For the first time in 15 years, the Notre Dame football team will head to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 as the Irish (10-2) clash with the LSU Tigers (10-2) of the Southeastern Conference.
LSU finished tied for second with Auburn in the SEC West. Auburn defeated the Tigers 7-3 in the third week of the season. LSU fell to 4-2 with a 23-10 loss to Florida in The Swamp. But the Tigers closed the season with six straight victories, including a 28-24 victory at Tennessee the first weekend of November and a 31-26 victory over Arkansas in Little Rock the day after Thanksgiving.
The Tigers (10-2), ranked No. 4 in the latest coach's poll, finished the regular season No. 2 in the country in total defense, allowing just 238.7 yards per game. The Tigers also rank third nationally in pass efficiency defense and fourth in scoring defense (12.5 points per game).
LSU's Les Miles is the first head coach in history to lead the Tigers to back-to-back 10-victory seasons.
Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,797 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, paces LSU's offense.
Russell has a trio of wideouts that have combined for 163 receptions. Dwayne Bowe, a 6-foot-3, 217-pounder, has 60 catches, a 15.2-yard average and 11 touchdowns. Craig Davis, a 6-foot-2, 207-pounder, has 52 receptions, a 15.1-yard average and four scores. Early Doucet (6-foot-0, 207) has 51 receptions, a 12.9-yard average and eight touchdowns.
The Tigers use three running backs—228-pound junior Jacob Hester, 223-pound freshman Keiland Williams and 250-pound junior Alley Broussard. Hester leads the group with a modest 415 yards, a 4.6-yard average and six touchdowns. Williams has 329 yards, a 5.3-yard average and three TDs. Broussard has 281 yards, a 3.8-yard average and four scores.
Hester's top performance was 64 yards against Alabama. Williams had 79 yards against the Crimson Tide. Broussard's top game was a 67-yard effort versus Fresno State. Hester leads the running backs with 34 receptions.