What is LSU football paying non-conference opponents? The 5 largest deals from last 5 years
The date of the matchup was moved up a week in 2020 from Oct. 1 to Sept. 24. But nevertheless, the game will happen Saturday (6:30 p.m., ESPN+) in Tiger Stadium.
This isn't the first time LSU (2-1) has agreed to dole out a large sum of money to face a nonconference foe. The Tigers also signed deals that would pay Southern $700,000 and UAB $1.75 million to face them this season.
Here's a look at the five largest deals LSU has paid to nonconference football opponents in the last five years.
The list does not include home and home or consecutive neutral site matchups between LSU and a nonconference opponent. For example, LSU is scheduled to play Florida State again in 2023 after facing the Seminoles to kick off the 2022 season.
5. Rice and Louisiana Monroe (tie): $1.4 million
LSU signed deals with both Rice in 2015 and Louisiana Monroe in 2017 to travel to Baton Rouge for matchups in 2018 and 2021, respectively.
The Tigers won both games but struggled against ULM, scrapping by to defeat the Warhawks, 27-14. LSU took a 17-0 lead in the second quarter but failed to extend its advantage after a touchdown pass from ULM quarterback Rhett Rodriguez made it a 10-point game at halftime.
The Tigers easily took care of Rice, jumping out to a 28-3 halftime lead and won 42-10.
4. Central Michigan: $1.45 million
The Tigers agreed to a deal with Central Michigan in 2017 for a game in 2021.
The game itself was never in question for LSU. The Tigers built a 35-7 lead at halftime thanks to four touchdown passes from Johnson and a fumble recovery returned for six points by defensive end Andre Anthony. LSU won 49-21.
3. Utah State: $1.5 million
In 2016, LSU agreed to a deal that would pay the Aggies to come to Baton Rouge in 2019.
As for the game itself, LSU beat Utah State with ease, 42-6. Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 344 yards and five touchdowns, Justin Jefferson hauled in two touchdowns and had 155 receiving yards and the Tigers' defense snatched three interceptions.
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2. New Mexico: $1.6 million
The Lobos' trip to Tiger Stadium this week will be the first matchup between the two teams.
New Mexico has a 2-1 record this year after defeating Maine and UTEP. The Lobos' loss came to Boise State in Week 2, a 31-14 defeat at home.
Coach Danny Gonzales' defense has been excellent, holding opponents to just 13.7 points. But since Gonzales was hired in 2020, New Mexico has yet to find any consistent success.
The Lobos went 2-5 in his first season and 3-9 last year. The offense was also woefully bad in 2021, averaging just 12.2 points which finished last in the FBS.
1. UAB: $1.75 million
LSU will play the Blazers on Nov. 19 after the two sides signed a deal to face each other in 2019.
UAB has been a consistent contender under coach Bill Clark. The Blazers have reached four bowl games in the last six seasons, were Conference USA champions in 2018 and won the Independence Bowl over BYU last year.
But Clark retired before the season started due to chronic back problems and was replaced by interim coach Bryant Vincent. Under Vincent, the Blazers are 2-1 with wins over Alabama A&M and Georgia Southern and a seven-point loss to Liberty.
LSU football game contracts since 2017
2017 - UT Chattanooga, $500,000
2017 - Troy, $985,000
2018 - Southeastern, $500,000
2018 - Louisiana Tech, $1.15 million
2018 - Rice, $1.4 million
2019 - Georgia Southern, $925,000
2019 - Northwestern State, $600,000
2019 - Utah State, $1.5 million
*2020 - LSU did not play any nonconference games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore canceling scheduled payments to UTSA and Nicholls State.
2021 - McNeese State, $750,000
2021 - Central Michigan, $1.45 million
2021 - Louisiana-Monroe, $1.4 million
*Game was not played due to COVID-19
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.