College football: 7 things to know about Wisconsin-LSU
College football season is here, and Sept. 3 stands as the first college football Saturday this fall. While there are plenty of great games to watch, the LSU-Wisconsin game remains one of the more anticipated games in Week One. But, before you watch this match up at Lambeau Field, here are seven things to know.
1. LSU owns the series.
Wisconsin and LSU, historically, have faced each other three times, and at the end of each, LSU has walked away the victor.
In 1971, the Tigers traveled to Madison with coach Charles McLendon. LSU’s quarterback Paul Lyons rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 165 yards and one touchdown to defeat the Badgers, 38-28.
However, in 1972, the Badgers traveled to Death Valley to try to enact some revenge, yet, this game left LSU with its largest victory over Wisconsin, ending with a score of 27-7.
But, the series doesn’t stop there. In 2014, a little more than 40 years after their first match up, the two traveled to Houston to play on neutral ground. Still, neutrality didn’t help the Badgers as the Tigers went back to Baton Rouge with a 28-24 victory.
2. Tickets for the game are considered the hottest ticket of Week One.
TBA by SeatGeek reported that the Lambeau College Classic featuring LSU versus Wisconsin holds the highest average price of a ticket—406 dollars—over the other Week One events. However, with Wisconsin’s campus resting about a two-hour drive from Lambeau, there should be plenty of Badger Red in the stadium, and from the looks of LSU’s Twitter account, there are many Tigers #LambeauxBound.
3. The offensive line for both teams will play a big role in the game.
In facing LSU’s battle-ready defense, Wisconsin’s offensive line will have to protect its inexperienced quarterback. If it can do that, the Badgers may post a win at Lambeau. However, in 2015, the Badgers’ o-line struggled early in the season, yet this year, they only need to replace a single starting lineman. Experience could pay off, but the line will need to be a wall against LSU’s defense.
For LSU, the line looks as solid as ever, and making a hole for running back Leonard Fournette as well as protecting quarterback Brandon Harris from pressure should be its two biggest goals during this game. If the linemen can achieve these goals, then the Tigers may be able to bring a win back to Baton Rouge.
4. LSU’s new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda faces his former team.
In 2015, Aranda led Wisconsin’s defense to top the nation as the most scoring defense and to finish as the second ranked team for total defense. However, Aranda now works under the direction of Les Miles.
From what has been reported from camp, Aranda looks to make LSU’s defense the best it has ever been, bringing new energy and a new style to the team. However, to attempt to lock in the win, the Tigers must stop Wisconsin’s running back Corey Clement, who looks to make the most impact on this game. He averages 6.6 yards per carry and is not a player the defense should ignore.
LM on Dave Aranda: He's been more of a personnel indicator and on their strengths. He left a very talented team and gave an overview.— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) August 29, 2016
Additionally, Aranda’s 3-4 scheme is exactly what Wisconsin faced in practice for the past few seasons, so the Badgers may have an advantage in experience with his style, making the game continuously interesting.
5. If Les Miles has his way, there will be no Lambeau Leaps for LSU.
During Wednesday’s SEC media teleconference, Les Miles reported that he will not tolerate any of his players participating in the time-honored tradition at Lambeau Field.
LM cont: But unless we get a ruling that says it's OK, right now our guys know not to do it. I understand their enthusiasm however.— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) August 31, 2016
A player does the Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown by jumping into the stands behind the endzone, interacting with the excited crowd.
But, not making the leap may be a strategic move to keep either team’s penalty yards down during the game. Rules prohibit excessive celebration as well as going into the stands to interact with spectators. If any player from either team takes the Lambeau Leap, the team can expect to see a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.
6. This is Wisconsin QB Bart Houston’s first collegiate start.
And Houston steps onto a field that former Green Bay quarterback and Hall of Famer Bart Starr, who Houston is named after, played for many years. While Houston is from California, he grew up with a father who was an avid Green Bay fan.
However, Houston is not the only Wisconsin player who grew up hearing about Lambeau Field. A number of other Wisconsin players were raised in the area, and the Badgers’ Twitter account has been featuring these men leading up to their opening game at Lambeau.
7. Many analysts favor LSU for the win.
While Wisconsin remains unranked, this isn’t going to be an easy game for the Tigers. The Badgers played in bowl games the last 14 years, and there is a reason for that. They may have a young offense, but the Badgers don’t lack talent. Clement seems eager to leave behind his 2015 season, and stepping into this game, he looks to make LSU’s defense work for the win. Additionally, a win for them would mean a huge confidence boost moving through the 2016 season.
However, LSU has a vested interested in this game as well, for a loss would cast a lot of doubt over LSU’s entire program. Still, it makes sense why analysts would choose No. LSU to defeat Wisconsin. The team has plenty of offensive weapons to utilize, and with a new-and-improved defense led by someone who knows Wisconsin well, it looks as if LSU may be unstoppable in this Week One matchup.
But, it is college football, and as many fans know from experience, anything can happen.