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Sugar Bowl Preview

January 03, 2007

LSU Tigers (-8, 56) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 8:00 PM EST

The Fighting Irish go into tonight's tilt with LSU in New Orleans as eight point underdogs. And if LSU's speed and power game leads them to victory, Notre Dame will have lost nine straight Bowls, a dreadful record no team in college football can match.

Quinn has enjoyed a stellar season for the 11th ranked Irish, throwing for 3,278 yards and 35 touchdowns. The senior has thrown for 300 yards four times and been picked off just five times, little wonder why he might be the number one pick in the NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Quinn is helped by Darius Walker and his 1,139 rushing yards. Wide receivers, Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzija shape up as two more potent weapons. While this trio will ensure Notre Dame is strong on offense, it is defense that is likely to prove their downfall against fourth-ranked LSU.

Although they finished the regular season with an impressive 10-2 record, Notre Dame's defense was torn apart by both Michigan and USC this season, two games that Tigers coach Les Miles is certain to have studied.

For LSU, tonight's game at the revamped Superdome is just down the road from their Baton Rouge campus, another factor that will weigh heavily in their favor.

The Tigers (10-2) are on a six game winning streak, and while they don't have a quarterback of Brady's reputation, junior JaMarcus Russell has had a fine season steering the Tigers' attack.

An emerging talent, Russell threw for a career high 2,797 yards and 26 touchdowns for a Tigers passing attack that finished 24th in the nation. There is buzz coming out of Baton Rouge that Russell may turn pro this year, and he is considered to be a high, first round pick just like Quinn.

A dangerous player with the ball in his hands is wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has formed a potent partnership with Russell. Bowe caught 60 passes for 912 yards during the regular season, including 11 touchdowns, and he's hungry for more tonight. Craig Davis and Early Doucet are two other fine LSU wide-outs.

As dangerous as they are with the ball in their possession, defense has been the foundation of the Tigers' successful season, and what Coach Miles will be looking at to pave the way to victory.

The Tigers conceded just 238.8 total yards per game, second best in college football this season. The secondary of LSU is particularly impressive, and they look forward to the challenge of facing the Irish offense.

Coach Miles has also emphasized to his players that they are very much playing for the state of Louisiana tonight, attempting to give something back to a community that has suffered so much in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Summing Up: The Tigers have an edge in power and speed, and with their defense able to slow down Quinn, a victory is in the cards.

Prediction: LSU 30, Notre Dame 17

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