Preview: LSU vs. Clemson
The Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers face off against the Clemson Tigers tonight at 6:30 p.m. in a stand-alone primetime matchup in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
LSU (10-2) is ranked 8th in the BCS poll and finished second in the Southeastern Conference Western Division, while Clemson (10-2), ranked 14th, shared first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division with Florida State.
Tonight’s matchup figures to have some New Year’s Eve fireworks. Clemson led the ACC in total offense and set new school records for points and yardage in 2012.
Clemson junior quarterback Tajh Boyd accumulated 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns this season on his way to earning ACC Player of the Year honors.
LSU’s defense, however, is no stranger to facing dynamic quarterbacks. LSU held eventual Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel to one of his worst games of the season in October. LSU’s pressure and coverage limited Manziel to a 52% completion percentage, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
LSU’s junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has certainly failed to meet Tiger fans’ expectations this season. Mettenberger has a very pedestrian 59% completion percentage, eleven touchdowns and a staggering 26 sacks on the season.
Despite Mettenberger’s struggles, he has shined at times, and has generally improved his play over the second half of the season, but LSU’s dominant defense and running game certainly helped him along the way.
LSU’s team defense ranks third in the SEC and allowed only 16.9 points per game during the 2012 season.
LSU should feel right at home in Atlanta. The Fighting Tigers are 9-1 at the Georgia Dome and undefeated in their five previous trips to the Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly the Peach Bowl).