Scouting LSU: How The Bayou Bengals Win

Win the turnover battle, run and stop the run, control possession and tempo

LSU's Bennie Logan

(photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

LSU's Bennie Logan (photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

How LSU Wins

1. Win the turnover battle: Les Miles' team can put itself in position to win by taking away one of Dabo Swinney's keys to victory, and claiming one of its own.

During Miles' tenure as head coach, there's no better predictor of success than turnover margin: a 43-5 record, including a streak of 25 straight victories that ended this season in the Alabama game.

LSU ranks second in the SEC with its 1.18 turnover margin, and leads the SEC in interceptions with 17.

Turnover margin, and points off turnovers, have been a foundation of Clemson's success, as well.

Clemson has a 111-41 advantage in points off turn- overs in 2012, and Clemson is 8-0 when it wins that statistic. Since Dabo Swinney became head coach in 2008, Clemson is 26-3 when it wins the points off turnovers stat and has a 24-3 record when winning the turnover margin.

2. Run and stop the run: LSU excels at football's fundamentals. Forty nine times under Miles, LSU has rushed for more than 100 yards while holding its opponent under 100 yards rushing. The Tigers have won every game.

Both teams will come into the game wanting to run the football. Whoever wins the rushing battle will set up its offense for success throwing the football, as well, and will likely win the game.

3. Play defense with offense: A month ago, South Carolina provided a perfect model for stopping Clemson's explosive offense in their second half of the regular-season finale simply by keeping Tajh Boyd, Nuk Hopkins, Sammy Watson, Andre Ellington and Brandon Ford off the field. LSU has an offense built for ball control, and every time it extends a drive with a first down, it limits Clemson's opportunities for big plays. And the Tigers will need big plays to have a chance to crack one of the nation's premier defenses.

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