Not that they really need him against North Texas, but LSU running back Michael Ford’s academic eligibility issues have apparently been cleared up, and he is eligible to play Saturday night.
The university never specified exactly what the hangup was with Ford and linebacker Tahj Jones’ grades was, but last season’s leading rusher is ready to go. Jones, however, is apparently still not cleared. Again, not like they need either of them against North Texas.
The Tigers, the losers of last season’s BCS title game to Alabama, are 42.5 point favorites over the Mean Green (snicker). They will also be debuting quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who, if the hype is to be believed, amazed Chuck Norris with his arm. He is expected to be the first even moderately competent LSU quarterback since Matt Flynn.
Ford ran for 756 yards in 2011 with seven touchdowns while sharing time with Spencer Ware. Under Les Miles, LSU has almost always had backs splitting time, and historically, the less versatile the back, the more carries they got (see: Hester, Jacob and Ridley, Stevan). Ford may slightly break that mold in that he is the clear front-runner at the position so he will probably get the lion’s share of carries at least to start.
Even though he’s eligible, don’t expect a ton of carries. LSU will be up huge before he can get 20 to 25 carries, so his night figures to end early regardless. Besides, all eyes will be on Mettenberger anyway. LSU will rise and fall with his success this year.
The Tigers also have a tilt with newly resurgent Washington next week, a team much better than North Texas. So one wonders if the team will be totally focused on destroying a patsy in Death Valley on a Saturday night when no one outside of Louisiana is watching.
This game was also nearly canceled because of Hurricane Isaac as well, though the Tigers will be able to host the game in Baton Rouge after all. Several other Louisiana schools postponed games due to storm damage or weather concerns.