Scouting USC’s next opponent: the LSU Tigers

October 7, 2012 

GAME: 8 p.m., Saturday

RECORD: 5-1

RANKING: No. 9

SERIES: LSU leads 16-2-1

LAST YEAR: The teams have not played since 2008, when the Tigers won 24-17 at Williams- Brice Stadium, their fourth consecutive in the series. USC’s only two wins came in 1931 and 1994. They tied in 1995.

COACH: Les Miles. In his eighth season leading LSU, Miles has an 80-19 record with two SEC championships (2007, 2011) and one national championship (2007). He has won 11 or more games in five seasons and finished in the top 10 in each of those seasons. He is 2-0 against USC and Steve Spurrier.

QUICK TAKE: The Tigers lost their first game at Florida on Saturday, 14-6, which dropped them five spots in The AP poll. LSU’s only points came on a pair of first-half field goals by Drew Alleman before the Gators rallied for a pair of second-half touchdowns. The Tigers mustered 200 yards, 42 on the ground, and now must face one of the SEC’s top defenses.

TIGERS ROAR: By falling to Florida, LSU lost its first regular season game since the 2010 regular-season finale, a streak of 18 games. The Tigers also had won seven straight against teams from the SEC East. The last SEC East team to beat them also was Florida in 2009. … The Tigers have played 97 of 99 games in the Miles era ranked in the Top 25. … LSU has won a school- record 21 straight games in Tiger Stadium. This is the only home game for the Tigers in October. … The Tigers are 35-2 in home night games under Miles.

SC CONNECTIONS: The Tigers have one South Carolinian on the roster, but he’s a good one: junior defensive end Sam Montgomery (Greenwood). The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Montgomery was an All-SEC and All-American in the 2011, when he had 49 tackles with nine sacks. He played in high school alongside a pair of USC defenders — safety D.J. Swearinger and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. The two-time SEC defensive lineman of the week has 18 tackles, 6.5 for loss, and two sacks this season. He is on several award watch lists.

TIGERS TO WATCH

S ERIC REID: The 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior is one of the nation’s premier safeties. He led the Tigers with 76 tackles last season. Reid was named to the watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski and Thorpe awards. He has 32 tackles and one interception.

LB KEVIN MINTER: The 6-2, 245-pound junior leads the team with 54 tackles, 8.5 for loss. He had 20 tackles in the loss to the Gators. The veteran middle linebacker, a two-year starter, is on the Butkus award watch list.

DE BARKEVIOUS MINGO: The 6-5, 240-pound junior teams with Montgomery to give the Tigers a fierce combo at defensive end. He has one sack and seven quarterback hurries this season. He also is on several award watch lists.

QB ZACH METTENBERGER: The 6-5, 230-pound junior took over as the starting quarterback this season and has completed 89-of-144 passes for 1,174 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. But he has lacked consistency.

Compiled by Neil White

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