Steve's LSU-Idaho preview
Aiming to become the first team in NCAA history to win 40 straight non-conference regular season games, the LSU Tigers host the not-so-mighty Idaho Vandals.
The Bayou Bengals, who have won a school-record 19 straight home games, wrap up a three-game home-stand Saturday before traveling to Auburn for their SEC opener next week. Head coach Les Miles has said that he likes the direction his team is heading, but noted there is still work to be done.
Meanwhile, Idaho enters this matchup still in search of its first win of the season. The Vandals fell at home to Eastern Washington in their season-opener, then dropped a 21-13 decision at Bowling Green last weekend.
In the only previous meeting between these two teams, LSU posted a 53-20 win over Idaho in 1998.
The Vandals are averaging just eight points a game currently, which ranks 119th out of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Despite the team's struggles to generate points, one positive did emerge from last week's loss, as transfer Dominique Blackman shined in his highly-anticipated debut at quarterback. He had one of the best first starts in school history, completing 30-of-37 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown. However, Blackmon also took four sacks and tossed an interception.
On the defensive side of the ball, Idaho did manage to hold Bowling Green to just seven first-half points on the road. The Vandals D performed well against the run, holding the Falcons to 90 rushing yards on 27 attempts.
For LSU, Coach Miles said that he liked the balance his offense was able to strike between the run game and the passing game against Washington, although there were too many dropped passes. The Tigers ran for 242 yards and four scores on the ground, while Zach Mettenberger completed 12-of-18 passes for 195 yards with a touchdown and was not sacked.
The Tigers have scored 40 or more points in 12 of their last 16 contests, as the offense has continued to operate in high gear through the first two games of the 2012 campaign. The Tigers have posted 41 points in each of their first two tilts, thanks largely to the second and third ranked rushers in the SEC in Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard.
LSU's defense notched four sacks last week and applied constant pressure on Washington quarterback Keith Price, which is precisely the attacking style of defense Miles wants his team to play. The Tigers enter the weekend atop the SEC in total defense and rushing defense, while ranking second in scoring defense.
If LSU can put up 41 points against the third best team in the Pac-12, how many points might they put up against Idaho? I expect the Vandals to get violated in this one.
PREDICTION: LSU 52, Idaho 3