LSU has not turned the ball over in its first three games this season.
If Louisiana Tech is going to have a chance to hang with the sixth-ranked Tigers on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., it’s probably going to have to take the ball away from them.
LSU, the only FBS team without a turnover, is plus-7 in turnovers in victories against preseason No. 8 Miami in the season opener (33-17), Southeastern Louisiana (31-0) and then-No. 7 Auburn (22-21) last Saturday.
“It’s something that we work on very hard,” Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said. “It’s all about the ball. I’m proud of coach (offensive coordinator Steve) Ensminger. It takes all 11 (players) to protect the football — obviously some great decisions, good ball security by our backs. It’s an overall team effort.”
LSU’s victories have been team efforts as well. The defense has been outstanding, the offense has been good enough in both the running game and the passing game, and the special teams generally have gotten the better of their counterparts.
The one-point win at Auburn last week was the best example of a team effort. LSU’s defense made two interceptions, one of which led to a touchdown, and held Auburn scoreless in the fourth quarter.
The offense took advantage of the opportunity presented by the defense as Joe Burrow and Derrick Dillon teamed on a game-changing, 71-yard touchdown pass to get the Tigers within two points midway through the fourth quarter, and Burrow drove the Tigers again during the final moments.
Cole Tracy’s 42-yard field goal as time expired made the difference.
So far LSU has proven to be a much better team than predicted in most preseason projections. The Tigers were No. 25 in the preseason poll, moved to No. 11 after upsetting Miami, dropped a spot after the victory against Southeastern Louisiana, then cracked the top 10 after upsetting Auburn.
“Going into Miami week, a lot of people were like, ‘Uh, we’re going to choose Miami,'” LSU linebacker Michael Divinity said. “And we just came out there with a chip on our shoulder. And we just showed everyone that this is LSU football, and we’re going to fight.
“In (the Auburn) game, we actually showed what LSU can do through adversity. And at the end, can we fight all four quarters? And that’s what we did.”
Louisiana Tech (2-0) defeated South Alabama and Southern before taking an open date last week. The Bulldogs are averaging 42 points and 500 yards.
Many players from Tech and LSU know each other. The campuses are separated by fewer than 175 miles.
Tech cornerback Amik Robertson, who said he chose the Bulldogs over the Tigers when he was recruited out of Thibodaux (La.) High School, called this “definitely a statement game.”
“It’s a huge game, not just for me, but for everyone on the team,” Robertson told The Monroe News-Star. “I probably wasn’t the only person on my team that not only had an LSU offer, but LSU interest. LSU has passed on a lot of players on this team and they also have a point to prove.
“And not just proving to LSU, but proving it to Louisiana Tech that we can play with anybody.”
Last season, the Bulldogs proved they could play with another SEC school when they led at South Carolina until the Gamecocks prevailed 17-16 on a field goal with four seconds remaining.
“I’m not really proud that we lost that game, but I’m kind of happy that it did happen,” Robertson said. “Now we know what it takes — finishing at the end, make those important plays. We had a lot of busted plays toward the end, not at the beginning. That’s why we got to go into this game and play 60 minutes of Louisiana Tech football.”
Robertson said playing LSU is like “playing the Golden State Warriors.”
“You have to take advantage of every opportunity,” he said.