No. 1 LSU (13-0) meets No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
LSU led the nation in total offense (554.3) with the help of Heisman Trophy winner — and Sporting News Player of the Year — Joe Burrow. The Tigers scored 47.8 points per game (finishing third nationally), and coach Ed Orgeron has a roster flush with All-American talent. That includes first-team SN All-Americans Ja’Marr Chase, Derek Stingley Jr. and Grant Delpit. The Tigers racked up five top-10 victories during the regular season.
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Oklahoma won a fifth straight Big 12 championship and is making a third straight Playoff appearance under coach Lincoln Riley. Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts leads a talented offense that finished second in the FBS in total yards (554.2) and fifth in points per game (43.2). Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is a game-breaker, and the defense improved under new coordinator Alex Grinch. Oklahoma, however, will be without starting defensive end Ronnie Perkins, as well as running back Rhamondre Stevenson and receiver Trejan Bridges, who were suspended on Wednesday.
There will be a surplus of first-round NFL talent on the field when these teams hook up. With that in mind, here’s everything you need for the Peach Bowl Playoff semifinal:
Oklahoma vs. LSU
Spread: LSU -13.5
Point total: 75.5
Moneyline: LSU -500, Oklahoma +380
LSU is a 13.5-point favorite according to Sports Insider. The line opened at -11 and has continued to trend up heading closer to kickoff.
Oklahoma vs. LSU all-time series
The Tigers and Sooners split two previous meetings — both in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma beat LSU 35-0 to cap a perfect season on Jan. 2, 1950. The Tigers, however, returned the favor with a 21-14 victory in the BCS championship game on Jan. 4, 2004.
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Three trends to know
— The Tigers are 2-1 against the spread in bowl games and 5-2 against the spread on neutral sites under Orgeron. They have the same record straight up in those situations.
— Oklahoma is 3-1 against the spread and 2-2 straight up as an underdog; it’s 3-5 against the spread and 5-3 straight up on neutral sites under Lincoln Riley since 2017.
— The Sooners played shootouts against SEC teams in the last two Playoff semifinals. They totaled 102 points with Georgia in a 54-48 double-overtime loss in 2017 and totaled 79 points with Alabama in a 45-34 loss last season.
Three things to watch
Hurts has two starts against LSU from his time with Alabama, and in a different scheme he was a factor with his legs, averaging 17 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown in those two victories. If he has similar success against a Tigers defense that has allowed 119.6 rushing yards per game, the Sooners will have more success in the air. Oklahoma’s rush defense isn’t that much worse than LSU’s at 132.1 yards per game, but Burrow can also be a factor with his scrambling ability. Burrow averaged 12.5 carries and 52.5 rushing yards in victories against Georgia and Alabama.
Five players in this game had more than 40 receptions this season: Oklahoma’s tandem of Lamb (58 catches, 1,208 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Charleston Rambo (42 catches, 734 yards, five touchdowns) and LSU’s Chase (73 catches, 1,498 yards, 18 touchdowns), Justin Jefferson (88 catches, 1,207 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (50 catches, 399 yards one touchdown), whose status is unclear due of a hamstring injury. LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr. (37 catches, 545 yards, 10 touchdowns) is yet another weapon. Burrow and Hurts will have more than enough opportunities to make big plays through the air.
Burrow in the moment
Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and has become the darling of awards season, especially after his emotional speech raised money for impoverished people in Southeast Ohio. Cam Newton (2010) and Jameis Winston (2013) led their teams to national championships after winning the Heisman Trophy, but those runs were before the Playoff era; no Heisman-winning quarterback has accomplished that since. Burrow already re-wrote the record book in the SEC — can he be the reason why LSU reclaims its place atop college football?
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Stat that matters
Oklahoma ranked 129th in the FBS with 75.08 penalty yards per game this season, and the Sooners have the worst turnover margin among the Playoff teams at -7. This team is capable of getting into a shootout with the Tigers, but a few turnovers and penalties could swing that in LSU’s direction. Oklahoma must be better in both departments.
Oklahoma vs. LSU prediction
The Sooners led Georgia 31-17 at halftime two years ago and trailed Alabama 31-10 last year. If the Tigers jump out to an early lead, then Oklahoma could be in trouble. LSU will put pressure on Hurts early after a few quick scoring drives, but the Sooners will respond and be within one score at halftime. Ultimately, it’s a Hurts turnover in the second half that opens the door for Burrow, and he closes it with a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. LSU wins a shootout.
LSU 41, Oklahoma 31
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