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LSU vs UCF in Fiesta


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A quick rundown of LSU's opponent in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, the UCF Knights ...

The basics

KICKOFF: Noon, Jan. 1 at State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.



RADIO: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; KLWB-FM, 103.7

RANKINGS: 7th in AP and coaches polls, 8th in CFP

SERIES: First meeting


RECORD: 12-0 (8-0 American Athletic Conference)

RECENT RESULTS: Defeated Cincinnati 38-13, defeated South Florida 38-10, defeated Memphis 56-41 (AAC championship game)

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Quarterback Daniel Mack, running back Greg McCrae, wide receiver Gabriel Davis

DEFENSIVE LEADERS: Free safety Richie Grant, weak linebacker Nate Evans, defensive end Titus Davis

RUMBLINGS: When UCF meets up with LSU on New Year's Day, it will have been 744 days since its last loss — a 31-13 setback to Arkansas State in the 2016 Cure Bowl. Convinced they were snubbed by the CFP committee for the second year in a row despite owning a nation's-best 25-game winning streak, first-year coach Josh Heupel and his Knights will no doubt have a chip on their shoulder when they go against the Tigers.


UCF is still coping with the loss of star quarterback McKenzie Milton to a season-ending ankle injury, but Mack threw for 348 yards and two TDs in the win over Memphis on Saturday. McCrae has rushed for 1,101 yards and a 9.0 average for a balanced attack that nets 276.5 yards rushing — sixth in the FBS — and 268.9 yards passing per game. They average 44.2 points per game and have scored at least 30 points in 27 consecutive games.


The rest of the story is here:


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11 hours ago, Fishhead said:

Really? This has Louisville written all over it to me. 

this one doesn’t really remind me of anything. 

Louisville had the excitement of going against the Heisman winner.  O’s first game without interim tag, etc. 


this, well it kinda just is. 

a group of 5 team nobody really knows about who is starting their freshman backup QB. 

with half our defense missing. 

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58 minutes ago, LSUDad said:

Like most of the season. With suspension, injuries, etc. Same could be said for the OL at times. 


we’ll be missing Greedy, Fulton, Fehoka, Phillips (for a half), and likely Battle (for at least a little while). 

thats more (from production standpoint) than we’ve had missing for any one game so far. 

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LSU will be without nearly a third of its starting defense in the Fiesta Bowl, who will step up?

As the end of the five-hour classic in College Station came closer, the toll of seven-overtimes on the LSU players became clear

Michael Divinity was hopping off the field on one foot after a short-yardage stop. Greedy Williams went down with cramps. Rashard Lawrence slowly limped through the tunnel when the 74-72 loss to Texas A&M was complete.

A 12-game season finished by a grueling five-hour game wore down the LSU roster, as it would any team.


The good news is LSU had the past two weeks to rest and has nearly another month until the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

The bad news is LSU already knows for a fact it will be without three starters for the whole game and another for a half.

Cornerback Kristian Fulton (ankle) and defensive end Breiden Fehoko (bicep) are already ruled out indefinitely after surgeries. Cornerback Greedy Williams is skipping the bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft, and linebacker Jacob Phillips is suspended for the first half after a late targeting penalty against Texas A&M.

That’s on top of another month of practices leading up to the bowl, where more things could go wrong.

So as this highly-touted LSU defense goes into the Fiesta Bowl, let’s look at what Dave Aranda has to work with through these absences.



The big storyline here will be if Kelvin Joseph is healthy. The freshman and former 5-star prospect has dealt with a lingering hamstring issue for much of the second half of the season. He’s never been ruled out of games, but rarely been able to give much time.

If he’s available, he gives LSU a good, physical cornerback option.

After Joseph, LSU has two experienced options in Kary Vincent and Terrence Alexander. Both bring quickness and athleticism to the table but aren’t the big bodied or physical-type guys like Williams, Fulton or Joseph.

When looking back at the Texas A&M game, for example, both Vincent and Alexander usually held up well in coverage but got beat by Texas A&M’s large, well-built receivers like Kendrick Rogers simply making some plays over them with their size advantages.

UCF has a few receivers it throws to in the 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 range, but in general UCF has more speed and route-running oriented receivers. That could be better for Vincent and Alexander. Mannie Netherly is another option for LSU.

With Jacob Phillips out for the first half against UCF, freshman Micah Baskerville will have to step up.  Julie Boudwin, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune


Jacob Phillips already missed LSU’s game against Florida with an injury, so this isn’t foreign territory.

True freshman Micah Baskerville started in his place at Mack linebacker against Florida and played about how you’d expect a talented but inexperienced guy to play. He had 11 tackles on the game — three solo — with one shared tackle for loss. He also made some freshman mistakes and got beat a few times.

Baskerville would be the assumed starter there, but fellow freshman Damone Clark is another player to watch. He hasn’t had many reps at linebacker this season but is somebody LSU is high on. He just needs to develop.

Also, with the spread style UCF runs and the versatile way Aranda has used safeties like hybrid linebackers, it will be interesting to see if LSU uses just one inside linebacker sometimes.

Defensive line

It’s a major loss losing Breiden Fehoko for the season, but if LSU is looking for silver linings, his absence came at the exact right time.

Fehoko injured his bicep right as the guys behind him started stepping up on the defensive line. Nose tackle Ed Alexander got the start and became one of LSU’s most important pieces against Georgia on Oct. 13, the same game Fehoko first got hurt.

Meanwhile, Glen Logan has progressed into a solid player after a slow first six games, and Neil Farrell has proven he can play crucial minutes for LSU at end.

Then, nose tackle Tyler Shelvin lost weight after some issues midseason and has played well for the Tigers the final few games.

Losing Fehoko stings, but LSU has proven it has the depth to stay solid. It played well against Mississippi State, Arkansas, Rice and Texas A&M without Fehoko.

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