LSU football vs. New Mexico: Scouting report and score prediction
The Tigers (2-1, 1-0 SEC) are coming off an impressive 31-16 victory against Mississippi State last weekend, while the Lobos (2-1, 0-1 MWC) forced seven turnovers in a win over UTEP.
Here's a look at the matchup and a score prediction for the game.
Will LSU's offense get off to a quicker start vs. another 3-3-5 defense?
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In LSU's first six drives against Mississippi State defensive coordinator Zach Arnett's 3-3-5 defense last Saturday, the Tigers punted five times and fumbled once inside the Bulldogs' 30-yard line.
The offense improved as the game went along but couldn't break through until the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes.
But with another 3-3-5 defense coming to Baton Rouge this weekend, can LSU's offense make the proper adjustments and get off to a faster start?
While New Mexico doesn't have the athletes that Mississippi State has, it has the father of Arnett's defense: Defensive coordinator Rocky Long. Arnett worked under Long during his time as head coach at San Diego State from 2011-19.
Long and coach Danny Gonzales' defense – Gonzales also served as a defensive coordinator at San Diego State and played under Long at New Mexico – has been excellent so far this season. The Lobos have allowed just 13.7 points, 188.3 passing yards and 74.7 rushing yards per game.
Last week's exposure to this scheme will help LSU, but a quicker tempo earlier in the game, more quarterback rollouts that will get Jayden Daniels in space and simpler reads and fewer runs on first down – especially against heavier boxes – should allow the offense to get off to a faster start.
How much havoc can the Tigers wreak on New Mexico's questionable offense?
Not as much as last season, but probably a lot.
New Mexico had the worst offense in the FBS a year ago, averaging just 12.2 points and 235.3 yards. It played six different quarterbacks and had eight players throw passes.
So if last season for the Lobos attack was rock bottom, this season has indicated signs of improvement. New Mexico has played just one quarterback in Myles Kendrick, is averaging 27.3 points and has four players – other than Kendrick – with over 100 yards from scrimmage.
But don't expect this unit to trouble LSU's defense much, especially given how well the Tigers' defense played last week against Mike Leach's Air Raid attack.
Player to watch: Cody Moon
Moon, a redshirt sophomore linebacker, has already stepped up his play for New Mexico this season. He already has four sacks, seven pressures and four tackles for loss while becoming its Swiss Army Knife on defense.
Moon has taken 57 snaps on the defensive line, 59 in the box as a linebacker and 14 as a cornerback in the slot this season. His whereabouts will need to be tracked this weekend.
Score prediction: LSU 42, New Mexico 14
With the line at minus-31.5 favoring LSU, New Mexico has a real chance of covering the spread. Gonzales' team will play hard, and this defensive scheme has already given the Tigers some issues this season. But the Lobos' chances of winning are slim to none, in large part because of their offense.
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.