TCU vs LSU: complete analysis So lot of LSU fans think this game will be a complete beat down and most feel a 14+ point victory for the Tigers should be expected. Vegas has LSU favored by 4, but either way TCU comes into the game Saturday as a clear underdog. So how do they match up? What do you think will be the keys to the game? First the lines: Offense: LSU: LT La’el Collins 6-5, 315 JR LG Vadal Alexander 6-6, 342 So C Elliott Porter 6-4, 300 JR RG Trai Turner 6-3, 316 SO RT Jerald Hawkins 6-6, 301 RSFR TCU: LT Aviante Collins 6-6, 285 SO LG James Dunbar 6-6, 315 SR C Joey Hunt 6-3, 295 SO RG Eric Tausch 6-3, 300 SR RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai 6-6, 308 SO Tail of the tape: LSU averages 6-5, 315 and TCU 6-5, 301. Overall neither offensive line performed very well last season with the Tigers giving up 32 sacks and TCU 29. LSU lost 2 key OL in OG Dusty Dworaczyk and C P.J. Lonegran as well as OT Chris Faulk and OG Josh Wilford. TCU loses C James fry and OG Blaize Foltz. Defense: LSU: DE Jermauria Rasco 6-3, 262 JR DT Anthony Johnson 6-3, 294 JR DT Ego Ferguson 6-3, 303 JR DE Danielle Hunter 6-6, 241 SO TCU: DE Jon Koontz 6-2, 265 SR DT Chucky Hunter 6-1, 300 JR DT Davion Pierson 6-2, 305 SOB DE Matt Anderson 6-3, 250 JR Tail of the tape: TCU averages 6-2, 280 to LSU’s 6-3, 275 LSU had key losses in DEs Barkevious Mingo, Levar Edwards and Sam Montgomery as well as DT Bennie Logan, TCU lost DE Stansly Maponga. Definitely a strength for each team and though TCU is expected to sit potential All-American DE Devonte Fields the matchup of the these defensive lines against the opposing offensive lines should definitely favor the Ds and not even close. Quarterbacks: LSU: Zach Mettenberger 6-5, 235 SR TCU: Casey Pachall 6-5, 230 SR and Trevone Boykin 6-2, 215 JR Overall the quarterback play should be good to very good on both sides and this may be exactly where the game is won or lost. Neither team protects their QB very well and both defenses pressure the QB extremely well. Pachall may not be the most mobile of quarterbacks but he ain’t no Mettenberger and that may be the deciding factor in this game. Pachall brings enough mobility, a much quicker release and an NFL type of efficiency in his play to make this a mismatch in favor of the frogs. How that will result in the final score may hinge upon the next group. Runningbacks: LSU: RB Alfred Blue 6-2, 222 SR RB Kenny Hilliard 6-0, 233 JR RB Jeremy Hill 6-2, 235 SO FB J.C. Copeland 6-0, 270 SR TCU: RB Waymon James 5-8, 203 SR RB B.J. Catalon 5-9, 190 SO RB Aaron Green 5-11, 200 SO RB Jordan Moore 6-3, 221 SO Its size versus speed in this group and just looking at the two groups of players will tell you how each team expects to play this game. LSU will need to be able to run on the TCU defense to win this game and they will do it behind a suspect offensive line supported by a huge fullback and mobile tight end. TCU will counter with a spread passing game and read-option running game supported by big and fast wide receivers. Receivers: LSU: WR Odell Beckham Jr 6-0,193 JR WR Jarvis Landry 6-1, 195 JR WR Kadron Boone 6-0, 202 SR TE Travis Dickson 6-3, 230 JR TCU WR Cam White 6-3, 200 JR WR LaDarius Brown 6-4, 220 SO WR Ty Slanina 6-0, 193 FR WR Brandon Carter 5-11, 186 JR TE Stephen Bryant 6-5, 240 JR Probably the one area TCU has a clear dominance over LSU. The Tigers will line up more often in a 2 WR, TE and two back set while TCU more often in a 4 WR one back set. LSU does not have any DBs who can match up well with White, Bryant or Brown but Travis Dickson may give the frog linebackers all kinds of problems. Linebackers: LSU: SLB Tahj Jones 6-2, 205 SR MLB D.J. Welter 6-1, 226 JR WLB Lamin Barrow 6-2, 232 SR TCU MLB Jonathan Anderson 6-3, 227 JR SLB Marcus Mallett 6-1, 227 JR Conversely this may be the one area LSU has a clear dominance and will be interesting how this area plays out during the game. If Mettenberger can exploit the short middle part of the field with his passes and they can run effectively against the smaller linebackers this may turn into a long game for the Frogs. However if the athleticism of the TCU linebackers can prevail it may help turn this contest. The LSU linebackers will make it tough for the TCU running game to take hold unless the Frogs can spread out the defenders effectively. Defensive backs: LSU: CB Jalen Mills 6-1, 189 SO S Craig Loston 6-2, 209 SR S Ronald martin 6-1, 218 CB Jalen Collins 6-2, 195 SO TCU: CB Jason Verrett 5-10, 176 SR SS Sam Carter 6-1, 215 JR WS Chris Hackett 6-2, 195 SO FS Elisha Olabode 5-11, 193 SR CB Kevin White 5-10, 174 JR LSU played two freshmen at cornerback last year and they are now very good, TCU counters with Jason Verrett who is one of the best in the nation. The safeties for the Tigers are led by Craig Loston and TCU is led by Sam Carter, both potential All-Americans. The biggest difference is that the LSU defenders will be going up against bigger and faster receivers. Special teams LSU: K Colby Delahoussaye RSFR P Jamie Keehn SN Reid Ferguson KOR/PR Odell Beckham Jr TCU: K Jaden Oberkrom SO P Ethan Perry SO SN James Power JR KOR/PR Brandon Carter JR Overall TCU is very solid on special teams and LSU a little shaky but Bechkam is a dangerous returner. Some key substitutes/battles: Offensive lines: both teams had some battles for positions on the OLs and a few surprises resulted. For LSU Jerald Hawkins steps in at right tackle and Elliott Porter holds off true freshman Ethan Pocic for center. TCU sees James Dunbar move to left guard and Eric Tausch moves to right guard. Jamalle Naff was the right guard coming out of spring drills and will get plenty of work at the spot. One to watch is late signee and true freshman Matt Pryor. The 6-7, 350 pounder is listed as number 3 right tackle. 3 true freshman make the depth chart on the offensive line for TCU. Defensive lines: For LSU Jermaurio Rasco was protected from contact in fall drills but they say he is ready to go. However look for freshman Tashan Bower to get plenty of work. On the opposite side along with Hunter, Jordan Allen will split playing time. For TCU with Devonte Fields suspended Matt Anderson gets the nod over Mike Tuaua who came in late to TCU but should get plenty of PT. Special teams; LSU placekicker Delahoussaye will give way to James Hairston a junior on kick offs. TCU may use true freshman Ranthony Texada on some punt returns though Brandon Carter should get most of the work. Other factors: Cam Cameron: The Tigers are built to play a power running game and normally run a 21 formation, very much counter to what the new offensive coordinator prefers and most pro offenses run. Watch for TCU to key on the big fullback early and if Cameron brings in much misdirection and 10 or 11 formations in response. Trick Plays: Les Miles loves to run trick plays, Cameron does not. TCU seems to fall for trick plays.....so?