The Associated Press- No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU, at Arlington, Texas., 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: LSU by 4½.
Series Record: LSU leads 5-2-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: LSU, which has won a nation’s-best 41 consecutive nonconference regular season games since 2002, gets a big opening test after eight defensive players were NFL draft picks. The Tigers have won a school-record 10 consecutive season openers, including wins over Top 25 teams at neutral sites in 2010 and 2011. TCU begins its second Big 12 season with a chance to make a big statement against the SEC. Six SEC teams ranked above the Big 12’s highest-ranked team, No. 13 Oklahoma State, in the preseason poll.
Experienced TCU defense that led the Big 12 against LSU offense with returning skill players and a new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the long-time NFL and college coach. While the Tigers return quarterback Zach Mettenberger and their top four receivers, they had one of the nation’s worst passing offenses last season. The Horned Frogs had a Big 12-high 21 interceptions, and return all five starting defensive backs in their 4-2-5 scheme.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LSU: With the uncertain status of leading rusher Jeremy Hill because of pending discipline for an offseason arrest, Mettenberger may have to depend on his arm. He threw for 2,609 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season.
TCU: DBs Elisha Olabode, Sam Carter, Jason Verrett and Chris Hackett are the top returning tacklers, all with 61-71 stops last season. They combined for 16 of the team’s 21 picks and 16 tackles for losses.
FACTS & FIGURES
The teams haven’t played each other since 1968. … Both TCU victories over LSU came in the 1930s — 3-0 at home in 1931 and 3-2 in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day 1936. … This is the second time for both teams to play in the Cowboys Classic in the opening-weekend game at the NFL team’s stadium. TCU beat Oregon State in 2010, and LSU beat Oregon the following year.
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