Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'No. 1, If By Air'

The college football season is coming to its climax and the games have been very exciting these past few weekends including a defensive battle between Southeastern Conference juggernauts LSU and Alabama, and huge upsets that have sent Oklahoma State, Oregon, Clemson, and Oklahoma basically out of the national championship picture.  That said, this Thanksgiving Day weekend serves up another dandy when No. 1 LSU (11-0, 7-0 SEC) hosts No. 3 Arkansas (10-1, 6-1 SEC) with obvious national title implications on the line.  The Tigers have dominated defensively all year, mostly due to the talent of the secondary.  The Razorbacks have put up big offensive numbers this year thanks to the passing attack.  It will be a battle of strength versus strength that will decide which one of these SEC schools comes closer to solidifying a spot in the BCS National Championship game.  Here are the top players to watch in that game.

Wright catches just about everything he gets his hands on.
Arkansas Razorbacks
#4 Jarius Wright - Wide Receiver
5-10 180 Senior Warren, AR
2011 stats:  61 rec., 1002 yds, 10 TDs

Wright is the most consistent threat for the Hogs pass attack and is quarterback Tyler Wilson's favorite target.  He has the ability to make the tough catches in traffic and frequently gets open in man coverage due to his precise route running ability.  The Texas A&M defense knows exactly how dangerous Wright can be as they were torched by #4 to the tune of 13 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns on October 1.

Claiborne attacks the ball at its highest point.
LSU Tigers
#17 Morris Claiborne - Cornerback
6-1 185 Junior Shreveport, LA
2011 stats:  40 tackles, 4 INTs, 9 PD, 1 kick return TD

While teammate and fellow cornerback Tyrann Mathieu gets the national acclaim as the top LSU defensive back, Claiborne leads the team in interceptions and is probably the best NFL prospect in the Tigers secondary.  His interception in the second half of the so called "Game of the Century" against Alabama November 5th setup the game-tying field goal and he also deflected a pass in the end zone that could have been a Crimson Tide touchdown

Other key players:
S - Eric Reid - LSU
WR - Joe Adams - Arkansas
TE - Chris Gragg - Arkansas
WR - Colbi Hamilton - Arkansas
CB - Ron Brooks - LSU
DE - Barkevious Mingo - LSU
DE - Sam Montgomery - LSU
RB - Dennis Johnson - Arkansas

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