Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#187 Central Michigan (CMU) vs.
#188 LSU
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a non-conference clash down in the bayou as the MAC makes the trip down to face the SEC on the gridiron. The Central Michigan Chippewas are on the road as they make the trek to take on the LSU Tigers Saturday night. Central Michigan rolled to a 45-0 demolition at home of Robert Morris in their previous contest last Saturday. LSU bounced back with a 34-7 win over McNeese State at home in their most recent contest last Saturday. This marks the first time that these two programs have met on the gridiron with both schools as FBS programs in their history.

Central Michigan Chippewas Facing Big Challenge in Death Valley

Central Michigan will get a second crack at a SEC opponent in this contest, having dropped their season opener on the road to Missouri 34-24. The Chippewas rebounded with an emphatic win at home over Robert Morris but they face an uphill climb in this one against LSU here. Against Robert Morris, Central Michigan broke open a 7-0 game by scoring 21 points in a 6:29 span in the second quarter to go up 28-0 at the half. The Chippewas rolled from there en route to the one-sided victory. Central Michigan held a massive 515-109 edge in total offense, a hefty 31-3 advantage in first downs and controlled the clock by a 36:31 to 23:29 margin in the contest. The Chippewas forced the game’s lone turnover but had great field position all game long. Five of their seven scoring drives started in Robert Morris’ territory.

This season, the Chippewas are 42nd in the nation in passing offense with 264.5 yards per contest while they stand 24th in the nation with 230.5 yards per game on the ground. Central Michigan is 45th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 34.5 points per game while they are 40th in scoring defense by allowing 17 points per contest on the year. Jacob Sirmon is 35 of 61 passing for 405 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Daniel Richardson (four of eight, 89 yards, two TD) and Tyler Pape (two of two, 12 yards) are next on the depth chart. Lew Nichols III is the lead back in the ground game with 36 carries for 214 yards plus two scores. Darius Bracy (eight carries, 94 yards), De’Javion Stepney (nine carries, 81 yards) and Marion Lukes (10 carries, 59 yards) have all seen some run as well. In the passing game, Dallas Dixon (10 catches, 156 yards, two TD), JaCorey Sullivan (10 grabs, 136 yards, three TD) and Kalil Pimpleton (six receptions, 65 yards) are the top targets. Marshall Meeder has hit all nine extra point attempts and two of three field goal attempts on the season. Strangely, he’s hit from 46 and 51 while missing from 28.

Central Michigan has put up some big offensive numbers but they’re going into a hostile environment, which could prove problematic. Sirmon has been sacked 11 times already in just two games, which is bad news considering LSU has racked up a dozen sacks in their two games. The Chippewas are going to have to find a way to keep Andre Anthony (seven tackles, four tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks) and Maason Smith (six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three sacks) out of the backfield or Sirmon might not make it through the contest.

LSU Tigers Seeking Second Straight Victory

LSU regrouped after losing on the road to UCLA in their season opener as they took care of business against an overmatched McNeese State team last week. The Tigers hope that playing in Death Valley against a smaller conference team can pay dividends here with a second straight win. LSU didn’t overwhelm McNeese State offensively but their defense did the job to keep them comfortably ahead in the game. The Tigers owned a 304-142 edge in total offense, picked up 17 first downs while allowing 10 and forced the game’s lone turnover. That helped LSU overcome a 31:30 to 28:30 disadvantage in time of possession. LSU took advantage of lousy punting by the Cowboys, who averaged only 30.9 yards per punt on a dozen boots on the game. That set the Tigers up with good field position all game long.

On the year, the Tigers are 51st in the nation in passing offense with an average of 255 yards per game through the air while they are just 116th in rushing offense with 86.5 yards per contest. LSU is 68th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 34.5 points per game this season while the Tigers are 70th in the country in scoring defense by allowing 22.5 points a contest. Max Johnson has completed 44 of 73 passes for 491 yards with six touchdowns against one interception. Garrett Nussmeier is three of 10 for 19 yard this season in a backup role. Tyrion Davis-Price leads the team on the ground with 21 carries for 68 yards this season. Corey Kiner (11 carries, 56 yards, TD) is in the mix as well. That duo will have to step up after it was announced on September 13 that John Emery Jr. would be out for the season due to academic issues. Kayshon Boutte leads the team with 14 receptions for 179 yards and five scores on the year. Trey Palmer (10 catches, 77 yards, TD) and Jack Bech (five grabs, 74 yards) are secondary options when the Tigers go to the air. Cade York has hit all seven extra-point attempts and four of four field-goal attempts. He hit from 55 and 56 yards, his season-long, in the win over McNeese State and is a weapon in the kicking game.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Both teams come into this one off of wins over FCS programs last week to even their record after losing their openers. The problem for Central Michigan is that they are the road team here and have to face an LSU team that started to get some things going in the right direction last week. The Tigers are always dangerous at home and, while the Chippewas hung in against Missouri on the road in their opener, this is a different situation. Central Michigan has had issues protecting Sirmon and against an aggressive LSU pass rush, coupled with the crowd noise of 100,000 people, it’s going to be tough sledding to keep him upright here. Ed Orgeron is going to remind his team not to underestimate anyone but seeing the issues the Chippewas had containing Missouri, LSU should prevail at home here to make it two straight wins.

Prediction: LSU Tigers -19.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Central Michigan has fallen under the total in both their games this season with totals of 58 and 45 points in their contests. That makes three straight games and four of their last five dating back to last season that have fallen short of the total. The Chippewas have seen the under hit in each of their last four games in September and in each of their last four contests on the road. LSU snapped a run of four straight overs with their game against McNeese State, falling 25 points short of the 66-point total. After seeing how the Tigers performed defensively last season, you have to think that they can keep Central Michigan’s offense in check and leave this one a few points short of the mark at the final gun.

Prediction: Under 60
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.