LSU vs. Clemson (6, 58.5)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 31, 2012
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL STORYLINES
1. The third all-time meeting between No. 7 LSU and No. 13 Clemson on New Year’s Eve in the Georgia Dome will be the first between 10-win teams in Chick-fil-A Bowl history. LSU and Clemson last met in the Peach Bowl in 1996, which was later retitled the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU won 10-7.
2. Clemson will bring the nation’s 13th-ranked passing offense to Atlanta. The Tigers are led by junior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who has thrown for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns and rushed for another 492 yards and nine scores. He’ll face a tough test against LSU, which ranks 20th in the nation in pass defense.
3. Every team in the SEC had a running back who totaled more yards this season than LSU’s leading rusher, but the Tigers still managed to finish fifth in the conference in team rushing. Jeremy Hill led the way with 631 yards and 10 touchdowns, with Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard combining for 1,207 rushing yards and 10 scores.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: LSU opened as 3.5-point favorites at some offshores and could be a touchdown favorite by kick-off Monday.
CONSENSUS: Over 60 percent of Covers Consensus players like LSU to cover while almost 60 percent are on the under.
* Clemson is 1-6 ATS in its last seven bowl games.
* LSU is 3-0-1 ATS in its last four December games.
* Over is 4-1 in LSU’s last five neutral site games.
* Under is 6-1 in Clemson’s last seven vs. SEC foes.
ABOUT LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC): Zach Mettenberger hasn’t played to the expectations many envisioned when the Tigers opened the season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches’ poll. Mettenberger, a third-stringer at LSU last season after beginning his college career at Georgia, finished the regular season with 2,489 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, leaving the Tigers 11th in the SEC in passing offense. LSU coach Les Miles has remained firmly committed to Mettenberger as no other player has attempted a pass this season.
ABOUT CLEMSON (10-2, 7-1 ACC): Boyd has had an assortment of targets to choose from this season. DeAndre Hopkins has been atop the pecking order, hauling in 69 passes for 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns. If Hopkins is covered, Boyd usually looks to his other starting receiver, Sammy Watkins, who has caught 57 passes for 708 yards and three touchdowns, or tight end Brandon Ford, who is third on the team with 31 catches for 411 yards and eight touchdowns. The team’s fifth-leading receiver, Martavis Bryant, is suspended from the bowl game for academic reasons.