Anthony Jennings was thrown to the fire in relief of the injured Zach Mettenberger with LSU trailing at home vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Tiger’s regular season finale, but showed poise and confidence in leading LSU to the comeback win.
With the news of Mettenberger’s torn ACL ending his season prematurely and Jennings now the starter, the pressure is on him to lead the team to a win in the Outback Bowl vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes in his first career start.
As a freshman with limited playing experience it stands to reason how much of a grasp he has on the playbook, but after one practice head coach Les Miles said in his press conference to the media on Monday, “There’s not going to be any pieces of what we do that he won’t be able to do.”
Sometimes an offense can be pared back and quarterbacks won’t be asked to make as many reads in the passing game for instance, but that’s not an option with star receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham being the keys to Cam Cameron’s offense.
As we would expect of the talented juniors they have been great teammates according to Miles, “I think the veteran wide receivers are enjoying him because he’s working hard to get them the ball and doing a good job. I think there’s some get-after in supporting.”
I think Jennings is going to provide a little wrinkle to the LSU offense that we haven’t seen the past two seasons with Mettenberger under center and the read option will be an element that Iowa’s defense will have to be prepared to stop. The challenge for Iowa’s defense is there is little film on Jennings to scheme against the dual-threat freshman.
Miles on Jennings: “We should expect to see him play well.” #LSU
— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) December 17, 2013
Iowa has the No. 10 pass defense, allowing only 187.5 yards per game and the No. 20 rush defense as the Hawkeyes are allowing 125.4 yards per game on the ground, so they have they been fairly stout on that side of the ball all year.
Points have been at a premium for Iowa opponents this year as they have the No. 11 scoring defense, allowing 19.2 points per game, so it will be a challenge against the 8-4 Hawkeyes, but I agree with Coach Miles and think he’ll play well too.
Jennings won’t be alone out there and with Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee lined up behind him and the best wide receiver duo in LSU history in Landry and Beckham lined up on the perimeter and La’el Collins protecting his blindside, the Alpharetta, Ga. native should pick up where he left off vs. Arkansas.
[h/t to The Advocate's Scott Rabalais and Ross Dellenger for the quotes]