Allstate Sugar Bowl Looks at Big 12-SEC 2015The Allstate Sugar Bowl secured its future through January 2026 with the announcement that it would host the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences in eight of the 12 years between 2014 and 2025. If the champion of either or both leagues is selected for the College Football Playoff, a replacement team from that conference will play in the Sugar Bowl. In the four seasons that the Sugar Bowl is not hosting the Big 12 and the SEC (2014, 2017, 2020, 2023), it will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.
After last year’s Playoff Semifinal game, this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the first as the official destination for the top available teams from the Big 12 and the SEC. To lead into the season, the Bowl is providing brief previews of each team in the leagues.
2014 Record: 8-5 (4-4, Tied for fourth in SEC West)
Athlon: Texas Bowl vs Oklahoma State
Sporting News: Outback Bowl vs. Michigan
Phil Steele: Peach Bowl vs. Florida State
ESPN (Schlabach): Citrus Bowl vs. Penn State
ESPN (McMurphy): Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin
AP: Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin
CBS Sports: Outback Bowl vs. Michigan
Leonard Fournette (So., RB): 187 carries for a freshman school rushing record of 1,034 yards, 10 TDs
Vadal Alexander (Sr., OT): Third on team in total offensive snaps with 757; second on team with 75.5 knockdowns; All-SEC Second Team
Jalen Mills (Sr., S): 62 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 5 PBUs, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Kendall Beckwith (Jr., LB): 77 total tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 2 sacks; took over starting role in week 7
Travin Dural (Jr., WR): 37 receptions for 758 yards and 7 TDs, including a 94-yard TD
The key concern for the Tigers remains at the QB position as neither Anthony Jennings nor Brandon Harris did much to pull ahead in the race last season. The Tigers only threw for more than 150 yards in one SEC game in 2014.
Key Early Games
Saturday, Sept. 12 at Mississippi State (8:15 p.m. CT, ESPN): LSU will look to bounce back from an upsetting home loss last season at the hands of Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs. With five seconds to play at the MSU 46, backup QB Brandon Harris rolled right and launched a pass to the goal line that was intercepted as time expired to hand LSU its first loss to the Bulldogs in Tiger Stadium since 1991.
Saturday, Sept. 19 vs. Auburn (2:30 p.m. CT, CBS): LSU will face off against Auburn for its second conference matchup of the season- the Tigers from Auburn are picked by many to win the SEC this year. Last year’s matchup was a brutal one for LSU as they were outgained 566-280 and went 0-for-13 on third down in a 41-7 loss against #5 Auburn.
Jalen Mills enters his senior season with more career starts than any player on the LSU defense with 39. He has started every game of his career, including all 13 as a true freshman in 2012. However, this is just his second season as a starter at safety after spending his first two seasons as a cornerback. Mills has six interceptions and 186 tackles to his credit for his career. Last season he recorded 62 tackles, 3.0 tackles for losses and five pass breakups, also adding an interception, a pair of quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Watch freshman running back Leonard Fournette run over a defender on his way to a 22 yard TD in a 23-17 win over Texas A&M at College Station. As a high school senior, Fournette was the winner of the 2013-14 James J. Corbett Award sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Corbett Award is presented to the top amateur athlete in the state annually.
LSU has played in the Sugar Bowl 15 times, including two BCS National Championship games. In 1959, they came to the Sugar Bowl as the No. 1 team in the country behind Heisman trophy winner Billy Cannon and pulled off a 7-0 win over Clemson. The Tigers would come back to New Orleans to fight for the title of No. 1 team three more times (2004, ’08, ’12) winning two of those three matchups.
In 2008, LSU turned in a very impressive performance in BCS National Championship game hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl as the Tigers defeated Ohio State, 38-24, for the national title. The Buckeyes drew first blood as Beanie Weels broke off a 65-yard touchdown run, followed by an OSU field goal. However, LSU rattled off 31 unanswered points to take charge. “We’re a team of fight, a team of destiny,” LSU’s Kirston Pittman said after the win. “There were people who didn’t think we belonged here,” he added as a big roar went up as Ricky Jean-Francois, the game’s defensive MVP, held aloft the Waterford, symbol of the national championship. “But you see who’s holding the crystal trophy now.”