LSU

LSU football vs. UAB: Score prediction and scouting report for Tigers' senior night game

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE - No. 6 LSU football will look to continue its winning ways in its matchup against UAB on senior night in Tiger Stadium on Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN2).

LSU (8-2) struggled but found a way to win last Saturday in Fayetteville against Arkansas, escaping with a 13-10 victory in below-freezing temperatures. The win helped clinch the SEC West title and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game (No. 7 AFCA Coaches/No. 6 AP).

Ole Miss' loss to Alabama hours after LSU's win clinched the SEC West crown for the Tigers.

UAB (5-5) is coming off a 41-21 win over North Texas. Saturday night will be its first game against a Power Five opponent this season.

Here's a closer look at the matchup and a score prediction for the final game of the year in Death Valley.

Objective No. 1: Stopping DeWayne McBride

The top goal for LSU's defense this week is clear: Slow down No. 22.

UAB running back DeWayne McBride has been one of the best ball carriers in the nation this season. He has 1,407 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. According to Pro Football Focus, the 4.28 yards after contact per attempt he generates on average is third in the FBS among running backs with at least 141 carries this year.

The Blazers aren't afraid to use McBride either, as he's 10th in the nation in carries with 204. Take away McBride and you take away UAB's offense.

Thankfully for LSU, the Tigers have played very well against the run in recent weeks after struggling at times earlier in the year against Tennessee and Florida. Over the last three weeks against Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas – all good to elite rushing attacks – LSU has only allowed 387 rushing yards on 113 carries, just 3.42 yards per attempt.

Getting back to a consistent passing attack

LSU's passing attack had its worst performance since the Auburn game last weekend, generating only 86 yards against Arkansas' below-average secondary. Quarterback Jayden Daniels connected on just eight of his 15 throws and completed just three passes that traveled more than 10 yards through the air.

After excellent passing performances against Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama, the step backward was a reminder of how the connection between Daniels and his receivers still isn't impervious.

UAB's defense has been good this season but it's still a Group of Five school with a below-average pass rush. The Blazers have generated only 114 pressures and 20 sacks this season. In comparison, LSU has 189 pressures and 33 sacks.

That means Daniels should have the necessary time in the pocket to make plays with his arm on Saturday. With only one game in between this Saturday and the showdown against No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, he's going to need all the reps he can get with his weapons.

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Player to watch: Trea Shropshire

Trea Shropshire is UAB's No. 1 wide receiver. He has a team-high 30 receptions on a team-high 54 targets and has 612 receiving yards.

With LSU focused on containing UAB's running game, Shropshire will have to consistently win in one-on-one coverage if the Blazers want to have a chance at winning this game.

Score prediction: LSU 31, UAB 14

LSU wins comfortably but UAB plays well enough that the game is still in question at halftime. The Blazers have more talent than New Mexico and Southern and are better than their .500 record indicates. All five of UAB's losses this season have only come by one score.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at kriley@theadvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.