The Washington Huskies will find out if their bite is as strong as their bark on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
“They’re good,” quarterback Keith Price said to ESPN.com. “But we will be on our ‘A’ game. Trust me.”
Price threw for 222 yards on 25 for 35 passing with one touchdown last weekend as the Huskies defeated San Diego St. 21-12.
“I haven’t played that bad of a game in a long time,” Price said. “I just felt that I played a terrible game.”
Washington offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau, when asked by the Seattle Times if he was concerned at all about the crowd noise at Tiger Stadium impacting some of the younger players, said, “I’m really not. Really it’s going to come down to concentration and focus and making sure we communicate.”
Washington’s odds of having its ‘A’ game might be higher if the Huskies’ opponent this week wasn’t third-ranked LSU and if the game wasn’t at raucous Tiger Stadium.
It also might be higher if they would keep their mouths shut.
Don’t expect LSU to need locker room motivation for this game, but it cannot help the Huskies’ cause when they hand it to this hungry Tiger team and fan base on a silver platter.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo said of the defense’s effort against North Texas. “We were a little jittery and we missed some tackles; something that we are not accustomed to doing.”
Said Tiger All-American safety Eric Reid on his surprising error that allowed North Texas an 80-yard touchdown last Saturday: “It’s something I have to get corrected and not let it happen again. That’s how I try to be. If I make a mistake it bugs the mess out of me until I get it corrected.”
Needless to say, giving up 14 points to the Mean Green has likely bugged the mess out of every LSU defender and defensive coordinator John Chavis this past week. The Tigers will be chomping at the bit to turn the Huskies’ bark into a whimper.
“If we eliminate a 15-yard touchdown and an 80-yard touchdown, the reality is that day looks very, very dominant on defense,” LSU head coach Les Miles said.
Game replays show that Reid may have been to blame for the 15-yard touchdown as well.
“We misplayed two passes, but with some instruction and some correction it seems to me that we will be able to make those corrections.”
Expect the Tigers to be make those corrections and be that dominant team opposite the Huskies, and not because Washington is not capable. Rest assured that though Miles is playing it close to the vest with his comments about his defense to the media, in reality and at practice the Tigers have been motivated to get back on the field to show its true mettle.
They will be motivated to ensure that Price and the Huskies do not in fact play their ‘A’ game. They will be motivated to arouse a Tiger Stadium crowd accustomed to having an impact on the outcomes of big showdowns.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Mingo said–with a wry smile on his face–of chasing down Price Saturday night. “You give [Price] time he’ll make plays. He can also extend the plays with his feet, so keeping contain on him and distressing him as much as possible will be keys to victory.”
“I can tell you that we are certainly excited to take the field at Tiger Stadium yet again,” said Miles. “Every time you have the opportunity to do that you don’t take it for granted. I promise our team and coaches feel that way.”
This is the third meeting between LSU and Washington. The Tigers won 40-14 in 1983 in Baton Rouge and 31-23 in 2009 in Seattle. LSU will be seeking its 39th straight regular season win over a nonconference opponent, which would tie an all-time mark set by Kansas State from 1993-2003. LSU has also won 18 straight in Tiger Stadium and have not lost in their last 11 games against current Pac-12 teams, a streak that dates back to the infamous loss to USC in 1979.
On a more humorous note, for Tuesday’s practice, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian brought in a live, caged tiger to represent Mike the Tiger, whom opposing teams must walk by as they enter the playing field at Tiger Stadium.
NBC.com writer Ben Kercheval said it best when he wrote, “If Sarkisian really wanted to prepare his team, he’d have opened the gate.”