- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

McNeese State (6-5 2014) at No. 14 LSU (8-5), 7:39 p.m. (SEC Network (Alternate))

Line: N/A

Series Record: LSU leads 1-0


Because of its annual haul of highly rated recruits and some top returning players, LSU is getting the benefit of the doubt from AP Top 25 Poll voters despite a .500 record in the Southeastern Conference last season and loss in the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame. But if the Tigers cannot easily defeat a team from the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, it’ll raise questions about whether LSU can return to contention this season. The Cowboys, meanwhile, could rise to the top of the FCS national rankings (currently 23rd) with an upset in Death Valley that would be one of the highlights in program history.


McNeese State’s defensive front against LSU’s experienced offensive line and a running game led by Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette. The Tigers will have to prove at some point they can move the ball through the air, but that won’t matter this week if the Cowboys can’t stop the run.


McNeese State: QB Daniel Sams is a 2014 transfer from Kansas State who is healthy following surgery to repair a thumb injury.

LSU: With his 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame and breakaway speed, Fournette is a proven big-play threat from anywhere on the field on runs, receptions out of the backfield and even kickoff returns. Last season, Fournette set an LSU freshman record with 1,034 yards rushing.


McNeese State makes its first visit to Tiger Stadium since 2010, when the Cowboys jumped to a 10-7 lead before LSU scored 25 unanswered points for a 32-10 victory. … McNeese is 5-3 under coach Matt Viator in season openers, including 2-3 against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision. … McNeese opened last season at Nebraska, losing 31-24 on a Cornhuskers TD with less than a minute to play. … LSU coach Les Miles begins his 11th season at LSU, where his record is 103-28. … Miles announced this week at sophomore QB Brandon Harris will start the opener after competing for the job with junior Anthony Jennings, who started all but one game last season. … LSU’s 49 straight regular season victories over non-conference opponents represents the nation’s longest such winning streak.

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