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Tigers can’t play down to small opponents

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Troy v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A 3-0 start in a season that experts predicted would only hold 5 or 6 wins for LSU has the Tigers on a high they don’t want to come down from.

Focusing in on preparation for conference rivals like Ole Miss and Alabama down the road is going to be key to the Tigers’ success this season. But one thing this team cannot lose sight of are games against ‘cupcake’ opponents.

LSU’s latest slip-up against an opponent that would fall under this category was against Troy, when the Trojans wrecked the Tigers’ homecoming, 24-21.

It was a game most had marked as an easy win as soon as the 2017 schedule was released. Now it serves as a grim reminder of the power of overconfidence.

LSU has already faced what should have been a simple opponent in Southeastern Louisiana, and will take on another in Louisiana Tech today.

Just nine years ago, the Tigers were faced with a 3-7 Tech team that kept the game dangerously close. At halftime, LSU led by a mere field goal with the score at 13-10. LSU won 24-16, with Tech breathing down its neck every step of the way.

The Bulldogs team that will play in Death Valley this weekend has the ability to recreate that sense of anxiety. After all, they did give South Carolina a scare last season, losing just 17-16.

We also can’t ignore the fact that LSU’s shutout of Southeastern wasn’t the most dominant. The Tigers had just 15 offensive snaps in the second half for an unimpressive total of 78 yards.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow acknowledged the sputtering on offense.

“In the first quarter, we played really well. We came out attacking and had the right mindset,” he said. “After that, our mindset kind of let off the gas a little bit. We can’t do that in big games. We know that. We are going to have to get a lot of things addressed this week.”

Of course Orgeron will talk up his opponents every week, but Tech does have some standouts on its roster. Defensive end Jaylon Ferguson and wide receiver Teddy Veal could very well cause issues for LSU on their respective fronts.

LSU may be the No. 6 team in the nation right now. But they’re going to need to give the same effort to the Bulldogs as they would the Crimson Tide if they want to keep it that way.