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What To Watch For: Central Michigan

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If LSU loses to Central Michigan I am going to become the Joker.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

When the Troy game rolled around, I had a legitimate feeling that LSU was in danger of something awful. They had just limped to a win against a bad Syracuse team and looked extremely vulnerable. I don’t know if I feel the same way right now, but it’s worth thinking about. Central Michigan doesn’t seem to be incredibly good, while that Troy team ended up burning through the Sun Belt and having a terrific season, getting their head coach a job at West Virginia. LSU is a deeply flawed, bad team, but this one SHOULDN’T be a huge issue. If it is, everyone’s fired.

For Central Michigan

The Trenches

Central Michigan’s bread is buttered by their inside zone run game. They torched Missouri’s 4 down front running it. Against a similarly structured, similarly rigid LSU front, it’s something to watch. The question becomes not whether they can account for guys and get good looks to run against, the question is simply whether or not they can block the likes of Maason Smith. Real Jimmies and Joes thing to watch.

Talent at QB

Jacob Sirmon has fallen a bit of a ways since being QB3 behind only Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields out of high school. Through the first couple games, he’s really displayed, at times, the raw talent that got him so highly regarded. The question is consistency, and whether or not this fairly dry McElwain offense will scheme people open, or if it will force him to beat Stingley and Ricks with his arm.

Stat predictions:

Passing: Sirmon, 27/46, 289, 1TD, 2INT

Receiving: Pimpleton (funny name lol), 6 catches, 87 yards

Rushing: Nichols, 21 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD

For LSU

Quick concepts vs man coverage.

I’m going to stop expecting that LSU will attempt to solve their inability to generate explosive plays. Of course, this is going to completely stagnate their offense this year, but we’re talking about the Central Michigan game. Central Michigan likes to play aggressive with their DBs and take away underneath passing. For LSU, that’s the only thing they can do, so if they can force tight windows underneath and dare LSU to throw vertically, they may be onto something. LSU cannot protect well enough to throw downfield and refuse to protect with more than 6, hard to imagine CMU doesn’t know that

Gap assignments

LSU had trouble with linebackers being in the right gaps against UCLA. CMU is going to run a lot of the same zone schemes UCLA did, gotta be assignment sound and then should be fine. If they’re not, this could get interesting

Run Schemes

LSU experimenting with some perimeter gap schemes felt like seeing a UFO last week, but they were still largely ineffective on the ground. We’ll see what they come up with. Counter, pin and pull, etc, I’d like to see some more of it.

Passing: Johnson, 29/40, 277 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Receiving: Boutte, 9 catches, 141 yards, 2 TD

Rushing: Davis-Price, 11 carries, 38 yards, 1 TD