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Expect Tigers To Win Big Against UAB, Nelson

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Jarvis Landry and the Tigers beat a ranked TCU team in the opener and will be big favorites against C-USA bottom-dweller UAB (0-1). Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
Jarvis Landry and the Tigers beat a ranked TCU team in the opener and will be big favorites against C-USA bottom-dweller UAB (0-1). Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

LSU looked solid against a feisty TCU squad last weekend in Arlington. That surprised some and confirmed what others may have felt prior to the beginning of the season. The confirmation was that LSU was flying under the radar and was happy to have Alabama and Texas A&M soaking up all the preseason hype.

The Tigers look to improve to 2-0 against a UAB team that just lost a heartbreaker to in-state rival Troy on Saturday. The Blazers lost by just three points in overtime after botching their field goal attempt on their first possession of the extra period. Now UAB must travel to Baton Rouge for their second consecutive road game to start the season and there will be a lot more fans at Tiger Stadium than the 21,398 that filled Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Ala.

Despite their loss, UAB’s Jamarcus Nelson set a new school record with 367 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns. The speedy receiver caught two touchdown passes and returned a kickoff 97 yards for another score. UAB finished with 453 yards of total offense, but they surrendered nearly 500 yards to the Trojans.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis has to be excited to have his Tigers back on the field after a dynamic performance against TCU’s offense. Expect LSU’s defense to focus heavily on Nelson with double coverage and a lot of harassment around the line of scrimmage. This will force someone else to step-up for the Blazers in a hostile environment.

The Blazers' offense averaged just 3.7 yards per rush and likely will regress against LSU's defense. Also, UAB was penalized 13 times for 102 yards and converted just two of 14 third downs.

Meanwhile, LSU racked up 448 yards of offense and accumulated 26 first downs against a team known for its defense. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger looked comfortable and in-charge during his first game under new coordinator Cam Cameron. Although he completed just half of his passes, he didn’t throw any interceptions and converted numerous third-and-long opportunities.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the opening game was the play of running back Terrence Magee. The junior had just one carry all of last season. He made the most of his opportunity, thanks in large part to the suspension of starter Jeremy Hill, with 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Most will be expecting a blowout against the Blazers, especially since LSU has now moved into the Top 10. Will Les Miles and his staff be able to keep the Tigers grounded and focused on the task at hand? The only chance UAB will have to stay close throughout this contest will be help from LSU: penalties, turnovers, and a lack of attention to detail. The Tigers’ greatest challenge Saturday night will be maintaining their intensity during all four quarters.