A Look At LSU’s Non-Conference Schedule
By now, most Tigers fans are filled with anticipation as a trip to Cowboys Stadium looms to open the season against TCU on August 31. That means the 2013 season is barely more than two months away. While there’s plenty to talk about regarding LSU’s opening opponent, what about the rest of the non-conference schedule? Let’s take a brief look at all four non-conference games for the Bayou Bengals this coming season.
LSU vs. TCU: The Cowboys Classic will feature two similar teams attempting to bounce back from disappointing seasons. Both teams are known for their defense and both have talented senior quarterbacks returning, but each signal-caller is battling his own demons. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested for a DUI early last season and left the program to seek treatment. Zach Mettenberger's struggles aren’t quite as serious, but he needs to improve on his consistency and leadership.
As a result of TCU having to unexpectedly replace Pachall, the Horned Frogs limped to a 7-6 record and finished an embarrassing 4-5 in the Big 12. Prior to last season, head coach Gary Patterson led his team to four consecutive seasons of at least 11 victories. Once again, LSU’s season wasn’t quite as disappointing as the Tigers finished with 10 wins. However, they failed to win their division, conference, and bowl game. At LSU, those accomplishments are expected every year.
UAB at LSU: The Tigers follow their trip to Arlington with a home game against second-year head coach Garrick McGee and the Blazers of UAB. Freshman quarterback Austin Brown threw for 2,673 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. His efforts earned him a place on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. LSU’s defense will look to exploit the Blazers' offensive line, which gave up the most sacks in Conference USA last year. This will shake up the young quarterback playing his first game at Tiger Stadium in front of more than 92,000 fans.
Look for the Tigers’ offense to pound the ball against the smaller front seven of UAB. Mettenberger should have a field day throwing the ball against a young secondary that only forced six interceptions in 2012. Unfortunately for the Blazers, this will probably be a game where LSU’s second- and third-teamers see plenty of action.
Kent State at LSU: The Golden Flashes produced a great record in 2012 and won the MAC East Division title. Their 11-3 record was too good as former coach Darrell Hazell left for greener pastures at Purdue. Paul Haynes steps in to keep the momentum going, and after two winnable home games to start the year, will lead Kent State to Baton Rouge for the third game of the season. Not only are the Golden Flashes replacing Hazell, they’re also replacing do-everything quarterback Spencer Keith.
Kent State may be more talented than UAB, but expect the results to be the same. This will be LSU’s third consecutive non-conference game to open the season. The talent and depth of the Tigers will be too much for the Golden Flashes. It’s possible Kent State can keep the game close for one quarter, maybe even the first half, but LSU will take over after that.
Furman at LSU: The Tigers will welcome Furman to Baton Rouge on Oct. 26 for homecoming. This game follows LSU’s contest with Ole Miss and precedes the show-down with Alabama. It will be up to Les Miles and his staff to keep the Tigers focused on the Paladins. The Tigers haven’t lost a regular season non-conference game since the start of the 2002 season. That’s a stretch of 41 games, an FBS record. Les Miles is 31-0 is such games. Don’t expect that to change in this contest.