After suffering a disappointing loss in Oxford, the 13th-ranked LSU Tigers attempt to lick their wounds during Homecoming today against the Furman Paladins.
Furman has experienced an up and down campaign in the FCS, going 3-4 overall. After suffering back-to-back losses to start the month of October, the Paladins got back on track last Saturday with a 27-10 home triumph over Appalachian State.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs, and just looking at the numbers, it shows the Paladins are in trouble.
Furman has failed to impress offensively, scoring 22 points per game while gaining 304 yards per contest.
A lack of identity under center is largely to blame for the Paladins' struggles. The revolving door of signal callers include Reese Hannon, Duncan Fletcher and Dillon Woodruff, with all three combining to complete just 59 percent of their passes for 1,074 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Paladins at least can rely on a solid rushing attack led by Hank McCloud, who has racked up 604 yards and four touchdowns on 115 carries.
Receiver Gary Robinson has been able to produce no matter who is delivering him the ball, catching 24 passes for 351 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Furman has held most of its opponents in check by allowing 24 points per game, although it obviously hasn't faced an adversary as talented as LSU this year.
Carl Rider is one of the best linebackers in the FCS; tallying 73 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
LSU is in the midst of one of the best offensive campaigns in school history, putting up 39 points per game and 456 yards per contest.
Zach Mettenberger is completing better than 65 percent of his passes for 2,164 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he had his worst game of the year against Ole Miss. He tossed three interceptions.
Jeremy Hill is the SEC's third-leading rusher with 779 yards, and his 10 touchdowns are tied for the league lead. Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard remain in the mix at tailback, especially near the goal line.
The Tigers also boast two of the conference's top four receivers. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. have both made their share of big plays. Landry has 53 receptions for 795 yards and 8 TDs, while Beckham Jr. has caught 42 passes for 805 yards and 6 scores.
Although LSU's defense has been less than stellar this season, it is still just allowing less than 23 points per game.
Lamin Barrow has a team-high 57 tackles. The linebacker has also impressed with 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Corner Jalen Mills has two of the team's five interceptions and also leads the Bayou Bengals in sacks with 3.
This tune-up for the Tigers comes at exactly the right time, as they are surely anxious to erase the memory of the Ole Miss loss. Expect this one to end ugly for the Paladins.