9.29.18 LSU vs Ole Miss

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron leads the team onto the field during the Tigers’ 45-16 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday Sept. 29, 2018, in Tiger Stadium.

The Daily Reveille sports staff shares their thoughts and score predictions ahead of LSU's matchup with No. 2 Georgia.

Daunting road ahead | Chris Caldarera

The emotions of sports fans often swings like a pendulum. When their team is doing well, fans are ready to purchase their tickets to the championship game. However, it’s usually the same fans that are ready to call the season off after their team suffers an early loss.

I’m sure that many “championship contender” LSU fans existed last Saturday against Florida. Why not? Their team was No. 5 in the country after making it through the first month of a grueling college football season unblemished. Many of these fans disappeared when the final whistle sounded in LSU’s 27-19 loss to the Florida Gators, and there’s good reason for that.

LSU was once again plagued by inconsistency from the offensive line, the wide receiver corps and its defensive backs, and fans are beginning to wonder if the Tigers will ever improve in these areas.

The reality is that it’s tough to improve in any area when the opponents on the schedule progressively improve. LSU’s next three games are against the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs, a Mississippi State team that’s riding an impressive hot streak and No. 1 Alabama. Even if the Tigers were to improve their play, these next three games would be a test for some of the most consistent teams.

Maybe this LSU football team still has some surprises left in it, and maybe the Tigers will lose three times in the next four weeks. It’s tough to predict how the Tigers will fair in the next few weeks, but LSU’s road to a championship is only tougher from here.

Prediction: LSU 24, Georgia 27

Where opponents dreams come to die? | Brandon Adam

Death Valley has been described as the place where opponents dreams come to die. Fitting for a place called Death Valley right?

Well, if LSU loses on Saturday, it’s going to be where the Tigers’ dream for a national championship died. After a tough loss on the road against Florida, LSU doesn’t have time to reflect with No. 2 Georgia rolling into Baton Rouge.

Ed Orgeron and his squad need to strap on the blinders because everything they want to accomplish is still in front of them. What happened in the first six weeks of the season doesn’t matter because LSU is walking on a tightrope the rest of the season. One loss, and they’re done.

If LSU is going to pull off it’s first top-5 win since defeating Ole Miss 10-7 in 2014, the Tigers are going to have to click on all cylinders for the first time this season. Most importantly they’re going to have to put the ball in Georgia’s quarterback Jake Fromm’s hands and make him test what is arguably the best secondary in the Southeastern Conference. Then, Joe Burrow is going to ascend to another level. Otherwise, LSU’s run for the playoffs will end prior to November once again.

Prediction: LSU 20, Georgia 16

No room for mistakes | Kennedi Landry

In order for LSU to win this game, it will need to play as clean as possible. From penalties to dropped passes and missed assignments, the Tigers will need to play close to perfect to pull out a victory.

Coming into this game, LSU has 39 for 397 total yards and is averaging 66.2 penalty yards per game.

While those numbers aren’t terrible, a lot of those penalties have come at pivotal moments for the Tigers, like when a holding penalty negated a 26-yard pass to tight end Foster Moreau and stopped an LSU drive quicker than it started in a loss to Florida or a pass interference penalty on cornerback Kristian Fulton that advanced Florida's drive even further. 

LSU receivers have had no less than three drops a game, including two that would have gone for first downs in the fourth quarter against Florida. LSU coach Ed Orgeron has constantly expressed the need for receivers to step up and give quarterback Joe Burrow some help. 

That's not to say the receivers are the only ones at fault. While LSU's shaky offensive line doesn't give Burrow much time, and he is more often than not left scrambling, he needs to be more aware in the pocket and find ways to protect the ball and score in the red zone. 

Georgia is a team that will make you regret every little mistake and the Tigers will need to minimize them on Saturday. The Bulldogs are a beatable team, but LSU needs to come out hot to have a chance. 

Prediction: LSU 17, Georgia 21

Defense faces tough QB battle | Glen West

Like most teams Georgia faces this season, the LSU defense will have to prepare for the possibility of facing two quarterbacks in sophomore Jake Fromm and freshman five-star recruit and No.1 overall player Justin Fields.

Fromm has played well in his second season under center, completing 72 percent of his passes and throwing for 12 touchdowns with just two picks. Fields has appeared in all six games as well, throwing for 200 yards and rushing for an additional 133 with five total touchdowns.

The secondary and really the defense as a whole needs to be prepared when Fields’ number is called because of the elusivity he brings to the ground game for the Bulldogs. The front seven, which had its own struggles getting to Feleipe Franks will need to get some sort of pressure on both Fromm and Fields.

While Fromm will handle the bulk of the work, LSU can’t afford to let Fields run loose and change the pace of the game.

Prediction: LSU 20, Georgia 27

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