Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU running back Derrius Guice should be able to run for a lot of yards versus Arkansas on Saturday.

LSU looks poised to cover its huge spread Saturday versus Arkansas

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

The spread offense

LSU is favored to defeat Arkansas by 16 1/2 points on Saturday, the Tigers’ highest spread figure against an SEC opponent this season and its largest predicted victory since earlier this season versus Troy. Obviously, LSU did not cover in that game.

But this is a different LSU team than the one that couldn’t cover against Troy, or Syracuse for that matter. More confident in Matt Canada’s offensive scheme and more wizened on defense, LSU looks poised to compete with the 17 points Vegas is giving it.

Defensively, Arkansas is one of the worst teams in the country at defending the run. Opponents are averaging 190 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game on the ground against the Razorbacks this season. Moreover, Arkansas has trouble protecting the quarterback, allowing more sacks (28) than any other SEC team.

Now think about LSU’s strengths. The Tigers are averaging more than 200 rushing yards per game and have 30 sacks, tied for the sixth-most of any team in America. It’s rare that a team’s two best phases match up perfectly with its opponent’s two most glaring weaknesses. But that’s where LSU is Saturday.

So don’t be shocked if the Tigers pull off a cover. It would totally make sense.

In recruiting news

Primary LSU target and Top 100 wide receiver prospect Ja’Marr Chase de-committed from Florida on Twitter Wednesday night.

Chase committed to Florida over LSU and TCU over the summer. The New Orleans product ranks as a 4-star prospect and the No. 4 best player in Louisiana according to the 247 Sports composite. In addition to Florida and LSU, Chase is thought to still be interested in TCU and in Michigan.

No timetable has been given for when Chase is expected to commit elsewhere.

Two LSU basketball commits sign

Baton Rouge native and 5-star point guard Ja’Vonte Smart signed with LSU Wednesday. So did 4-star forward Darius Days. Five-star power forward Naz Reid is expected to join the class next week, rounding out a recruiting class 247Sports ranks as the best in the SEC and the third best in the nation overall.

By comparison, LSU’s recruiting class ranked 10th in the nation and third in the SEC when it brought in Ben Simmons, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, and Antonio Blakeney, a fellow 5-star guard.

Will Wade is building something here at LSU. It might not be evident Year 1. It certainly won’t be evident Friday when the Tigers open the season against Alcorn State. But give it time. LSU is bringing some big names onto the basketball court.

Watch me, watch me

Every Wednesday, fellow SEC Country LSU reporter Alex Hickey and I film “Sound Off,” a weekly video series where the two of us break down the three biggest stories of the week. This week, we talked about how close LSU is to bridging the talent gap versus Alabama, what the Tigers are going to do at quarterback for the rest of the season and the biggest challenges of facing Arkansas.

You can watch the video below. And be sure to check back to SEC Country every Wednesday for more episodes of Sound Off.

Two Tigers gain Pro Football Focus notice

The folks at Pro Football Focus College released their weekly All-SEC teams for last Saturday on Wednesday and two LSU Tigers cracked the list.

Right tackle Toby Weathersby and edge rusher Arden Key graded out at the top of their respective positions. Weathersby earned credit as the second best tackle and third best offensive lineman of the week, while Key graded as the conference’s second best edge defender. Weathersby deserves special credit for this performance, posting such a high grade against Alabama’s vaunted defense.

As for Key, this is par for the course for him. Key had graded out as one of LSU’s top three players each of his last three games. There’s a reason this kid is going to be playing on Sundays next year.

Elsewhere in the Twitterverse 

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette poked fun at his recent one-game suspension with a tweet following Jacksonville Jaguars practice Wednesday.

Fournette was reportedly suspended for the game last Sunday for missing a team photo and showing up late to meetings. But there’ no question Fournette was on time to practice Wednesday. He has the photos to back it up.

And just enough shade to get away with it.

Thursday in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Nov. 9 is “National Louisiana Day.” Looks like we made it, y’all!

Never mind the fact that the Louisiana Purchase was made on April 30, 1803. Or that Louisiana became a state exactly nine years later on April 30, 1812. April 30 is not National Louisiana Day. April 30 is National Bugs Bunny Day. And National Honest Day. And my favorite: National Oatmeal Cookie Day.

None of that matters. Even though it makes much more sense. Because Nov. 9 is the day we get to celebrate Louisiana. So let’s do it. Make today as festive as Mardi Gras. Or just wait until Mardi Gras. That’s fine too.

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