When: Saturday, September 3 – 3:30PM ET
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
All-Time Series: LSU 3-0
Last Meeting: LSU won 28-24 (2014)
Line: LSU -10
Story lines are easy to come by for this season opener. Where to begin? From top running backs, a defensive coordinator staring across the field at his former team and a fifth-year quarterback making his first start, there are plenty of reasons this matchup is juicy.
Oh, and of course the ever-present cloud of the old Big Ten vs. SEC debate is there too. It is safe to say a lot of eyes will be focused on what happens at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. this upcoming Saturday.
With all of that happening in one game, who wouldn’t want to be at Lambeau Field this Saturday?
1 BURNING QUESTION: CAN THE BADGERS SLOW FOURNETTE?
The past few seasons have been good to the Badgers on the defensive side of the ball. Led by then-defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, the Badgers possessed the No. 4 ranked rushing defense in the country in 2015, giving up fewer than 100 yards on the ground per game. That 2015 unit returns most of its contributors from the front seven (lost Joe Schobert to the draft) but losses three starters in the secondary. The match up of the Badgers front seven vs the Tigers running game will most likely dictate the game. The Badgers have the talent to give the Tigers problems, but do they have the depth (and stamina) to chase down Fournette for four quarters?
2 Key Stats:
– 300. That’s the number of carries that LSU tailback Leonard Fournette received last season. In addition to his 300 rushes, Fournette averaged 6.5 yards per carry and totaled 1,953 yards on his way to 22 rushing scores for the Tigers in 2015.
– 13.7. That’s the amount of points the Wisconsin defense gave up on average in 2015 (No. 1 in the country). In addition to leading the country in points allowed per game, the Badgers were No. 2 in total defense (268.5 yards surrendered per game) and No. 4 in rushing defense (97.9 yards per game).
3 Key Players:
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin OLB: The Senior linebacker will be looking to have a big game to lead his team to an upset win, and it would be a nice for boost for his NFL draft stock. He also will be the big dog in the linebacking group after being overshadowed by bigger names in the past two seasons.
Brandon Harris, LSU QB: The Junior signal caller for the Tigers will need to make some throws to loosen up the Badgers front. Harris will need to improve his accuracy from last season’s mark of 53.6 percent or the Tigers may end up on the wrong end of an opening game upset.
Bart Houston, Wisconsin QB: As a Senior, Houston needs to take care of the ball first and foremost. Even a turnover or two could be too much to overcome when facing a team as talented as the Tigers. How Houston deals with the jitters of his first start and playing at a place like Lambeau Field will be telling for just how good or bad UW’s chances are in this game.
4 Bold Prognostications:
– Bart Houston throws more touchdown passes than interceptions: The fifth-year senior plays it safe and takes care of the ball for the Badgers, resulting in a low-scoring, competitive game that sees Houston make a few plays with his arm.
– Leonard Fournette scores multiple touchdowns: The No. 1 running back prospect toughs out for a few scores against a talented and gritty Badger defense.
– Rafael Gaglianone makes three field goals: The Badgers third-year kicker, who will be wearing No. 27 in honor of the late Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, will build on his strong fall camp by making three field goals when the Badgers offense stalls in LSU territory.
– Corey Clement goes over 100 yards rushing: The Badgers star tailback will be eager to remind the college football world that Wisconsin is still Running Back U. Expect the energized and healthy Clement to eclipse the 100 yard mark, albeit it won’t be easy against the Tigers talented and aggressive defense.
Andy: LSU 24-20
Dave: LSU 31-20
Phil H.: LSU 27-17
Phil R.: LSU 27-24
Zach: LSU 24-16