Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Preview
ORLANDO – Louisville comes into the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl featuring the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner. LSU enters the contest without a player many thought could be a front-runner for the award heading into the season.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy back on Dec. 12 and can now fully turn his focus toward the Cardinal’s bowl matchup with LSU. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ preseason Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette has decided to forego the bowl game to focus on preparation for the NFL Draft. But never fear, football fans. LSU still features sophomore running back Derrius Guice who could be a Heisman contender next season.
The duo of Jackson and Guice could put on an offensive display early in the day on New Year’s Eve.
Coming into bowl season, Jackson was ranked No. 4 in the nation in rushing touchdowns and No. 11 in passing touchdowns. The Heisman winner has been responsible for the second-most points in all of major-college football this season. He knows he is in for a stiff challenge against a stingy LSU defense that is No. 6 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16 points per game.
He was even thinking about the Tigers’ D while he was in New York for Heisman weekend.
“You’ve always got to think about plays,” Jackson said. “As I was going along with the Heisman, I was always thinking about football, too. I was ready to get back the whole time. It was easy for me to switch over.”
Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is glad to have the Heisman Trophy winner in his huddle. But he knows all about the challenge that awaits them.
“I know our guys will be up to the challenge,” Petrino said. “They’ve all watched LSU on TV and they know they’ve got … one of the best defenses in the country. I think we’ll be very motivated to play. LSU does a great job in their scheme … and how they go about wanting to run to the football.”
Speaking of running, that’s exactly what LSU will try to do with Guice. The explosive sophomore is No. 4 in the nation in yards per carry, averaging nearly 8 yards every time the Tigers give him the ball. He is averaging more than 113 yards per game, which ranks No. 17 in the country.
John David Moore, the LSU fullback who will be blocking for Guice, said his team will miss Fournette. But he emphasized that they’ll be just fine with Guice leading the way in the backfield.
“We have great backs with Derrius (Guice), Darrel (Williams), Nick (Brossette), Leonard (Fournette) and those guys,” Moore said. “They can step up to the plate` and give us a taste of what next year will look like.”
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron knows he has a great weapon in his backfield.
“He has an attitude when he strikes you that he’s wanting to go through you,” the new LSU head coach said. “His ability to jump cut, run to the left and jump cut to the right is one of the best I’ve seen. He has some Reggie Bush-like cuts. He’s bigger and stronger than Reggie was in college.”
With Jackson, Guice and two Top 20 teams in the house, Camping World Stadium will be the place to be for one of the best bowl games in the country on New Year’s Eve.