It was only October when LSU was the No. 2 team in the country and had a shot to take down Alabama. However, the Tigers fell hard and fast. So much that they’ll be taking on a 7-5 Texas Tech team in the Texas Bowl. As expected, the Tigers are a -7 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
LSU started the season 7-0 and looked like one of the best in the nation with the best player in the nation, Leonard Fournette. Instead, as their Schedule picked up, they lost three of their final Four Games of the year. Still, this is a team that finished 8-3 (opening Game was cancelled) with its only three losses coming to some of the best in the SEC.
Texas Tech can’t quite say the same thing, but the Red Raiders at least beat Arkansas early in the season, 35-24. While that was when the Razorbacks were struggling, it’s still notable as LSU lost to Arkansas 31-14. In Big 12 play, Tech finished 4-5 with all Four of those wins coming against the worst teams in the conference. They had a chance to knock off TCU, OK State and West Virginia, but couldn’t pull any of them out due to a defunct defense.
Now against an LSU team that struggled to Scoredown the stretch, this may be a perfect matchup for Texas Tech. Or… maybe not.
The Tigers still have Leonard Fournette. His buzz may have worn off, but he finished the year with 1,741 yards and 18 touchdowns and after a month off, expect him to be around the 30-touch range per usual. This is bad news because Texas Tech has one of the worst run defenses in the country, giving up an astronomical 271.8 rushing yards per Game and 5.9 yards per carry. Fournette could be in for another 200-plus-yard Game. If LSU can do that, they won’t have to worry much about Brandon Harris trying to complete passes. Harris has been their weakness and a main reason this team faltered down the stretch.
If Fournette runs wild, the Red Raiders know they’ll have to be efficient on the offensive end. That won’t be easy, but this isn’t a dominant defense for LSU. They gave up 30-plus points in their three straight losses and Tech is one of the highest scoring teams in the country at 46.6 points per Game.
Sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been great for this offense with 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He’s had some big Games, but when you have a defense that can’t stop anyone, that doesn’t matter much. Mahomes has a wide array of receivers, but his favorite remains Jakeem Grant (1,143 yards, 7 TDs). Mahomes is also plenty mobile with 484 yards and 10 TDs on the ground, which he doesn’t get a lot of credit for. In addition, the Red Raiders have been a good all-around running team this year with the speedy DeAndre Washington only really having one bad Game this year. He has 1,759 total yards, 16 TDs and averages 6.5 yards per carry.
LSU may be able to run all over Tech, but the no one has stopped this Tech offense all year. The Tigers defense is good, but not at the elite levels of this offense. LSU is a sizable favorite and getting plenty of action, but will they be able to stop Mahomes and this offense?
The over has hit in five straight non-Conference Games for the Tigers, and the over is 7-0 in the Red Raiders’ last seven Games vs. a team with a winning record.
The LSU defense is down several notches from what we have come to expect from LSU teams. That fact alone is what should keep Texas Tech in this Game from start to finish.
Add in the motivational aspect, with LSU having lost 3 of it’s final 4 Games and always shooting for a bigger bowl Game, even a national title, while Texas Tech no doubt foaming at the mouth with the opportunity to knock off an SEC giant.
Our Pick – Texas Tech +7