A chip off the Drew Brees or Joe Flacco block?
LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has closely resembled these big money makers at the quarterback position starting out 2013, both of whom current LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had mentored in the professional ranks.
Mettenberger did the unthinkable Saturday night, tossing a single-game school record five touchdown passes in the Bayou Bengals second win of 2013, 56-17 over UAB. Mettenberger already has half of his 2012 season total in touchdowns with six. Kent State sends to Death Valley Saturday an unproven and question marked defensive backfield, ranking 95th in the country in pass defense, averaging 273 passing yards a game. The LSU offense will be playing with a renewed confidence this week as Mettenberger should have the ability to rewrite the record books and vie for six scores in a game. This would be twice as much as Kent State has give up in their first two games.
Junior Odell Beckham Jr. has already isolated himself as Mettenberger go-to guy outside the numbers as the No. 1 receiver. Kent State has to take a different page out of the playbook than what UAB tried to do covering Beckham. UAB had no control defensively rubbing Beckham with a corner, allowing three touchdown catches to numero tres. There’s simply no question they need to account for Beckham in all areas of the game; Beckham collected 331 all-purpose yards against the Blazers, third-most in a game in school history Saturday night. Beckham’s night included a 100-yard return of a missed field goal for a touchdown. All six of Mettenberger’s touchdown passes have gone to the team’s leading receivers, Beckham and Jarvis Landry. The Golden Flashes will have to put on the afterburners catching up with Landry in space, a sub-4.4 runner in the 40, with incredible ball skills, grabbing seven touchdown passes in as many games entering Saturday.
Kent State’s team speed on offense facing a fierce defense might take a major hit with the unavailability of do-it-all playmaker Dri Archer. He was out with an ankle injury facing a potential MAC East Division decider with Bowling Green in Kent State’s conference opener in week two. Archer averaged 110 rushing yards a game in 2012, and nine yards a carry on his way to 16 touchdowns, and ranked fifth in the county in all-purpose yards. Archer’s status for LSU or Penn State after that is a big unknown at this point.
Kent State lost in their MAC Season opener, 41-22 to Bowling Green, snapping an 11-game regular season win streak. Bowling Green was down 22-17 with five minutes until halftime, finishing the game with 24 unanswered points.
Since 1978, Kent State has only had three winning seasons, last season, 2011 and 1987. Last season marked only the second bowl game the Golden Flashes have attended in their history. Surprisingly, knowing that they went to double-overtime with Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship for an Orange Bowl bid.
The first meeting between both schools leans heavily in the direction of LSU. Based on the data, LSU has garnished solving all of their areas of need before this season. With safety Craig Loston back from a leg injury sitting out the second half of the UAB game, it makes it even more grueling for Kent State redshirt freshman quarterback Colin Reardon to complete passes for a high percentage with how organized the Tigers are with him in the lineup. Reardon threw for four total touchdowns in his first two collegiate starts — the previous two weeks. There’s no manual on how to handle a road game like the one Reardon faces as a first-year quarterback in week three.
LSU will spread the carries between Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill, and do positive damage offensively. LSU’s defense gave up 17 points in the second half in back-to-back weeks starting out this season. LSU linebackers haven’t shown they can fully support the run with a sixth-straight game allowing 100 rushing yards, which would have a lot to say about this defense facing a threesome of backs for Auburn, the following week.
LSU will GEAUX the distance, 55-6.