Football

Matching Up: LSU vs. Texas Tech

We look at the match ups between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the LSU Tigers for the AdvoCare 100 Texas Bowl.

The Match Ups

Texas Tech Pass Offense vs. LSU Pass Defense
Texas Tech
The Texas Tech passing offense is simply terrific. The team is 2nd in the nation, going for 390 yards passing a game. Patrick Mahomes has been very good, completing 65% of his passes for 8.3 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Jakeem Grant leads the team with 95 yards a game, 1,143 yards, 7 touchdowns and 14.29 yards per catch. The second leading receiver, Devin Lauderdale, is currently suspended from the team, which means that guys like Ian Sadler, Reginald Davis, Cameron Batson, Tony Brown and Ja’Deion High need to pick things up. I still expect the passing offense to do well against the LSU defense. I mentioned this in the comments that Texas Tech is 1st in the nation in third down conversion percentage, which is really the big reason why the Texas Tech offense has been so good. Another indication as to the offense has been the red zone offense, tied for 13th in the nation in efficiency.
LSU
The LSU passing defense is 47th in the nation, allowing 211 yards per game. Like a lot of things, you have to consider where the team plays to have a true measure of what the passing offenses are like in that conference, but that’s still a top 50 pass defense. The Tigers are also 53rd in passing efficiency defense, which, again, is more than acceptable. The cornerbacks are Dwayne Thomas (6-0/186) and Tre’Davious White (5-11/191). Thomas has 34 tackles on the year, 3 tackles for loss and 6 passes broken up. White has 38 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 6 passes broken up. Jalen Mills (6-0/196) is the nickel back and free safety. I’m not sure who LSU plugs in at the safety spot, but you can probably bet that Mills spends a lot of time covery Jakeem Grant. Mills has 30 tackles on the year, plus 2 passes broken up and a sack. Jamal Adams (6-1/211) is the strong safety and he is, by far and away, the leader in the clubhouse with 4 interceptions on the year. Adams also has 60 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss and 5 passes broken up. For the year, LSU only has 9 interceptions on the year, 3 of them coming against Eastern Michigan. Intercepting the ball isn’t a strong suit.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech
Texas Tech Rush Offense vs. LSU Rush Defense
Texas Tech
This may be the most fascinating match-up for me because believe it or not, Texas Tech sports the 29th best rushing offense, averaging 205 yards a game. I’m sure this will come somewhat of a shock to LSU fans how diverse the offense is, but it’s largely on the legs of De’Andre Washington, who averaged 122 yards a game, 14 touchdowns and 6.5 yards per run. Patrick Mahomes was the second leading rusher, going for 484 yards a game and 10 touchdowns, while Justin Stockton has 356 yards a game for 5 touchdowns and 5 yards a carry. We’ve talked about it all year, but Washington has had a consistently great year, with his only poor game being against Baylor, where he only had 39 yards rushing. Washington turned it on late in the year, running for 248 yards against Kansas State and 173 yards against Texas. One other note, Texas Tech has 34 rushing touchdowns and 35 passing touchdowns. That’s about as balanced as you can get and I’m perfectly happy with that.
LSU
The strength of the defense is the running game, where LSU only allows a measly 132 yards a game, which is good for 24th in the nation. The LSU defensive tackles are Davon Godchaux (6-4/293) and Christian LaCouture (6-5/307) while the bookends are Lewis Neal (6-2/264) and Arden Key (6-6/231) or Tashawn Bower (6-4/240). Godchaux and LaCouture have 38 and 35 tackles for the year, while Godchaux has 7 tackles for a loss and 4 sacks and LaCouture has 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1 sack. The two best defensive ends appear to be Neal, who has 48 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 6 passes broken up and 8 quarterback hurries and Key, who has 38 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and 9 quarterback hurries. That’s some good production. The linebacking corps are led by Kendell Beckwith (6-2/252) in the middle, Lamar Louis (5-11/232) at the strong side linebacker and Deion Jones (6-1/227) at the weakside spot. Jones leads the team with 92 tackles on the year, while Beckworth has 76 and is second on the team. These are the playmakers. Jones has 11.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 passes broken up and 6 quarterback hurries. While Beckworth has 6 tackles for loss and one sack.
ADVANTAGE: Push
Texas Tech Pass Defense vs. LSU Pass Offense
Texas Tech
Well, we’ve been here before. Texas Tech is 114th in passing defense, which matches up well with the fact that LSU isn’t adept at passing the ball. Texas Tech is 91st in passing efficiency, so there’s that. Really, I think that both the Texas Tech pass defense and LSU pass offense are pretty terrible. In non-breaking news, Texas Tech may be a bit light in the pass defense as both Derrick Dixon and Jalen Barnes will transfer from Texas Tech, which means that Justis Nelson is running at one of the safety spots as a back-up. The one good thing that Texas Tech has going for it is that they do have some playmakers in the defensive backfield, namely that Nigel Bethel, II has been very good since coming back from injury, breaking up 10 passes on the year. J.J. Gaines has 4 interceptions on the year plus 2 forced fumbles, while Jah’Shawn Johnson has 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. And while we’re at it, Tevin Madison has 10 passes broken up and 2 forced fumbles. I know he has struggled in the backfield, but he’s made some plays too.
LSU
This is where things get a bit rough for the Tigers. LSU is 110th in passing offense this year, which really hasn’t mattered all that much. Quarterback Brandon Harris (6-3/206) is the quarterback and he’s taken every snap this year. Every one. He’s averaging about 173 yards a game, completing 53% of his passes and has 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He’s obviously not asked to do a ton offensively. The one interesting note is that he does average 7.5 yards per attempt, which is higher than I thought it would be and most likely a result of going deep rather than taking the short stuff. Malachi Dupre (6-3/190) and Travin Dural (6-2/203) are the two wide receivers while Colin Jeter (6-7/244) is the tight end. Dupre has 39 catches on the year for 602 yards and 6 touchdowns while Dural has 28 catches for 533 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dupre averages 15 yards a catch and Dural averages 19. Again, they like to go deep. Jeter has 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Believe it or not, Fournette is second on the team with 18 catches and 209 yards.
ADVANTAGE: Push
Texas Tech Rush Defense vs. LSU Rush Offense
Texas Tech
This is, at least for me, where LSU has the most significant advantage and it’s so significant that it maybe outweighs some of the other categories. Texas Tech have given up over 400 yards twice, over 300 yards six times and over 200 yards nine times this season. That’s a lot to overcome. The lone bright spot late in the year was allowing only 123 yards rushing to Kansas State and the hope is that LSU gets a bit fancy and tries to get Brandon Harris on track. The Texas Tech rush defense has been maligned and there’s no reason to get into all of the cliches and negative thoughts. I also wonder if Texas Tech can get a bit lucky and force some turnovers, giving the Texas Tech offense a bit of a break. The problem of course is that LSU really isn’t prone to turning the ball over, only 9 total turnovers on the year, so even that plan seems a little bit unlikely given the Tigers’ propensity to hold onto the ball. As an aside, LSU is 24th in turnover margin, mainly because of the low number of turnovers as they only have 16 total turnovers gained on defense.
LSU
The LSU rushing game is led by Leonard Fournette (6-1/230) a mere sophomore putting up incredible numbers. The Tigers average 246 yards a game, which is good for 9th in the country and Fournette averages 158 of those yards a game. He also has 18 touchdowns and 1,741 yards on 271 carries averaging 6 yards a carry. Freshman running back Derrius Guice is second on the team with 47 rushing attempts and 397 yards with 3 touchdowns, averaging 8 yards a carry. Up front are Jerald Hawkins (6-6/305) at left tackle, Maea Teuhema (6-5/327) at left guard, Ethan Pocic (6-7/309) at center, William Clapp (6-5/303) at right guard and Vadal Alexander (6-6/320) at right tackle. Teuhema and Clapp are both redshirt freshmen starting, while Alexander is the only senior of the bunch. At fullback is Bry’Kiethon Mouton (6-1/255), who doesn’t even have a carry on the year. Merely for blocking the crap out of people.
ADVANTAGE: LSU
Texas Tech Special Teams vs. LSU Special Teams
Texas Tech
I would imagine that Clayton Hatfield handles kickoffs again, and he’s been quite good as he kicks 45% of his kickoffs as touchbacks on the year and that’s down from what Symmank did, who had 73% of his kickoffs as touchbacks. Hatfield also handled the field goals and made 14 of 16, including receiving a scholarship after the Texas game. Hatfield also made 50 of 51 extra points. As many of you have noted, Texas Tech is not known for punt returns and Cameron Batson averages 6.23 yards per return. It seems that Texas Tech does receive a good number of extra yards from Jakeem Grant, who averages 27 yards a return and 2 touchdowns.
LSU
Cameron Gamble (5-10/197) and Trent Domingue (6-2/170) both handle kickoff duties. They’re not great at kicking it into the back of the endzone, Gamble kicked 15% of his kickoffs as touchbacks and Domingue had 22% as touchbacks. Domingue handles the the place-kicking and made 13 of 17 on the year for 77% and made 41 of 42 extra points. Jamie Keehn (6-5/231) is the punter and averaged a pedestrian 41 yards a punt. Tre’Davious White (5-11/191) is the punt returner while Derrius Guice (5-11/222) and Darrel Williams (6-0/232) handle kickoff returns. No great shakes there as Guice averages about 24 yards a return with no touchdowns, although White returning punts is pretty dangerous, averaging 12 yards a return with a touchdown.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech

The Tally

I’ve got Texas Tech favored on the passing game, while LSU is favored in the running game, with two pushes and Texas Tech favored in the special teams. I think that LSU’s running attack is pretty special, so even though I’ve got Texas Tech somewhat favored, that LSU running game pushes the Tigers over the edge for me.

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