- 5:10 p.m.: Not surprising but there are a ton of LSU fans here. Purple everywhere. The Tigers sold their allotment of 35,000 tickets and are expected to bring another 10,000 or more to the game. Wisconsin red is prevalent, too. The Badgers sold their allotment of about 13,000.
- 4:30 p.m.: LSU’s depth chart shows no changes, despite our reports of four players who did not make the trip to Houston. Center Elliott Porter remains listed as the starter at center, Rashard Robinson at CB and Maquedius Bain as No. 2 defensive tackle. We know those three – and Malachi Dupre – did not travel with the team to Houston.
- Match: No. 14 LSU (0-0) vs. No. 13 Wisconsin (0-0)
- TDP: 8:10 p.m., Saturday, NRG Stadium, Houston
- TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Todd McShay)
- Series Record: LSU leads 2-0
Players To Watch (LSU)
- RB Leonard Fournette: The No. 1 recruit in the nation makes his collegiate debut on the grand stage. Rumblings from practice and scrimmages are that Fournette has wowed folks. “He’ll do some significant things,” Les Miles said Saturday on College Game Day.
- WR Trey Quinn: Malachi Dupre was left home with an injury, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Quinn has been the guy running with the starters and making stellar plays in practice. He’s a strong, quick freshman from Lake Charles who has versatility.
- DE Danielle Hunter: Hunter has led fall camp in the “He Looks Like An Alien” category. His chiseled frame has LSU fans expecting the world from a guy who won a starting job as a sophomore early last season.
Players To Watch (Wisconsin)
- QB Tanner McEvoy: LSU doesn’t know a ton about the safety-turned-quarterback. He hasn’t played QB since the junior college level two years ago. McEvoy is known to be a speedy guy who can use his feet to make plays, and he’ll likely run some option.
- RB Melvin Gordon: A downhill back who can also outrun you, Gordon is expected to be the stiffest test for LSU’s defense. He’s a preseason All-American and a Heisman Trophy favorite. He ran for 100 yards or more in seven games last season.
- LB Derek Landisch: The 230-pound senior is the primary returner from a Wisconsin front seven that lost every starter from 2013. He had 19 tackles and a sack in a reserve role last year, but the Badgers are expecting him to lead the young D.
- UW RB Melvin Gordon vs. LSU defensive front seven: LSU’s front is a solid, deep and experienced bunch but Gordon likes to run between the tackles, and the Tigers have nothing but youth at the defensive tackle spots. LSU must slow Gordon to win.
- LSU running backs vs. UW front seven: The Tigers have a stable of guys – Fournette, Terrence Magee, Kenny Hilliard – to use against a Badgers’ front that lost every starter. That’s not to mention an LSU O-line that many believe is the best around.
- UW QB Joel Stave vs. LSU DBs: The Badgers are expected to use both QBs, and Stave is the passer of the two. He threw for 22 TDs in 2013. Meanwhile, LSU is down starting CB Rashard Robinson and will likely play freshmen Ed Paris and Jamal Adams.
By The Numbers
- 35,000: Tickets LSU sold to the game. UW sold 13,000.
- 4: Prominent LSU players left behind on the trip.
- 4: The number of quarterbacks who could play in this game.
How They Win
- LSU: The Tigers pound the ball, running for more than 200 yards in the game, and DC John Chavis’ front seven squashes the early Heisman hopes of running back Melvin Gordon.
- Wisconsin: Melvin Gordon has a banner day, running for more than 125 yards and scoring three touchdowns, while LSU’s offense sputters behind an inexperienced leader at QB.
- Best win: N/A (season opener)
- Worst loss: N/A (season opener)
- Sagarin strength of schedule: N/A (season opener)
- Record vs. Sagarin Top 30: N/A (season opener)
Last 10 (only played twice)
- 1972: LSU 27-7 (Baton Rouge)
- 1971: LSU 38-28 (Madison, Wisc.)
Longest Win Streaks
- LSU: 2 (1971-72)
- LSU: 27-7 (1972, Baton Rouge)