LSU VS. CENTRAL FLORIDA GAME NOTES
LSU SPORTS INFORMATION
LSU (9-3, 5-3 SEC) appears in its first New Year’s Year Six Bowl on January 1 when the 11th-ranked Tigers face No. 8 UCF in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. LSU will be making its first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, while also playing UCF for the first time. LSU’s appearance in the Fiesta Bowl will mark the 50th bowl game in school history and the Tigers are 25-23-1 all-time in bowl games. LSU’s 50 bowl appearances rank as the eighth-highest total among all FBS teams, while the Tigers’ 25 victories stand as the 10th highest total in college football. LSU is also appearing in a bowl game for the 19th straight season, a streak that stands as fourth-longest in college football trailing only Virginia Tech (26), Georgia (23) and Oklahoma (20). Against UCF, the Tigers will face a Top 25 team for the eighth time in 2018. The Tigers are currently 4-3 against Top 25 teams, which includes three victories over Top 10 teams. LSU is one victory shy of its first 10-win season since 2013 when the Tigers posted a 10-3 mark. Overall, LSU has 14 seasons in which they have won at least 10 games. LSU has beaten three Top 10 teams only three times in the same season three times in school history (2018, 2011, and 1982). LSU has never beaten four Top 10 teams in the same season. Ed Orgeron, who took over the Tigers four games into the 2016 season, is 24-9 as LSU’s head coach. Over his last 41 games as a head coach, Orgeron is 30-11. That record includes a 6-2 mark as interim head coach at Southern Cal in 2013 and a 24-9 record at LSU. LSU is 7-0 this year when outrushing its opponent. Under Coach O, the Tigers are 22-2 when rushing for more yards than its opponent with the only two losses during that span coming against Florida in 2016 and Alabama in 2017. LSU is 15-1 under Orgeron when the Tigers feature a 100- yard rusher (6-0 in 2016, 5-0 in 2017, 4-1 in 2018 with the only loss being the 7-OT game against Texas A&M. LSU has allowed only 2 first quarter TDs (Alabama, Texas A&M) all season. The Tigers have outscored opponents 97-22 in the first quarter this year. LSU LB Devin White claimed the 2018 Butkus Award as the top linebacker in college football. White finished with 115 tackles and 12.0 tackles for loss. LSU S Grant Delpit became just the 9th player in school history to earn consensus All-America status in 2018. For first time in school history, LSU produced three consensus All-Americans in the same season this year (White, Delpit, CB Greedy Williams). LSU’s “DBU” leads the SEC and ranks No. 12 in the nation in interceptions with 16. Nine players have at least one interception this year. LSU leads the SEC and ranks No. 7 nationally in turnover margin at +12. LSU has gained 23 turnovers (16 interceptions, 7 fumbles), while turning the ball over only 11 times (4 interceptions, 7 fumbles). Joe Burrow is 9-3 as LSU’s starting quarterback and he joins Alan Risher (1982) as the only QBs in school history to have three wins over Top 10 teams in the same season. Burrow is one win away from joining Zach Mettenberger (10-3 in 2012) as the only QBs in school history to win 10 games in their first season as a starter. Burrow is the first player in LSU history with 2,500 passing yards and at least 350 rushing yards in the same season. RB Nick Brossette leads ranks No. 2 in the SEC in rushing TDs with 14 and he’s No. 8 in rushing yards with 922 (76.8 per game). LSU PK Cole Tracy ranks first among all active collegiate kickers with 93 career field goals. The graduate transfer kicked 68 at DII Assumption College and now has 25 to his credit at LSU, which leads the SEC and ranks No. 2 in the nation. S Grant Delpit leads the SEC and ranks No. 9 in the nation in interceptions with 5. He also among the league leaders in passes defensed (No.2 with 14) and sacks (No. 15 at 5.0).
CENTRAL FLORIDA NOTES
UCF has been rolling for two years now, having recently completed its second straight undefeated season and winning back-to-back American Athletic Conference Championships. The Knights have won 25 straight games, dating back to the start of 2017, the fourth longest win streak since 2000 (Miami, 34 – 2000-03; Florida State, 29 – 2012-14; Alabama, 26 – 2015-16). Josh Heupel has done a masterful job in his first season at UCF, becoming just the third FBS coach to ever go undefeated in his first season as a head coach (Larry Coker, MIami – 2001; Chris Peterson, Boise State – 2006). Heupel was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, UCF has scored 30 or more points in 25 straight games, the longest such streak in college football’s AP Poll era, which began in 1936. The Knights offense has been one of the nation’s best, ranking sixth in scoring offense with 44.2 points per game and third in total offense with 545.4 yards per game. The rushing attack, in particular, has taken a leap under Heupel and the new staff, setting a new UCF single-season record with 3,318 rushing yards in 2018. The Knights’ 276.5 rushing yards per game – led by Greg McCrae’s 1,101 yards on the ground – ranks fifth in the nation. The UCF defense – which ranks 24th overall allowing just 21.3 points per game – has had success in turning over its opponents in 2018. The Knights are eighth in the nation with 26 turnovers gained and third overall with a turnover margin of +1.17. In fact, the UCF defense has forced at least one turnover in all 12 games of the 2018 season and in each of its last 31 games, dating back to the 2016 campaign. That streak leads the nation by a wide margin, as Indiana is currently second with 18 straight games with a takeaway. UCF comes in at seven in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll heading into bowl season, and finished eighth in the final CFP Rankings. It’s the highest the program has ever been ranked outside of last year’s final ranking of six. The Knights have won four conference championships since 2013, one of just four teams in the nation to achieve the feat in the last six seasons. The others are Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma. UCF is one of just nine programs to play in three BCS/New Year’s Six Bowl Games since 2013, joining Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Washington.