Peach Bowl 2019: Carley McCord, the 34-year-old sports broadcaster married to the son of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, died Saturday in a plane crash on her way to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl where the Tigers were to play Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Oklahoma reached the College Football Playoff thanks to a 12-1 record, Big 12 championship and a little help from the Oregon Ducks. They toppled the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 title game, eliminating all debate about the nation’s No. 4 team.
However, the Sooners are still a hefty underdog in Atlanta.
While the Tigers have morphed into an offensive juggernaut under Heisman winner Joe Burrow, the game’s most interesting topic may actually involve LSU’s defense against Oklahoma’s most dangerous player outside of Jalen Hurts.
We’ve highlighted that matchup after providing the pertinent information for this year’s Peach Bowl.
Peach Bowl Information
When: Saturday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. ET
Live stream: WatchESPN
Odds: LSU -13.5 (via Caesars)
Key Matchup: CeeDee Lamb vs. LSU DBs
CeeDee Lamb deserves all the praise he’s received.
Recently named a first-team AP All-American, the junior receiver is considered the 10th-best NFL prospect in the 2020 class, per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. In all likelihood, Lamb will declare for the draft shortly after Oklahoma’s season is over.
So far this season, Lamb has 58 catches for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 20.8-yard average ranks first nationally among players with at least three receptions per game.
For good reason, OU quarterback Jalen Hurts will constantly be looking Lamb’s direction. The problem is Hurts will likely always see one of Derek Stingley Jr. and Kristian Fulton.
Stingley, a true freshman, joined Lamb on the first-team AP All-America list. The standout corner has broken up 15 passes and snatched six interceptions, two of which happened in LSU’s win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
True, he’s not been perfect.
Alabama star DeVonta Smith—who, like Lamb, is a first-round NFL draft prospect—torched Stingley for 211 yards in the November matchup, per Pro Football Focus. He also surrendered 107 total yards to Florida receivers earlier in the year.
But that’s merely two subpar performances over a 13-game sample. Stingley was otherwise outstanding this year while playing on the opposite side of Fulton.
According to PFF, Fulton ranked fourth nationally with an incompletion forced on 29.1 percent of his targets. The senior has notched 12 pass breakups and grabbed one interception.
Fulton has elevated his draft stock to a potential first-round pick, checking in at No. 24 on Miller’s latest ranking.
If the Tigers’ defensive duo is able to contain Lamb, Oklahoma must look elsewhere for its offensive production. While that’s possible given the Sooners’ overall talent, not receiving much production from Lamb will only obstruct their upset hopes.