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Insider

LSU still dominant on defense, special teams

9/27/2012

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has been a big winner in recent years thanks to dominant defense and special teams. That remains true this year despite some glitches like turnovers that have given opponents short fields and special teams penalties that cost the Tigers yards in field position. Check out these statistics compiled by ESPN Stats and Information that illustrate LSU's dominance:

LSU’s opponents have 20 drives that started inside their own 20 yard line, tied for the most in FBS with UCLA and Florida State.

Punter Brad Wing has hit three touchbacks already and hitting just five last season. Yet, his ability to put the ball inside the 20 has still been oustanding. Add that to dominant kick coverage and opponents often start with their backs to their own goalline.

LSU has held opponents to no gain or a loss on 43.5 percent of their runs this season, the highest percentage in FBS.

Watch replays of LSU's first four games (which you likely can do, thanks to the wonders of DVR and TV's love affair with the Tigers) and on most of its opponents running plays, you see the line of scrimmage surge toward the backfield at the snap as LSU's dominant front four gains penetration. It's made running the football a tough chore for opponents.

LSU’s defense has not allowed a completion (0-7) on a pass thrown 25 yards or more downfield this season.

A sign that LSU's young cornerbacks, Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins, are passing the test. The one veteran corner, Tharold Simon, said he expects to start seeing more passes thrown his way because picking on Mills and Collins hasn't worked. It also helps to have the dominant front four that routinely pressures quarterbacks before they can release the bomb.

Opposing quarterbacks have thrown under duress on 35.6 percent of drop backs when facing the LSU defense.

Back to the front four. LSU wins battles up front on running plays and passing plays. The Tigers have eight quarterback sacks already as well.