LSU enters their matchup against UAB with one final chance to put on a show in Tiger Stadium this season. It’s a given that senior night will be filled with emotions, but handling business against an inferior opponent and coming out on top is clearly of the utmost importance.
The Tigers have done the improbable this season. With two top 10 victories under their belt and punching their ticket to the SEC championship, it’s been a remarkable turnaround, but the job isn’t finished yet.
Brian Kelly has a “one week at a time” approach and this week’s challenge is against a fiery UAB Blazers squad.
Here’s a look into the latest betting odds, storylines, keys to the game and predictions:
LSU is favored by 15 points over UAB with the over/under set at 50.5, according to SI Sportsbook. The oddsmakers predict a relatively high scoring matchup and so do we.
With the Blazers attaining one of the most ferocious rushing attacks in the country, the Tigers will need to halt immediate success on the ground, utilizing their gifted defensive line.
The 8 p.m. matchup presents an incredibly hostile environment for the opposing UAB Blazers. In the past, we’ve seen Tiger Stadium erupt during this time slot, and factoring in senior night on Saturday makes it that much more interesting.
Tigers Must Prepare For DeWayne McBride
The heartbeat of this Blazers program is running back DeWayne McBride. The catalyst for how this offense performs, McBride has already tallied 1,400 yards on the ground while averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, the junior back has an extremely strong lower body to brush off defenders who look to tackle low. The ability to shed off opponents with his strength is one of his best attributes, but his shiftiness in open space is another.
The Tigers have been rather inconsistent when it comes to slowing down the rushing attack this season, which makes for their containment of McBride something to monitor closely come Saturday night in Death Valley.
Micah Baskerville’s Mindset
For Baskerville, his new demeanor is what has taken Coach Kelly by surprise, calling his story “inspirational.” A player who struggled with academics upon arriving on campus, he’s changed his ways entirely, making his love for Baton Rouge that much greater.
“This is a place I wish I could play forever,” Baskerville said. “I was out for a semester of school and when I got back I told her ‘I’ll make sure I get it done, no more mess ups.’ I’m gonna be crying [at graduation], I’m gonna be happy though. I got the paper so it’s gonna be a lot of good emotions.”
Look for Baskerville to show out in his final run in Death Valley. A player who has grown tremendously throughout his time in Baton Rouge, he has the chance to put it all together in his final home game and go out on top.
Ultimately containing UAB running back DeWayne McBride and keeping their rushing attack in check will put LSU in position to win this one and handle business against an inferior opponent in the UAB Blazers. With the Tigers' defensive line preparing for quite the test, they’ll be the deciding factor Saturday night.
On the other side of the ball, can Jayden Daniels and the passing game get back on track and begin trending in the right direction again before the season finale at Texas A&M? We think yes.
The Blazers are yet to face an opponent of LSU’s caliber, but that doesn’t take anything away from what they’re capable of doing in a big-time matchup. Keeping their rushing attack in check while capitalizing on red zone opportunities will be of the utmost importance for LSU.
Score Prediction: LSU 34, UAB 14