Tonight's game

January 03, 2007|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

Sugar Bowl

Matchup -- LSU (10-2) vs. Notre Dame (10-2)

Site -- Superdome, New Orleans

Time, TV -- 8 p.m., chs. 45, 5

The line -- LSU by 8

The game -- Notre Dame has lost eight consecutive bowl games and is trying to avoid becoming the first school to lose nine in a row. Irish QB Brady Quinn (35 TDs, five INTs, 63.4 percent completion rate) is the key to the Irish's hopes. He has an excellent trio of receivers in WRs Jeff Samardzija (70 catches, 11 TDs) and Rhema McKnight (64 catches, 15 TDs) and TE John Carlson. TB Darius Walker (94.9 ypg) is the main runner and also is a nice safety-valve receiver (54 catches). The defense has issues. In its two losses, Notre Dame gave up 91 points and six TD passes. And, frankly, even in some victories, the defense wasn't that good. The unit lacks speed and playmakers. Quinn has thrown at least three TD passes in each of his past five games and has 17 in that span. LSU has allowed nine TD passes this season, and just two teams (Alabama and Mississippi State) threw for more than 191 yards against the Tigers. As for rush defense, LSU held all but one team (Arkansas) under 114 yards and allowed just four teams to run for more than 100. LSU has 39 sacks (the Irish have allowed 30) and 67 tackles for loss. T Glen Dorsey, LBs Ali Highsmith and Darry Beckwith and FS LaRon Landry are the standouts. Junior QB JaMarcus Russell has all the tools, but he doesn't always make the right decision; he threw 26 TD passes but just one (against three interceptions) in the two losses. He can be pressured into mistakes, but can Notre Dame get in his face consistently?

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