The LSU Tigers play their first meaningful game of the 2019 season against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
While the Tigers have many more difficult opponents on schedule this year, the Eagles are a team to be taken seriously after recording an overall record of 10-2 and stumping defenses with a highly successful triple-option offense.
Both LSU and Georgia Southern find strength in quarterbacks who are just as threatening on the run as they are on the pass, and that will certainly be a factor in the Week 1 matchup.
Here’s a look at how LSU’s Joe Burrow and Georgia Southern’s Shai Werts stack up.
First Impression: After breaking several school records and threatening to add more to that list, Burrow enters this season surrounded by high expectations.
He’s a true dual threat signal-caller, making good decisions in the pocket and finishing out multiple games last year with a higher rushing total than some LSU running backs.
In 2019, Burrow is looking to end his career by leading LSU to National Championship and potentially prove he’s an NFL caliber quarterback. The former Buckeye has already far exceeded the expectations many analysts had for him as he came off the Ohio State bench, and it will be interesting to see just how far he can go this year.
Last showing: vs. UCF, W 40-32
Burrow was 21-of-34 passes for 394 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Bottom line for Saturday: Burrow has made it clear in meetings with the media that he’s not taking the Eagles lightly - and it’s always important not to play down on a lesser opponent - but he’s gone up against far more formidable defenses in his time at LSU. It may not be a total walk in the park, but expect Saturday to be a good day for both Burrow and the LSU offense as long as they take care of the football. Georgia Southern did have 27 takeaways, the eighth-most in the nation last year.
First Impression: If there’s one thing we know about Werts, it’s that he’s accurate. The Georgia Southern signal-caller was the only FBS quarterback to not throw an interception last year.
Werts is also mobile, recording 182 rushing attempts for 908 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. This is an interesting stat to look at in comparison to his 69 completions for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He’s made vast improvements since his freshman season, steadily emerging as a leadership figure to a team that went 10-3 and won a Bowl game in 2018.
Last showing: vs. EMU, W 23-21
Werts completed 4-of-7 passes for 33 yards and rushed 16 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Bottom line for Saturday: Werts may be an up-and-coming quarterback who is efficient on both the ground and on the pass, but he’ll hardly be a match for a stout LSU defense. Expect it to be rough going for the junior and his offense on Saturday.