Monday, December 31, 2012
LSU keys: Stop Boyd, win turnovers, run
By Gary Laney
Three keys in the Chick-fil-A Bowl between No. 8 LSU and No. 14 Clemson today.
1. Tame Tajh?: Many see this as the big-time offense of Clemson, led by ACC Player of the Year Tajh Boyd, against LSU's rugged, SEC defense. But LSU has sprung a leak lately on pass defense, allowing each of its final three regular-season opponents to throw for more than 300 yards. Boyd threw for more than 3,500 yards for Clemson and has the added dimension of being able to run with the ball, a factor that might keep LSU's vaunted pass rush at bay as it focuses on containting Boyd instead of rushing him. If that's the case, can LSU's secondary cover big-play Clemson wideouts like 1,000-yard receiver DeAndre Hopkins?
2. Turning it over: LSU is eighth in the nation in both turnovers forced (31) and turnover margin. One way the Tigers can combat the Clemson pass efficiency is by forcing turnovers. Boyd has thrown 14 interceptions and LSU is known for game-changing turnovers. If Boyd can protect the ball it takes away a key element to LSU's defensive success.
3. On the run: One way to slow down Boyd is to keep him off the field. Although LSU's passing game surged in the last third of the season, LSU may want to call on its physical running game, led by emerging freshman star Jeremy Hill, to sustain drives, eat clock and keep Boyd and company off the field.