Tune in at 7:30 PM ET as LSU takes on Clemson. Rob Sturney will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
I'm Rob Sturney here with the Score's ongoing coverage of NCAA college football. It's bowl season, and tonight we've got the highly ranked defense of the LSU Tigers versus the powerful, Tajh Boyd-fueled offense of the Clemson Tigers. The big cats are fightin' tonight in the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
These teams have only met twice before in the 1996 Peach Bowl (now the Chick-fil-A) and the 1959 Sugar Bowl. LSU took both meetings. The Bayou Bengals are also 9-1 in the Georgia Dome.
LSU has the eighth ranked defense in the nation, but the offense improved over the last four games where they averaged close to 30 points and 400 yards.
On the other hand, the Clemson Tigers reached the 37 point mark ten times while rolling up school records of 508 points and 6220 yards total offense.
Clemson's main weapon is Tajh Boyd, their quarterback. He was the ACC Player of the Year, with the fourth highest quarterback rating in the land at 168.5. Now only did Boyd throw 251 passes out of 377 attempts, with 3550 yards and 34 touchdowns, but he also ran 157 times for 492 yards and nine touchdowns.
Boyd's main target is Hopkins who had 69 receptions for 1214 yards (14th in the nation) and 16 touchdowns. Watkins, who misses games because of off the field reasons, had 708 yards receiving.
Speaking of off the field stuff, the LSU starting punter Wing is suspended for violating team rules, so Keehn will do the hot hoofing.
The Bayou Bengals have weapons in quarterback Mettenberger, fantastic freshman running back hill - part of a platoon of good backs and wideouts Landry and Beckham. Watchout for fullback Copeland to block a lot and perhaps punch in a short distance touchdown.
Who are the defensive stars for Louisiana State? Well, start with an exceptional defensive line. Mingo, Logan and Montgomery all bring it. Linebackers Minter and Barrow plug the gaps. First team all-American Reid is a free safety Clemson will have to watch out for.
Besides the obvious story of the immovable object versus the irresistible force, there's the issue of turnovers. Eleven of Clemson's 19 turnovers came over the last four games, including their regular season loss to South Carolina. The LSU Tigers forced 31 turnovers.
Last year LSU lost to 'Bama in the BSC title game, while Clemson got roughed up 70-33 by West Virginia in the Rose Bowl.
Each team had two regular season losses, Clemson to Florida State and South Carolina, LSU to Florida and Alabama.
Now, since I live in northern British Columbia, Canada, I've never eaten at a Chick-fil-A, but I've been told it's good. Better than Five Guys?
Four of LSU's running backs had over 350 yards. They lost Blue for the last nine games with a knee injury. HIll, Ware, Hilliard and Ford will pound it.
I see that LSU are wearing their white jerseys and gold pants. Clemson must be wearing the all orange, I reckon.
If Clemson wins their 11th game of the season tonight, it'll be the first time since their 12-0 national championship in 1981 when they beat Nebraska. I remember watching that game at the age of 13.
This is the Bayou Bengals' 13th straight bowl appearance. They are 5-0 in the Peach/Chick-fil-A Bowl.
I think this is going to be a very good game. Ah, I see it's orange jerseys and white pants for Clemson.
We're not too far from the kickoff in Atlanta.
There are tiny parachutes raining down in the Georgia Dome. Chick-fil-A products?
Tajh Boyd hopes to spring back from that loss to the Gamecocks. He was less than 50% in completions and had two picks with one touchdown.
All right, here we go. Hairston will kick off to Watkins of Clemson.
CLE 1st and 10 (CLE 25): Ellington gets the call on the first play and staggers for three.
CLE 2nd and 7: FUMBLE. Mingo created it! LSU has it. It was a handoff to Watkins.
Loston made the recovery.
LSU 1st and 10: Watkins is down. Mingo was there in the backfield tout de suite
Watkins is still down but is finally being pulled up to his feet. He is stricken. Right leg.
I don't think he'll be coming back.
LSU 1st and 10 (CLE 23): Hill scuttles through a nice hole for a gain of seven.
TOUCHDOWN LSU. Hill got the call again and it's very quickly 6-0 for the Bayou Bengals.
Here's Alleman with the extra point. GOOD. Hill got the toss back, was patient and steamed into the endzone.
They'll want to respond right away. Humphries, Bryant and Ford will have to step up in Watkins' absence.