All LSU fans want for Christmas is a Texas Bowl victory. To earn a victory in Houston, the Tigers will have to beat an explosive Texas Tech team on Dec. 29.
The Red Raiders finished the season 7-5 and scored at least 30 points in eight of their 12 games this season. Kliff Kingsbury’s squad will surely try to light up the scoreboard against the Tigers. However, LSU tailback Leonard Fournette could provide an enormous mismatch for the Red Raiders.
Here are three things LSU needs to do to take care of Texas Tech and win the Texas Bowl:
Run Leonard run
The best way to contain Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense is to keep it off the field. Luckily, LSU has a tremendous tailback in Fournette on its side. Fournette led the nation with an average of 158.3 rushing yards per game and finished tied for sixth in the country with 18 touchdowns during the regular season.
The Tigers will need to get Fournette the ball early and often against an extremely generous defense. The Red Raiders ranked 126th in the nation (out of 128 teams) with an average of 271.8 rushing yards allowed per game. Texas Tech allowed 42 rushing touchdowns this season, which was the second-highest total in the nation.
The formula is simple: LSU will need to feed Fournette, who will surely play with a chip on his shoulder after losing out on the Heisman Trophy and the Doak Walker Award because of a late-season slump. Fournette should end his season on a high note against one of the worst defenses in the country.
Secondary must step up
Fournette may run through the Red Raiders all night long, but Texas Tech’s offense can make up lost ground rapidly. Tech finished second in the country with 46.6 points per game and second in passing offense with an average of 389.7 passing yards per game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished with 4,283 yards and 32 touchdowns on the season as a sophomore.
LSU’s secondary has been susceptible to numerous coverage gaffes and the school known as “DBU” has been rather pedestrian in 2015. The Tigers finished 49th in the nation with an average of 211 passing yards allowed per game and surrendered 18 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.
The last thing LSU needs is to fall into an early hole and get into a shootout. LSU fell into sizable holes in each of its three losses this season and much of that was due to sloppy secondary play. The Tigers will need to be sound in the secondary against Texas Tech’s high-octane offense.
Get the offense in sync
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron could be coaching for his job during the bowl game. Many LSU fans and program insiders want to see LSU shift to more of a diverse offense that uses trendy spread principles.
LSU likely won’t shift to a spread offense in the Texas Bowl, but Cameron could certainly leave a good impression if he can implement a few wrinkles throughout the game and finish the season on a strong note.
Getting Brandon Harris going would be a major plus for Cameron and the offense. Harris finished the regular season with 1,904 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions during a mercurial sophomore season.
LSU will win the game by exposing Texas Tech’s porous run defense, but the Red Raiders aren’t much better against the pass either. Texas Tech ranked 115th in the country with an average of 268.3 passing yards allowed.
In other words, there won’t be any excuses for another sluggish offensive performance during the Texas Bowl.