LSU is known for their elite defense and physical running game, but the development of Zach Mettenberger under Cam Cameron gives the Tigers their best passing threat in years which could be the edge they need to win the SEC.
Mettenberger had a career day Saturday vs. UAB, tossing a personal best five touchdowns, smashing his previous best of two, and completing 16 of his 19 passes for an 84.2% clip and 282 yards. The yards tie for his second highest amount and his previous best completion percentage was when he completed 17 of 22 passes in a win over Idaho for a 77.2 clip.
The Mettenberger we have seen in 2013 is radically different form the one who finished the 2012 season with only three games with more than one touchdown pass and four without a score. Mettenberger’s maturation under Cameron and the dedication he has shown to film study gives LSU an element they haven’t had at quarterback since Matt Flynn, JaMarcus Russell and Rohan Davey were taking snaps.
The threat of a passing game will force defenses to honor the pass and not stack the box and try to stifle an always-potent Tiger ground game. Furthermore, the ability of the offense to score points — they are averaging 46.5 through two games — means the young defense won’t need to be perfect to win.
How often has LSU found themselves in a dogfight trying to win games 14-10 or 9-6? With Mettenberger only having one online course this semester he can watch film and workout all day long and in a sense is a professional college quarterback. Having Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry makes his job much easier as does having a three-headed monster at running back with Jeremy Hill back.
LSU will go as far as their quarterback will take them. In recent years, that was pretty far, but not quite far enough with the exception of 2003 and 2007. With Mettenberger under center this season can end in the same manner as those seasons with the Tigers holding the crystal ball after winning the BCS National Championship.