Clash of the Tigers
For the first time in recent history, Towson will line up with a Southeastern Conference opponent.
The 12th-ranked (FCS) Towson Tigers (2-1, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) will travel to Death Valley to face Louisiana State University, the third-ranked (FBS) team in the country and one of the teams currently in the national title discussion.
Despite the uphill battle Towson faces, it is preparing the exact same way it would any other week of the season.
“The fact that we are able to play a game like this speaks volumes about who we are becoming as a university and a football program,” Head Coach Rob Ambrose said. “10 years ago nobody would have ever thought this could ever be possible, just playing the game alone. As a player, the concept of challenges, both individual and team, it’s kind of what life is about. You want to test yourself against the best of the best and Christ, these guys are the best of the best.”
Aside from dealing with one of the top teams in the country on the field, the Tigers will also have to deal with the atmosphere of Tiger Stadium.
This season, LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has not had fewer than 92,000 fans in attendance.
There is no doubt that this will be the biggest crowd Ambrose and the Tigers have ever had to deal with.
“If it’s 90,000 people screaming and yelling, you’re not going to be able to hear,” junior cornerback Jordan Love, a transfer from the University of Georgia, said. “You’ve just got to focus on your keys, focus on your technique and just play football. At the end of the day, you’re on a 100-yard field playing a game that you’ve been playing since you were little.”
LSU is coming off a 12-10 win over Auburn last week and will be closing out the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday, at home, when the team faces Towson.
LSU is known throughout the country for their defense. They are nationally ranked in the top-10 of five categories. They are the fourth ranked total defense, allowing just 199.5 yards per game. This season, LSU has only allowed five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing.
The defense is led by two defensive ends who are both projected to be top-10 draft picks in the 2013 NFL draft, according to CBS Sports.
Redshirt juniors Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery have caused offensive lineman problems throughout their careers. This weekend, junior left tackle Eric Pike will have to deal with LSU’s troubling defensive line.
“We’re just focusing on the little things; making sure that we’re adhering to all of the details,” Pike said. “Those guys are really explosive, they work real well to get off the ball, they’re good with their hands. Besides that, they just line up, base fronts and come at it.”
LSU has won 40 straight non-conference regular season games, 20 consecutive games in Tiger Stadium and 17 straight regular season games, stretching over multiple seasons.
“As a team, we just want to go out there and fight,” Pike said. “[We’re] coming out with the mentality that we’re going to win. If you go in with any other mentality, you already lost.”
Kickoff is set for 7p.m. Eastern Time at Tiger Stadium in Louisiana and can be viewed on ESPNU.