L. Tech-LSU

Baton Rouge, LA – Despite losing its leading rusher for the season and blowing an opportunity to challenge for a spot in the SEC title game, LSU is surprisingly optimistic about the final weeks of the regular season.

A good health update on quarterback Jordan Jefferson may play a part in that outlook. The domination of its next opponent could be another reason.

Bet College Football Week 11

Jefferson and the No. 9 Tigers try to bounce back after a tough loss when they host Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made LSU -24.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 57% of bets for this game have been placed on LSU -24.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

LSU (7-2) was eliminated from a potential spot in the conference championship game with a 25-14 loss to No. 3 Alabama on Saturday. Of even greater concern, though, was losing Jefferson and leading rusher Charles Scott to injuries.

Jefferson, who took a helmet to the chest in the first half, left for good after injuring his ankle in the third quarter. Backup Jarrett Lee, who relieved Jefferson, was expected to practice with the first team, but coach Les Miles was optimistic Jefferson would be practicing later in the week and could start Saturday.

"It appears Jordan is going to be fine," Miles said Monday. "I expect him to be with us."

Jefferson has passed for 1,535 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, completing 63.3 percent of his passes. He'll need to be even more effective for LSU, which is 10th in the conference in scoring (25.1) and last in yards per game (317.1), after the team learned Scott will miss the remainder of the regular season with a fractured collarbone.

Scott had rushed for 542 yards and four touchdowns this season, including 83 yards on 13 carries before leaving Saturday's game.

Besides looking to overcome injuries, LSU also hopes to avoid a further collapse after its hopes of a division title were dashed with last weekend's loss. Last year, the Tigers dropped two of their final three regular-season games following a close loss to Alabama.

"They understand they can be great team," Miles said. "They are in position to put themselves in a very substantial bowl. ... It's hard to believe these guys won't look forward to preparing for the next game."

With questions remaining on who will step up offensively for the Tigers, the pressure will be especially high on the defense, which entered last weekend ranked third in the SEC in scoring defense (12.1) and fourth in yards allowed (293.0). The Crimson Tide finished with 452 yards, including 176 rushing.

After facing Louisiana Tech (3-6), the Tigers return to conference play with games against Mississippi and Arkansas - teams a combined 4-7 in the SEC. While Miles admitted that finishing second left a "nasty pit" in his stomach, he was expecting the team to embrace the chance to finish strong.

"The opportunity to be a great football team ... is certainly in front of us," Miles said. "I'm not going to belabor and play 'what ifs' and spend too much time there."

The Tigers will also try to avoid overlooking Louisiana Tech, which has lost its last three games, but all in tight fashion. After two straight road losses by a combined three points, the Bulldogs stayed competitive in a 45-35 loss to then-No. 5 and unbeaten Boise State on Nov. 6.

The Broncos led 27-7 at the half, but Louisiana Tech pulled within 30-28 early in the fourth quarter on Ross Jenkins' 5-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Morris. Boise State, however, scored touchdowns on its next two drives.

"It looked like the game was going to get away from us, but I was really proud at how well we did in the second half," coach Derek Dooley said. "We didn't make the plays at the end of the game we needed to win, but if we keep fighting the way we've been fighting, we'll play out of it eventually."

Louisiana Tech was outgained 507-250 and gave up 354 yards passing. The Bulldogs have allowed 90 points and 1,314 yards of offense during their three-game skid.

LSU had little trouble against Louisiana Tech when the two met in 2007 as the Tigers racked up 595 yards of offense in a 58-10 victory, which propelled them to the SEC title game. LSU, which has won 20 straight non-conference games, has won 17 of 18 all-time meetings in a series that spans more than a century.

Bet College Football Week 11

Posted: 11/10/09 10:39PM ET

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