Tough November aside, LSU can’t take Western Kentucky lightly
No. 5 LSU plays host to Western Kentucky of Conference USA on Saturday night in Death Valley.
A gimme, right?
Sorry to steal the spotlight, Lee Corso, but not so fast.
Western Kentucky has the makings of a more formidable opponent than some of the SEC teams LSU has faced in the first half of its 2015 schedule.
Jeff Brohm’s Hilltoppers boast the nation’s sixth-ranked scoring offense, which averages 44.0 points per game, and one that ranks ninth in total offense at more than 535 yards per game.
Oh, but Western Kentucky’s conference is weak. Perhaps, but this offense was enough to get past a stingy Vanderbilt defense in its season opener, 14-12.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty pulls the strings for the Western Kentucky offense, and he’s been effective in this system for the last two years.
Last season, he led the FBS with 4,830 passing yards and 49 touchdowns. Not surprisingly, he’s on track to surpass those numbers, having thrown for 2,709 yards and 24 touchdowns while also completing an FBS-best 74.1 percent of his passes.
One person who isn’t overlooking Doughty or the Hilltoppers offense is LSU coach Les Miles, who indicated their body of work is more symbolic of an SEC foe than one from Conference USA.
“This is a very good football team. All you have to do is watch film. They’re good in offense, defense and special teams. I voted for them to be in the Top 25, if anybody asks,” Miles said this week.
“They’re a really quality football team, talented players on both sides of the ball, very — offensively very explosive … I mean and to think that they’ve played some very talented teams … So their quarterback, Brandon Doughty, every bit an SEC quarterback, big, talented, strong, smart quarterback. Big arm … Again, enough to — you watch the film … he’ll get your attention.”
Believe it or not, Western Kentucky is very much a trap game for the Tigers, particularly as the schedule toughens up down the final month of the season.
After the open date, LSU is slated to make a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to face a surging Alabama team before hosting Arkansas. Then, LSU must again take to the road and head to Ole Miss before wrapping up the regular season with Texas A&M.
It’s not inconceivable that LSU could focus its attention to that rigid November schedule instead of the high-octane offense that’s on its way to town right now.
LSU has defeated three ranked opponents, including Mississippi State and Auburn to open the season and, most recently, Florida. In all three of those games, the LSU defense has been up to the task.
However, it’s also fair to say the Mississippi State and Auburn offenses were not as dynamic as anticipated before the season, and Florida’s backup quarterback was also able to lead the offense on three scoring drives.
On paper, however, Western Kentucky appears to be the most dangerous offense that LSU has faced all year. At 6-1, the Hilltoppers are no fluke.
LSU would be wise to realize that, too, because there’s no room for error with this kind of November on the horizon.