LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (9-3) vs. LSU TIGERS (7-4)
Game Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Camping World Stadium: Orlando, Fla.
Announcers: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst), and Tom Luginbill (reporter)
Favorite: LSU by 3
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Louisville Bowl History:
LSU Depth Chart:
Louisville's defense is coming off of one of the worst performances any Card defense has put together in recent memory. Kentucky was able to average over 8 yards per play at PJCS on senior day and they were able to put up 352 passing yards in the rivalry game. Louisville has been up and down on defense in some ways this season. They played very well against Florida State and against some lesser opponents, but they have had extremely poor performances against Kentucky and Clemson in losses.
LSU has been (rightfully) labeled as a team with a bad offense but things have shifted a bit in Baton Rouge. Les Miles and Cam Cameron were let go earlier this season and Ed Orgeron looked to Steve Ensminger to run his offense. Ensminger is a 58 year old tight ends coach, but he immediately looked to "open things up" with the offense. LSU has always had the talent there to be good on that side of the ball but they held things back for some reason. The Tigers went on to score at least 38 points in their five wins under Orgeron and they did it with a strong running game as well as deep passes and misdirection plays. They started to take advantage of the athletes and the speed they have at their skill positions and the offense played much better.
The biggest struggle for the Tigers has been at the quarterback position. LSU hasn't had a quarterback that you would trust to "win" you a game in a few years and right now they are depending on Danny Etling to run their offense. Etling ended up at LSU after losing his starting job at Purdue. Etling isn't a guy that you want to hand the keys to if you're trying to get to your destination quickly, but he's definitely a guy that will get you there safely. He protects the football fairly well and he tends to put the ball in a place where his guy is going to get it or no one else will. However, the ball is not always going to be where his guy can get it, either.
Ensminger has stated that his goal when he took over was to keep the offense in manageable third downs. I think he's done a great job with that goal by mixing up his run game. They don't just run the same 4 or 5 runs where a team can adjust. They throw the kitchen sink at you and put Etling in win situations on third down if they get there. That's where Etling can use his arm strength and timing to hit his receivers on short hitches, slants and outs and pick up the first. It's also where he can rely on play-action to get favorable matchups outside with his big receivers. Etling throws a really nice deep ball and understands touch well. That's where he could really excel as UofL gave up deep balls multiple times in their last outing.
Louisville really needs to put pressure on Etling. He's a calm pocket passer when he feels comfortable but he gets very jumpy when he gets a little shook. The first game I watched of him was against Bama and I left that game thinking that UofL had a great matchup against a bad quarterback. But, when I watched the rest of his season, I felt that Etling was a guy that was much more than serviceable and he seemed like a guy that just didn't handle the best defense in the country well. He will stand tall and he will face pressure, but he loses his accuracy and he's liable to throw into a window without knowing if it's clear or not. That's where Louisville can gain the advantage. Get him rushed and uncomfortable and take advantage of his mistakes.
The running back position for LSU is one of the most overlooked positions in college football in my opinion. In the age where coaches recruit with the #WRU and #DBU titles, LSU seems to get overlooked as #RBU. Leonard Fournette will be one of the first running backs selected in the draft this spring and he will join 7 other running backs that ended up on an NFL roster after since 2010. If there is one thing you can count on with the Tigers it's that they will have two NFL caliber running backs on their roster at all times. Fournette won't play on Saturday so the Tigers will have to rely on that second running back in Derrius Guice.
Guice ended up with more carries than Fournette this season and he used those carries to average 7.9 yards per carry. To put that in context, that's a little more than a yard less per carry than Lamar Jackson if you take out sack yardage. Guice is fast, he is quick, and he is violent when he runs. LSU loves to run stretch runs that allow Guice to find a hole and burst through it. He does that extremely well and he doesn't even need a big hole to be able to squeeze through. I think Guice is one of the most talented backs in the country and I would say he's the best back Louisville will have faced after Dalvin Cook.
The Tigers mix up their running game extremely well. Most teams have a preffered side to run the ball and they're typically an inside or outside team. The Tigers have an all-american center and two all-sec guards. They don't have to worry about which side they want to go because they can block it however they want. Their linemen are NFL level guys that can really move and they are massive. Guice is a young player but I find myself being impressed by his ability to be patient. He's not great at it yet, but he has his moments where he lets his blocks develop and plays off of his best help.
The Cards will have to bring bodies to Guice to stop the run. He's not a guy that's easy to stop in space with one player. He can run past you, around you, or through you and Louisville is not a great tackling team in the open field. This can't be a game where JHC or Chucky Williams are left on their own with Guice coming at them at full speed. Stacy Thomas and Keith Kelsey have to be able to get outside and collapse on him. Cornerbacks also have to get off blocks to force Guice inside where there's more help. Louisville looked flat out slow against UK and that can't happen if they want to stop the Tigers' run game.
LSU's has had a recent run of having high caliber wide receivers at their disposal but that hasn't shown much over the last few years. Travon Dural and Malachi Dupree have been the starting duo for the Tigers for three years and they have not been able to put up the numbers fans are accustomed to. Most of this can be attributed to poor quarterback play as well as a vanilla offense. Now that things have opened up a bit, Dupree and Dural have played a little bit better. Dural is a guy that's going to get you the sure first down and maybe a bit more while Dupree is more likely to push his routes down the field. Both have great size and both are veteran guys that know how to run precise routes and how to create separation.
The third and fourth receiver spots are where I think Louisville can see issues. D.J. Chark might be the fastest receiver Louisville has seen this year and he makes a good amount of big plays for the Tigers. Chark is 6-3 but LSU uses him like a smaller slot-type player at times. He is just as likely to run a deep post route as he is to run a fly sweep or end around. If Ensminger decides to play him in the slot, he could be a big matchup problem. Dee Anderson is a guy that hasn't done a whole lot this year for the Tigers but I could see this being a game where he steps up. Anderson is long and lanky and he doesn't have a problem playing across the middle of the field. LSU has a strong play-action game and they could use a guy like Anderson to run deep crosses or in routes behind the linebackers. He's a guy that the see as a future focus point in their offense and they could look to get him more snaps in the bowl game.
Louisville has to keep the cover on the defense. What I mean by that is that the safeties and corners cannot let LSU's big receivers get behind them. Etling has shown the ability to deliver the ball down the field in stride and that can lead to some easy touchdowns. Louisville has given up a lot of touchdown passes this season and in the games that they've lost, they've allowed guys to get behind them where they couldn't at least make a play on the ball. Todd Grantham likes to play aggressive out wide and I don't think that's a bad idea. But, LSU has tons of size and experience and these guys know how to beat coverage. With the running game they have, it might be smart to give up the short passes with softer coverage. Louisville will likely have to bring their safeties up and that will leave the corners on an island. A little cushion might not be a bad idea.
LSU has one of the best offensive lines in the entire country. Led by all-american Ethan Pocic, the group as a whole has spent the year opening huge holes for their running backs as well as doing a great job of giving Etling time. Josh Boutte and Will Clapp are both all-conference level players and the three of them make up a great interior line. Pocic has the ability to pull on run plays, which isn't too common at this level and I think it gives their running game a lot of versatility. Playing downhill and shooting gaps is a good way to stop a run game, but being able to have your guard block down and your center pull can really help stop that trend. It's also just nice to have a 6-7 guy that is your best blocker out there leading the way for your running back. These guys also communicate well and do a really good job with blitzers and stunts. That keeps Etling's vision clear and he can make throws with space to step up.
The tackle spots for LSU aren't a weakness, but they are a step down from the interior. Maea Teuhema has started at right tackle for most of the season but he is listed with Toby Weatherby as "or" on the depth chart. I think that we will see Teuhema out there and he will have to handle the speed that Grantham likes to bring off that edge. Even without James Hearns, Louisville will blitz in positive scenarios and when they do they like to bring second level guys on that side. K.J. Malone mans the left side and I was impressed by his athleticism. The Tigers will run some screens and Malone is nimble enough to get out in front of them and take on defensive backs. He does well in pass protection also.
Louisville will probably have some trouble confusing Pocic and Etling who are veteran players that have faced Alabama and Florida's pressure schemes already this year. What they will have to do is find ways to get pressure with timing. The Cards have a tendency to show their blitzes and make it pretty obvious where they're coming from. If they're going to have success against this line they absolutely have to blitz from their home. As in, if Stacy Thomas is supposed to hit the gap between the center and left guard, he needs to be in his natural spot over the guard and a few yards back. He can't start leaning into the gap he's supposed to hit. It'll get noticed and they'll pick up his blitz. I only used Thomas as an example, but those are the types of things you can get away with when you play Boston College. LSU will kill you when you make that kind of mistake.
Dave Aranda came to LSU this year with a solid reputation but not as a "superstar" coordinator. That was partially due to the fact that he is a pretty young guy but also because he had been at Wisconsin for the past three years where it's easy to be good while being under the radar. The Badgers aren't stocked with a bunch of NFL talent and the Big Ten is so top heavy. Now that he's at LSU, he's been able to show just how good his system is and how hard he gets his players to play for him. Wisconsin was known for toughness and speed on defense but that's almost cliche up there. Now he has a bunch of NFL caliber guys playing his style of ball and he's been rewarded with a huge contract for it.
Any coach in the country will tell you that the defensive line sets the tone for the entire defense. LSU is no different. Their front is experienced and talented and they picked up Aranda's scheme quickly this year. Davon Godchaux is the best of the bunch at defensive end. Godchaux does a great job of getting penetration and disrupting plays. Lewis Neal does the same on the opposite side and both are real play makers for this defense. It stands out that both guys are so high on the total tackles list. They're not just guys that can take up blockers and do the grunt work. They both can make plays and they've made their fair share behind the line of scrimmage.
Greg Gilmore is the nose tackle in the Tigers' 3-4 scheme and we will likely see a little bit of Ed Alexander when Gilmore is out of the game. Gilmore is the smaller of the two, but he is built well and can eat up blockers in the middle. I think that how Gilmore plays will really play a big role in the outcome of the game. If he can force double teams it will free up LSU's speedy linebackers to make plays in the run game. Alexander is a massive player at 333 pounds but I actually think Tobijah Hughley has handled larger guys pretty well this year so I'm not sure if Aranda will rotate guys as much.
Louisville will likely see a very similar scheme to what they saw in the Houston game. Aranda has been fairly vanilla this year but he has stated that LSU fans will see what he intends his 2017 scheme to look like in the bowl game. Wisconsin was known for inventive blitzes and wide pass rushes around the edge. They also were a little smaller up front and they used that to that advantage with constant pressure. That constant pressure was a massive issue against Houston and the line was confused all night. If they can manage to pick up where the pressure is coming from, they then have to make sure that they don't disregard the front three in their adjustments. These guys can get to Lamar Jackson quickly and they can bring him down.
Just like Louisville, LSU has outside linebackers that will slide down to the line in certain situations. The most important player in that role is Arden Key. Key is tied for 6th place in the country in sacks per game. He is a nightmare around the edge and he could play a key role in pushing his pass rush up the field and forcing Lamar Jackson to step up into more pressure. Key is also incredibly long and he can get into passing lanes if he can't get around the corner. When Key slides down to the line, he has been used as a decoy at times and dropped into a short zone. If Louisville looks to the swing pass like they've used at times, Key could be used to cover that zone as well.
The inside linebacker spots are very good for LSU even thought they will be without Kendell Beckwith. One could almost argue that having the smaller Donnie Alexander is a bonus for the Tigers. Beckwith is an all-american but he is also 250 pounds and does his best work in between the tackles. Lamar Jackson is a nightmare for pretty much anyone but he definitely works better against bigger opponents. Alexander has played at the "Mack" linebacker spot for a full game and he's had the entire break to get it down. He also has the luxury of lining up next to team MVP Duke Riley which should help with calls and adjustments.
Riley is the exact type of linebacker that has killed UofL for the last handful of years. He's fast, undersized, and he's a guy that plays like his hair is on fire. We saw what guys like Ben Boulware from Clemson, Joe Giles-Harris of Duke, Micah Kiser at Virginia, and Steven Taylor from Houston were able to do from their linebacker spots. All of those guys can run extremely well and all of them play their tails off. Riley fits that mold and he also has the experience to back it up. Riley sat behind guys that went on to the NFL for three years and finally got his chance this year. He learned a lot and now he uses that knowledge to make a ton of plays.
Lamar Jackson will have to have a really strong game passing the football because I think that this defense has the ability to slow him down in the run game. Jackson has excelled against teams that don't have play makers up front which allows him to get to the second level in favorable match ups. Somewhat like when I pointed out how Chucky Williams and JHC can't be left in space against Derrius Guice by themselves in the offensive breakdowns. Jackson won't likely see one guy waiting for him if he breaks contain. So, Jackson has to exploit the weakest point of the defense which is the middle of the field in pass coverage. It's not a weak point for the defense, but it's definitely where they're not going to wow you. Cole Hikutini should be targeted a lot on Saturday and James Quick should find windows behind Riley and Alexander. Jackson has to hit those guys in stride to get the defense to loosen up. Then the running game should have more space.
It wouldn't be questioned if one were to say that LSU has the best secondary in the country. They have a consensus all-american in Tre'Davious White as well as a potential top-10 pick in Jamal Adams. Throw in former track star, Donte Jackson and you have a fast and physical group that fit this scheme perfectly. Aranda wants to pressure you and wants to bring more guys than you can block. When you do that you have to be able to trust your corners and safeties to stay with their assignments. White and Jackson are guys that make it so hard to separate because of their speed. Jackson won the Louisiana state championship in the 100 meters and White is one of the top punt returners in the country. These guys will be in man coverage on every play and they will make you beat them in man before they even think about doing anything else.
Adams isn't an outstanding guy in coverage but he provides two things that could be big in this game. He could be used to spy Lamar Jackson as an extra defender in the box. He could also be used in coverage against Hikutini which would put their best player on Louisville's best receiver. Adams is one of the best defensive players in the country and he plays harder than just about anyone. He is a "must account for him" type of defender because he lines up in so many different areas of the field. If the Cards chose to spread the field he can be a deep safety over the top or he could slide down next to Riley if they bring in two tight ends. He's just a versatile guy that can cause so many problems.
In my opinion, this is where Louisville has to be at their best. Jamari Staples and Jaylen Smith have to find a way to create separation in their routes and make some big plays. It's been an underrated issue this year when they've gone against top corners. Cordrea Tankersley and Tarvarus McFadden are good examples of this. Both were always in stride with Louisville receivers down the field and they were able to make plays on the ball. I think Bobby Petrino will try to work the middle of the field more this game and stay away from the corners. If the running game gets going, play-action should help with that. Getting aggressive guys like Riley to step up into the fake and hitting short passes right behind him should work well.
DeAngelo Brown vs. Ethan Pocic
Nose tackles never get the credit that they deserve and DeAngelo Brown is a prime example of that. Brown led UofL with 12 tackles for loss this year and made countless more plays that won't show up in the box score. Brown will go up against 6-7 Ethan Pocic this weekend and I think it's one of the best match ups of any of the bowls this season.
Pocic is an NFL talent that is not only a great blocker at the line, but he's also athletic enough to pull and become a lead blocker for Derrius Guice. That' not too common, especially at the college level. Brown is an extremely strong guy and he has a very low pad level at 6 feet even. You have to wonder how the much taller Pocic handles Brown. If Brown can cause some havoc from his spot, it would go a long way to slowing down LSU's rushing attack.
Can LSU Contain Lamar Jackson's Legs?
Todd Orlando will be able to tell his grandchildren that he shut down Lamar Jackson the two times he faced him. I personally entered this season wondering if other teams would deploy the same game plan that Orlando has and Lamar Jackson would have a less successful season. That obviously didn't happen, but Orlando was able to show everyone that if you have speed on defense and a plan to confuse Jackson and his line, it's very possible to take away Jackson's legs. Well, LSU has a ton of speed on defense and Aranda can bring pressure from outside with Arden Key and inside with Duke Riley and Jamal Adams. He also has defensive linemen that can stunt and twist.
What Houston was able to show people is that Louisville's offensive line is not very good. It also showed everyone that Lamar Jackson is very far away from being able to recognize pre-snap pressure as well as adjusting when the play starts. However, I think Houston was really able to give Louisville fits when they brought secondary players up on the edges to try and force Jackson back inside or to make the play on him. Before the UK game I spoke about Houston's defense having guys that "went after" Lamar and made the stop. LSU has those same types of guys on their team. They won't wait for Lamar to come to them. They'll get after him and force him to beat them.
D.J. Chark Could Give UofL Fits
Louisville's defense has been very inconsistent this year, but for the most part they have done what needs to be done to win football games. The two games where they really struggled were against Clemson and their great receivers and Kentucky and their speedy receivers and strong running game. Because Kentucky is such a run heavy team, Louisville ended up in solo man coverage with either one safety deep or no safety at all. LSU won't spread Louisville as much as UK did, but they can run the ball much better. If Louisville has single cover Chark without a safety shaded to his side, Chark could have a big day. He is extremely fast and he is just one of those guys that makes big plays. Also, UofL doesn't have multiple guys that can run with him.
The Tigers also like to use Chark on end around plays. He scored on a 79 yard run last year in their bowl game. LSU made some simple changes when they let Cam Cameron go earlier this year. The main thing that shows when you watch them is that they use their running game to set up a lot of other things. Chark has been a beneficiary with more run plays as well as more deep balls. LSU forces you to choose on defense and if they don't choose Chark, he'll get loose.
Derrius Guice Could Have A Game Similar To Nick Chubb
I think we all remember Nick Chubb running for a career high 266 yards two years ago in a not so fun bowl game loss. Well, Derrius Guice is the type of running back that could do the same. Guice set the LSU record for rushing yards in a game with 285 in their last game. That was his second game with more than 250 yards in a game this season. He's the backup. Leonard Fournette set the single game record before Guice bested him by one yard. So, besides the fact that Guice is a great back, he also has a line that is opening up holes for him.
The other similarity with Guice and Chubb is the offensive system. Georgia didn't do anything flashy back then. They lined up in single back or I-formation and they ran the ball right at you. They also utilized stretch runs very well and LSU does the same. Misdirection is a great way to take advantage of overly aggressive defenses, but stretch runs work really well, too. Guice is a patient enough to let his blockers get to their man and he's quick enough to blow through the smallest hole and get to the second level. Guice isn't a bruiser like Chubb but he is a violent runner who will run through arm tackles with ease. Guice puts up another crazy day if UofL's defense shows up like they did two years ago.
It's our last chance to watch Cardinal football for far too long, and our first chance ever to watch a Heisman Trophy winner do his thing in a Louisville uniform. Also, LSU is a pretty formidable name in the college football world, and it would be super to beat them.
Game Attire: Jeans, red Cardinal pullover, grey Louisville hat
I rocked this at the Boston College game and haven't had the chance to bust it out since. That changes today.
Pregame Meal: Beer, chick-fil-a minis, queso dip, taco dip
First time we've actually gotten organized for a game watch all season. Pretty excited about it. Getting old sucks.
Bold Prediction: Reggie Bonnafon throws a pass
Cole Hikutini Touchdown Alert Level: Jazzberry Jam (not as high as I'd like it to be in Cole's last game)
I think I'll miss you most of all, CHTAL.
Predicted Star of the Game: Lamar Jackson
And thus concludes the easiest season of star of the game predictions in Card Chronicle history.
Motivational Opposition Tweets:
LSU has beaten a Heisman winner before. This isn't new. #BeatLouisville pic.twitter.com/BJI9mvLwOz— The Blind Tiger ♧ (@LSUHypeMan) December 30, 2016
We gone see what Lama Jackson bout tomorrow.. #geauxtigers #ForeverLSU #LSUvsLOUISVILLE— D. Cuyler (@Finnagetrich) December 31, 2016
I just have this feeling guice is going to make Louisville his bitch with all of the time orgeron has for a game plan #GeauxTigers— Gonzo (@SethGonzalez11) December 26, 2016
Lamar Jackson won the heisman BEFORE he saw LSU's defense.— Nick Brown (@NickGotTheJuice) December 30, 2016
--Louisville is 10-9-1 all-time in bowl games, and has won in five of its last seven postseason appearances. It's only losses over that span have come in the 2011 and 2014 Belk Bowls.
--Louisville is 3-3 in bowl games under the direction of Bobby Petrino.
--LSU is making its 17th consecutive postseason appearance.
--The Tigers are 24-22-1 all-time in bowl games. Those 24 wins are the 10th most of any program in the FBS.
--This will be LSU's fourth appearance in the Citrus Bowl. The Tigers are 1-2 in the game, last appearing in 2010 when they dropped a 19-17 contest to Penn State.
--This is Louisville's first appearance in the Citrus Bowl, but the fifth time the Cardinals have played in a bowl game in the state of Florida. Louisville is 3-1 in those games.
--This will mark the first time in the 2016 season that Louisville has entered a game as an underdog.
--Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy. It was, and continues to be, very cool.
--LSU RB Derrius Guice broke the school's single-game rushing record on Thanksgiving Night when the sophomore rushed for 285 yards on 37 carries against Texas A&M. The 285 yards edged out the previous mark of 284, which was set by Leonard Fournette against Ole Miss in game 7 of the 2016.
--LSU senior linebacker Duke Riley will wear No. 4 in the game to honor his longtime mentor Joe McKnight, the former New Orleans Saints RB who was murdered on Dec. 1.
--In its 4 losses, LSU allowed only 3 TDs. The 4 losses were by a combined 23 points and the outcome of the 2 of LSU's 4 losses were decided on the final play of the game (Auburn and Florida).
--Louisville is 10-4 in bowl games when no opposing player rushes for 110 yards and is 0-5-1 when one does.
--Louisville is 34-4 under Bobby Petrino when winning the turnover battle. The Cardinals have lost the turnover battle in seven of their 12 games this season, and have only won it outright twice.
--LSU had been the only team in the FBS to not allow more than 21 points in a game this season before allowing 39 in its regular season-ending win over Texas A&M.
--Louisville's game against LSU marks the final game for the team's 21 seniors. This year's class includes: FB Lamar Atkins, DT DeAngelo Brown, OL Matt Cohen, LB Devonte' Fields, RB Malin Jones, K Anthony George, S Josh Harvey-Clemons, TE Cole Hikutini, LS Colin Holba, OL Tobijah Hughley, OL Khalil Hunter, LB Keith Kelsey, OL Kiola Mahoni, DB Marcus Mays, WR Gio Pascascio, WR James Quick, RB BrandonRadcliff, WR Jamari Staples, S John Stitch, WR Pat Thomas, and TE Keith Towbridge.
--The senior class has compiled a 38-13 record during its four seasons at Louisville.
--Louisville is 19-35-1 all-time against teams from the SEC, but 3-1 against SEC opponents in bowl games.
--LSU is one win away from extending its streak of consecutive seasons with at least 8 victories to 17 straight. LSU's current streak of 16 seasons with at least 8 wins ranks as the longest among all Power 5 teams. Overall, Boise State stands as the only FBS school with more consecutive 8-wins seasons (18) than LSU.
--LSU has defeated three teams with Heisman Trophy winners since 2003.
--Louisville sack leader James Hearns will not play in the game after being a shot at a party earlier this month. Fellow defensive teammate Henry Famurewa was also shot, and will also not play.
--LSU star running back Leonard Fournette has opted not to play in this game and is instead preparing for the NFL Draft.
--Typically played on New Year's Day, this is the first time the Citrus Bowl has been played on a December date since 1985.
--After playing LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Arkansas will exist as the only SEC teams Louisville hasn't faced.
--Louisville leads the nation in scoring offense and ranks second in total offense.
--Louisville has won 15 consecutive games when kicking off to begin the game, but has received to start 11 of its 12 games this season. The lone exception came in the Cards' 32-25 win at Virginia.
--LSU's defense has allowed just 16 touchdowns this season. Only Alabama's defense has allowed fewer.
--Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 211 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
--Louisville is 176-11 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 5-103 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
--"I asked the team to block out the noise, and so I need to do that too. This is not about being my first game. This is about our players. This is about our coaching staff. This is about the LSU family, going to play a good Louisville football team and wanting to win a game. That's all it's about." --LSU head coach Ed Orgeron
--"This is the last game I get to play with my teammates, and I want to have a good memory as well. A lot of us are from here as well, you know, families, friends, everybody in the stands. We've got a lot to play for." --Keith Kelsey
--"It would mean a lot, just winning period. I love winning. That's something we have to do. Those last two games, I'm still mad about those." --Lamar Jackson
--"We understand that he is a dynamic player, we understand that he's the Heisman Trophy winner ... but we're going to treat it like a regular game. He's a great player, but we're a great defense, and we're going to be ready to play." --LSU cornerback Donte Jackson
--"We can't try to run right at him and go for the sack all the time. We have to try to contain him and keep him in the pocket. If you let him get outside, he can do some damage." --LSU defensive tackle Lewis Neal
--"Let's just put it like this: You can't stop him. You can control him, and that's what we're after." --LSU safety Jamal Adams
--"Winning this game puts us in the offseason with a positive mindset and it sets the standard for LSU football, which is to win championships." --LSU head coach Ed Orgeron
--"This football team has done a great job for 10 weeks, really 11 weeks throughout the season. We're in the mention for the playoffs and being there. We stumbled at the end." --Bobby Petrino
--"Kentucky made big plays, they really did. They're a totally different offense from we are. Basically what we got out of the Kentucky game is when we go three-wide and stuff like there are things like that that we feel can be effective on them. ... (The Cards) got after them pretty good, but just Kentucky made big plays, on a screen play, on a deep ball. Through all that, (the takeaway is) we've got to take our shots, too." --LSU interim offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger
--"Here's the deal with Lamar Jackson, once he gets in the space, he can go 60 in a heartbeat. We're going to have to make tackles. We're going to have to gang tackle him. Dave Aranda, who I think is the best defensive coordinator in college football, has worked very hard. I know he has an excellent plan, but it's hard to simulate the speed of Lamar Jackson — he's going to make some plays." --LSU head coach Ed Orgeron
--"Any time you get a matchup like that, it's exciting. It's why you play football. You want to go against the best and, right now, he's the best." --LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White