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We’ve known about the Texas Longhorns and LSU Tigers’ colossal matchup in Week 2, but now it’s finally here. Both teams are in the AP Top 10, and both have playoff aspirations. The winner is on the fast track towards that goal, while the loser needs a little help (though isn’t out of the race yet). Scheduling these early ranked matchups are good for both sides. Losing this early (as we’ve seen) doesn’t impact a team as much as it would later in the season. Texas (Oklahoma) and LSU (Alabama) are looking to overtake teams in their conference, making this game even more important.
How to watch: ABC
Start time: 6:30pm CT
Line: LSU -6
Location: Royal Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
Texas Longhorns keys to the game
- Ehlinger must be a stud
- Force Joe Burrow into bad decisions
- Start fast
LSU Tigers keys to the game
- Put bodies on Ehlinger
- Keep Burrow upright
- Ball security
Why Texas wins
Sam Ehlinger proclaimed Texas to be back after the Longhorns beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last year. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen, but they can make a big statement Saturday. Their quarterback will play a big role in determining the result. Ehlinger is a bulldozer running the ball, but also can throw the ball with accuracy. If he’s efficient in both aspects against the LSU defense, the Longhorns win. On the other side of the ball, Todd Orlando’s defense faces an underrated offense. Texas can put licks on LSU’s Joe Burrow, but that won’t affect him. Forcing him to make bad decisions early could shake his confidence, though. If Ehlinger’s effective and the defense can force Burrow’s hand, Texas wins.
Why LSU wins
The Tigers came a long way from the uncertainty surrounding the program two years ago. Now, they’re a potential playoff team. They’re the favorite in this game because they return plenty of talent. Joe Burrow’s an underrated passer who makes smart decisions, but must take some risks in this one. Texas will force Burrow to beat them, so he will need to take deep shots to keep the Longhorns honest. LSU’s line must give him time to make those decisions, as Burrow took way too many hits last year. If he can stay upright and beat Texas deep, there’s not much the Longhorns can do to keep up.
Playoff implications within a Top 10 matchup. Can you ask for more? Ehlinger and Burrow will duel, and whichever quarterback flinches first might give the other one a win. I’m not expecting a shootout, but I wouldn’t be opposed to one either. LSU 24 TEXAS 20