10 things LSU and Texas have in common
The most eagerly anticipated game of Week 2 has No. 6 LSU visiting No. 10 Texas.
Both programs have a lot in common coming off successful seasons in 2018 that set optimistic tones for the offseason.
The similarities continued through the season openers, further enhancing the anticipation for Saturday night’s game.
So here are 10 things that LSU and Texas have in common:
1. Breakthrough seasons and New Year’s Bowl wins
Both teams took significant strides last season in their rebuilding toward national championship contender status.
Both teams reached 10 wins and won bowl games. The Tigers beat UCF in the Fiesta Bowl and the Longhorns beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. That set the stage for the eagerly anticipated seasons in 2019.
2. Preseason hype
Both teams entered the preseason with expectations that they could match if not surpass last season’s success.
LSU was ranked No. 6 and Texas No. 10 in the AP preseason poll.
3. Cakewalk in the first game
Both teams naturally skipped marquee openers with their head-to-head showdown looming in Week 2.
Both opened at home and won easily as LSU whipped Georgia Southern 55-3 and Texas whipped Louisiana Tech 45-14.
4. Comfortable with coaches
LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Texas’ Tom Herman have hit some bumps in the road as they enter their 3rd season on the job (not counting Orgeron’s interim gig in 2016), but both are more secure now.
Orgeron has a new contract and Herman just got his first opening-game win after losing to Maryland in his first 2 season openers.
5. Fast starts for QBs
LSU’s Joe Burrow and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger were outstanding in their teams’ openers and made early exits.
Burrow tied a school record with 5 touchdown passes and left after playing one series of the second half. Ehlinger’s 4 touchdowns tied his career-high and he sat out the 4th quarter.
6. Good starts for revamped units
LSU’s new passing game under first-year assistant Joe Brady was exceptional, leading the way to 6 first-half touchdowns.
The Longhorns have 8 new starters on defense and that group was effective, forcing 3 turnovers.
7. Ho-hum running games
For both teams, the passing performances overshadowed the run games.
LSU had 7 ball carriers and its leading rusher had just 45 yards. The Tigers finished with just 122 yards on the ground compared to 350 through the air.
Texas had 5 ball carriers and its leading rusher had 78 yards. The Longhorns finished with 153 yards on the ground compared to 301 through the air.
8. Played lots of people
The lopsided nature of the openers benefitted both teams.
Orgeron and Herman were able to pull starters, not just the quarterbacks, early. That allowed young players to get their feet wet before stepping onto a much bigger state this week and it allowed key players to rest up for this week.
9. Staying focused
Either team could have peeked ahead to the other and not been focused on their outmanned opponent in the opener. But neither did and that’s a good sign for both this week as the hype builds.
10. Big-time opportunity
Both teams have put themselves in position to further enhance the notion that they are close to regaining the elite status that their programs once had.
The winner figures to move up in the polls and potentially flirt with a CFP berth down the road.
As for the loser, there will still be plenty of time and a rigorous conference schedule that will make recovering their Playoff hopes possible.