked team in America playing on their home field.
I think Washington has the ability to hang around and make it interesting but it is going to take a whole lot more than I saw last week in their performance against SDSU to even be competitve in this one let alone pull off an upset for the ages. In conclusion you shouldn't bet against a team playing at home that is 28-0 under Les Miles against non-conference opponents.
LSU 34 Washington 17