LSU's Fournette iffy to take field vs. Mizzou
Missouri boasts the nation’s second-leading passer in Drew Lock, but can the sophomore will his squad to victory in Baton Rouge?
Barry Odom’s program takes on LSU tonight, with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff down South. Despite an ultra-tumultuous week, the host Tigers enter the contest as online sports book BetDSI's 11.5-point favorite. The over/under is 54.
Following last Saturday’s excruciating defeat to Auburn, LSU finally jettisoned Les Miles. He gives way to interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who’s tasked with sparking a team that began 2016 ranked No. 5 in the polls. Yet the Louisiana native may not have one of the most dynamic players in the nation at his disposal. Tailback Leonard Fournette’s bothersome ankle figures to render him a game-time decision.
Even if the Heisman Trophy candidate suits up, though, he may struggle to reach top-speed against Mizzou’s stout front seven. Several weeks ago, DeMontie Cross’ unit held Georgia sensation Nick Chubb to 63 yards on the ground. Ever since a tough loss to West Virginia on Sept. 3, in fact, MU’s run defense has looked markedly better.
Then there’s the matter of the visiting Tigers’ rising star under center. Lock’s already registered 1,508 yards through the air, which signifies all kinds of bad news for Dave Aranda’s struggling secondary. Still, Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel must be mindful to keep diversifying things by giving a steady diet of carries to both Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter.
On paper, LSU clearly retains the edge in terms of sheer talent. But MU’s adapting to Heupel’s up-tempo style far quicker than the bulk of SEC observers had anticipates. We don’t necessarily like Odom’s troops to triumph in their inaugural trip to Death Valley, but the pieces are definitely in place to make for a competitive affair well into the fourth quarter.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: MISSOURI/LSU UNDER 54 POINTS