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LSU set to meet Texas for first time in 16 years

Kyle Riviere
Linebacker Damone Clark and the LSU defense will face a quarterback in Sam Ehlinger that accounted for 41 touchdowns in 2018. Photo by Chris Parent.

Ever since LSU's 2019 football schedule was released, fans have had their Sept. 7 matchup at Texas circled. Now, it's finally going to happen.

The game just got more appealing as 2018 ticked down. LSU ended up looking impressive in their Fiesta Bowl victory. Texas went on to roll over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. This resulted in both reams finishing the year ranked in the top 10.

And now, eight months later, both teams are still ranked in the top 10.

LSU is coming off of a dominating 55-3 victory over Georgia Southern last Saturday night. Texas is fresh off of a 45-14 blowout victory over Louisiana Tech.

The big story that came out of both wins was the new-look LSU offense.

Ever since the Tigers brought in Joe Brady as their new passing-game coordinator, they promised a big change on offense, and they delivered on Saturday night.

LSU worked out of the spread formation all night, running an up-tempo, no-huddle attack.

After just one half of action, they scored 42 points on Georgia Southern. LSU scored 42 points or more only twice all of last season.

Quarterback Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes in the first half. He finished the game with more touchdowns than incompletions.

In all, LSU had 472 total yards. They used five running backs throughout the course of the game, and they completed passes to 14 different receivers.

The only negative that came out of the Tigers' offensive performance Saturday night was the run game. They ran for just 122 yards and averaged just 3.69 yards per carry.

LSU will be facing a much more talented defense on Saturday night.

Although Texas gave up 340 passing yards to Louisiana Tech quarterback J'Mar Smith, they held the Bulldogs to just 14 total points. They also limited them to just 76 rushing yards.

However, it's offensively where Texas will pose the greatest threat to LSU.

The Tiger defense was absolutely dominant against Georgia Southern. Not only did they hold them to just three points, but they surrendered just 98 total yards.

But now they'll face an offense that's much different in style.

Georgia Southern ran the triple-option. They only tested LSU's secondary with 11 passes. Texas, on the other hand, threw the ball 43 times in their week-one victory over Louisiana Tech.

Look for the Longhorns to rely even more heavily on the pass now with their injury situation at running back.

Texas had already lost their third and fourth-string running backs heading into the season. Now, they are without Jordan Whittington, one of their top two backs.

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is also used as a huge proponent of the Longhorns' rushing attack. Last season, he ran for 482 yards and 16 touchdowns.

He also poses a great threat to the LSU secondary. In 2018, Ehlinger threw for 3,292 yards and 25 touchdowns, opposed to just five interceptions.

Against Louisiana Tech, he went 28-38 for 276 yards and four scores.

The player LSU will have to be most concerned about in the passing game is receiver Collin Johnson. Johnson is a huge target at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. LSU's top two corners, Kristian Fulton and Derek Stingley, Jr., are 6 foot and 6-foot-1, respectively.

In 2018, Johnson had 68 catches for 985 yards and seven scores.

But Johnson isn't the only receiver LSU will have to worry about. There were four Longhorns that had at least 43 receiving yards Saturday night against Louisiana Tech.

Besides Johnson, Brennan Eagles had three catches for 59 yards and two scores, and Devin Duvernay had nine grabs for 55 yards and a touchdown.

This will be the first time LSU has met Texas since the 2003 Cotton Bowl. Texas won that game by a score of 35-20.