Tulane at LSU Preview
Baton Rouge, LA - Its conference fate could be determined when it returns to SEC play next week, but LSU has other work to do first.
The ninth-ranked Tigers go for their 18th straight victory over Tulane on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, where the intrastate rivals will meet for the 98th time.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sports Interaction have made LSU –35.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on LSU –35.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
With a win over No. 2 Alabama next Saturday in Tuscaloosa, LSU (6-1) will overtake the Crimson Tide atop the SEC Western Division standings.
The Tigers, though, are focused on the Green Wave, not on next week's game or a possible matchup with top-ranked Florida in the conference championship.
"Our football team recognizes that if they do the things that they are capable of, we'll get to a position where we'll play for everything that we want,'' LSU coach Les Miles said.
After suffering a 13-3 loss to the Gators on Oct. 10, the Tigers returned from their bye last Saturday and overwhelmed visiting Auburn 31-10.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed 21 of 31 passes for a career-high 242 yards with two touchdowns, helping the Tigers pile up a season-best 376 yards of total offense. It was a vast improvement from the Florida loss, in which Jefferson was sacked five times and threw for only 96 yards with an interception.
"We always knew we could do this as an offense,'' said Jefferson, who also rushed for a 15-yard score versus Auburn. "We picked the right time tonight to do it. It was important for me to do this as well. During the bye week we really worked hard on all the things that we had mistakes on."
Junior wideout Terrance Toliver was the biggest beneficiary of Jefferson's breakout effort, hauling in a career-high nine passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Toliver has two catches for 53 yards in two career games against Tulane.
Freshman Russell Shepard makes his first appearance versus the Green Wave after carrying six times for 71 yards in last week's win. His 69-yard TD run in the third quarter was his first career score.
The Tigers defense will have to find a way to contain Tulane senior running back Andre Anderson, who is 30th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 92.3 rushing yards per game. Anderson ran for 92 yards and a touchdown and matched a career high with six receptions in Tulane's 43-6 loss to Southern Mississippi last Saturday - the Green Wave's third straight defeat.
"It's definitely just devastating - things don't go your way, field goals, fumbles. Everything. It's definitely frustrating," Anderson said. "This is one of the hardest losses that I've ever had."
Anderson missed a 35-10 loss at then-No. 15 LSU last Nov. 1 due to a fractured and dislocated right shoulder.
After forcing two turnovers and recording a season-high four sacks last Saturday, the Tigers get their first look at redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Griffin. Griffin took Joe Kemp's starting job last week after Tulane (2-5) averaged 16.8 points in its first six games.
"Their defense is playing really well," Green Wave coach Bob Toledo said of the Tigers, who are 12th in the nation in scoring defense at 13.9 points. "They're playing hard - they don't give up yards - they don't give up points."
Griffin looks to improve on his effort from Saturday, when he went 21 of 33 for 158 yards and one interception. He was also sacked six times.
LSU senior cornerback Chris Hawkins picked off a pass last week, giving - the Tigers at least one interception for the ninth straight game.
Green Wave senior Jeremy Williams is 18th in the FBS with 94.6 receiving yards per game. He is averaging 130.3 all-purpose yards.
Tulane has lost 37 straight to ranked opponents since a 31-28 victory over then-No. 12 LSU in 1982.
The Tigers lead the all-time series 66-24-7.
Posted: 10/29/09 6:30PM ET