July 6, 2020

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LSU is riding a perfect season win streak of 14-0, the first time in school history the Tigers have reached the 14-0 mark. The Tigers will be looking to notch one more in the win column on Monday night as they take on Clemson in the National Championship in New Orleans.

LSU is currently a 5.5 point favorite heading into their matchup against Clemson, and there are a few factors that can push the Bayou Bengals slightly over that favor, then others that can push them way over that favor. Here are a couple of things to expect while leading up to and watching the game on Monday.

LSU WRs vs Clemson DBs

The passing attack for LSU has been absolutely dominant inside-out. Moving Justin Jefferson to the slot receiver this summer has paid dividends for the Tigers. He had a huge showing in the Peach Bowl hauling in a College Football Playoffs record four touchdowns and 227 yards receiving. Clemson has struggled this year covering inside receivers. Don’t get me wrong, the defensive backs for Clemson have great speed, but that speed will not make you a good cover guy. Jefferson has been incredible all year long in creating space against his defender, and look for Jefferson to have another human highlight reel type game against man-to-man coverage.

Ja’Marr Chase has been a match-up nightmare for defensive coordinators this season. The 6’1 200 pound Biletnikoff Award winning receiver is one of the strongest players on the team according to Head Coach Ed Orgeron. “Ja’Marr lifts anything we ask him to in the weight room.” Chase has the vertical speed to stretch the field. I like the possible match-up between him and Clemson defensive back Derion Kendrick.

Terrace Marshall has missed playing time this season due to injury. But, when on the field, has produced and been problematic for opposing defenses. Marshall was back at practice this week and is expected to be a full go by Monday. Look to Marshall to have a big game if Clemson chooses to double both Jefferson and Chase.

LSU Pass Rush vs Clemson OL

Defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin cannot be blocked one-on-one by a center, and this plays perfectly into defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s scheme into creating mismatches along the defensive front. “We want to maximize matchups, we’re not overloading, we’re trying to get one-on-ones and win the one-on-ones.” Aranda said in an interview while at Wisconsin. Some of that defensive play scheme is still with him today. K’Lavon Chaisson is the current sack leader for LSU with 6.5 sacks and looks to add to that total in the National Championship. Senior linebacker Michael Divinity was able to rejoin the team after violating team rules earlier this season. Chaisson is the speed rusher off the edge that has been problematic for both quarterbacks and running backs this season. With the addition of Divinity, Clemson will have more to worry about. Ed Orgeron stated “Michael will line up more in our dime package.” having that addition speed on the field for the Tigers means a blitz could come from anywhere.

Speaking of anywhere, with the addition of having Divinity back on the field, this allows Grant Delpit to play closer to the line of scrimmage and also be a threat to blitz from the safety position as well. Affecting the rhythm and timing of Trevor Lawrence in the passing game will be a key to shutting down Clemson.

LSU vs Clemson X-Factors

LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and tight end Thaddeus Moss will be instrumental in this game for the Tigers offense. Much like against Alabama, Auburn, and Florida when the passing attack seems to be taken away Edwards-Helaire can prove to be the difference maker. Tight end Thaddeus Moss, has quietly become the most single season prolific pass catching tight end at LSU ever. Look for him to be involved in the passing game if Clemson tries to walk a linebacker out on him. For Clemson running back Travis Etienne is having a world beater season. The Louisiana native is a threat to take it the distance in both the running game and catching it out of the backfield. Linebackers Patrick Queen and Jacob Phillips could most likely be the preferred choice to spy Etienne.