Breaking down the Bayou Bengals

LSU's Kenny Hilliard

(photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

LSU's Kenny Hilliard (photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

The Good

The Bayou Bengals allow just 16.9 points per game, giving them the 11th best scoring defense in the nation.

Linebacker Kevin Minter has been a human torpedo for LSU, registering 11 tackles (48 solo), 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Linebacker Lamin Barrow and safety Eric Reid have been in on 92 and 81 tackles, respectively, and Greenwood’s Sam Montgomery is a force from his defensive end spot.

In all the “D” has 18 interceptions and has recovered 13 fumbles.

Venables: LSU 'great technicians' at what they do


Yet while defense is the hallmark of this team, the Tigers can generate plenty of offense as well.

Zach Mettenberger has thrown for 2,489 yards and 11 touchdowns with five pass-catchers boasting at least 200 receiving yards.

Jarvis Landry leads the way with 52 receptions for 536 yards and four scores.

These Tigers use a committee approach to a ground game that racks up 179.9 yards per game. Jeremy Hill paces the corps with 651 yards on 130 carries and 10 touchdowns.

The Bad

Not much to complain about, considering LSU has suffered two losses by a combined 12 points to one team playing for the BCS National Championship (Alabama) and another in a BCS bowl (Florida).

The Tigers have suffered through bouts of inconsistency, such as a shaky 12-10 win against a horrid Auburn team and inexplicable 38-22 struggle with Towson State, but they enter the bowl season as a club very few teams are anxious to play.

The Skinny

LSU turned in one of its worst postseason showings in history in last year’s BCS National Championship Game loss to Alabama, and Les Miles wants to make amends Monday in Atlanta.

Obviously the stakes aren’t as high in the Chick-fil-A Bowl but LSU coaches and players have approached this game with serious intent.

The Bayou Bengals haven’t lost to a team outside the SEC since a setback to Penn State in the Jan. 1, 2010 Capital One Bowl, and they don’t want to see that streak end against Clemson on the last day of 2012.

If LSU plays up to its capabilities on both sides of the bowl, Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are going to have to have their best game of the season by far to win this battle in the Georgia Dome.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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