On December 4th, 2016 it was announced that LSU (7-4, 5-3 SEC) will face off against Louisville (9-3, 7-1 ACC) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
This comes as a major disappointment for some who had visions of a National Title at the start of the season. It was also a big disappointment for those holding out hope for the Sugar Bowl, down the stretch. However, with player uncertainty (Kendell Beckwith’s knee and Leonard Fournette’s ankle) along with staff changes, a chance to go bowling is a welcomed site.
Louisville had their ups and downs this season, but this match up of a very potent Cardinals offense against LSU’s tough defense will prove to be a test for both sides.
LSU brings in a top 10 rushing attack, led by Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette; who combined for over 2,000 yards on the season. The Tigers’ Defense is one of the best in the country, finishing 6th nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 16.4 points per game.
Jim Thorpe Finalist Tra’Davious White, Arden Key, Jamal Adams, and Davon Godchaux should be on the Cardinals’ radar for players to know where they are on the field at any given time.
Heisman finalist quarterback Lamar Jackson is essentially Louisville’s Offense. He leads the Cardinals in both passing and rushing; and by the time the Tigers get to play them on New Year’s Even, he may also be the 2016 Heisman Winner.
On the other side of the ball, Louisville’s Defense should be as feared as the one in Tiger Stadium. Players to keep an eye out for there would be linebacker Devonte Fields and defensive back Jaire Alexander.
The Citrus Bowl may not be one of the New Year’s Six that the fans anticipated, but it is a good situation for the Tigers. Aside from the pay out to the university, being in a bowl game allows for an extra two weeks of in season practice time. It also gives us a glimpse of what Coach O’s post season preparation entails.
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