No. 6 LSU Faces Sam Ehlinger and No. 9 Texas in Big Week 2 College Football Primetime Contest

Posted on: September 6, 2019, 11:39h. 

Last updated on: September 7, 2019, 11:40h.

The biggest game in college football this Saturday will take place down in Austin, as the Texas Longhorns will battle the LSU Tigers in a top 10 clash of blueblood programs.

Junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads host Texas into a top 10 match-up against No. 6 LSU Saturday. Ehlinger is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate and could see his odds shorten with a win over the Tigers. (Image: UT Athletics/

The game is almost as historic as it is big. It’s the first regular season match-up between the two squads in 65 years, and it’s just the third game between them since 1963. LSU hasn’t had a non-conference road game against a fellow top 10 foe in nearly 50 years, when the Tigers played up at Notre Dame in 1970.

But these two 1-0 teams are more interested in making history of their own, and a win by either the sixth-ranked Tigers or the ninth-ranked Longhorns Saturday night will put them in the early conversation for a playoff berth.

I do like testing ourselves early in the season,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “I think it prepares us for our league (Big 12 Conference) and it’s a very deep league from top to bottom.”

Oddsmakers listed the visiting Tigers as the early 4.5-point favorites when the lines went out earlier this week. However, as the week progressed, so, too did the spread, as LSU is currently a 6.5-point favorite. The over-under for total points is at 57 on FanDuel, which also lists the Tigers as a -245 moneyline favorite. Texas, meanwhile, has +195 odds straight-up.

The game airs on ABC Sports at 7:30 pm ET.

Tigers Spread Tough to Tame

Neither team was especially tested last week in their openers. LSU throttled Georgia Southern 55-3 in a game that saw quarterback Joe Burrow throw for 278 yards and tie a school-record with five touchdown passes while completing 23-of-27 attempts.

How deep is LSU’s offense? Burrow connected with 19 different receivers in the contest. Justin Jefferson caught five passes for 87 yards and a score.

On defense, coach Ed Orgeron said linebackers Jacob Phillips, Damone Clark, Michael Divinity, and Patrick Queen will rotate in-and-out against a Longhorns offense that is just as potent as LSU’s.

“Dave (Aranda, LSU defensive coordinator) has not made a decision on who will start, but all four are considered starters in our mind,” Orgeron said. “They’ll all four play significant roles.”

Big Opportunity for Texas QB

Last year, the Tigers defense yielded just 338.7 yards per game, good for 26th in the country. While they held an over-matched Georgia Southern squad to just 98 yards total offense, they’ll get a stiffer test Saturday against a potent Longhorns attack.

Junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the Big 12 preseason player of the year, threw for 276 yards and four scores in last weekend’s 45-14 victory over Louisiana Tech. He also ran for 34 yards on eight carries.

A big game Saturday from the Austin native in a top 10 primetime affair could vault Ehlinger higher among Heisman Trophy contenders. Currently, FanDuel lists him as its sixth choice at +2000, meaning a $100 bet nets $2,000. Before the season kicked off last month, Ehlinger had nearly 7.2 percent of FanDuel’s handle bet on him, making him the fifth-most popular bet for the Heisman.

Orgeron expects to see more of Ehlinger’s versatility on display Saturday evening.

“I do expect them to run the quarterback more,” Orgeron said. “When he’s dangerous is when he scrambles, especially inside, not outside the pocket. He runs in between the tackles. He’s like the running back, so that’s where he makes a lot of his plays, especially in the red zone.”