LSU vs. Oklahoma: What to watch for in the Peach Bowl
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A glimpse at the first College Football Playoff semifinal before Oklahoma and LSU face off in Atlanta on Saturday:

Need-to-know info

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta


Last meeting: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14 on Jan. 4, 2004, in New Orleans (Sugar Bowl).

All-time series: Tied 1-1

What to watch for

Can Oklahoma's defense do anything to trouble Tigers?

Oklahoma is in the playoff for the fourth time in five seasons, but it's never advanced to the national championship game.

One reason: The Sooners have allowed 37, 54, and 45 points in three semifinal appearances.

Oklahoma's defense is better in 2019. It improved from 112th to 64th in points allowed per drive under first-year coordinator Alex Grinch. But will the unit do enough to matter against LSU and Heisman Trophy quarterback Joe Burrow?

Burrow averaged 10.7 yards per attempt and threw 48 touchdown passes in 13 games this season. The Tigers ranked second nationally in points per drive. OU only faced one offense that ranked in the top 25 in points per drive (Texas, No. 21).

How will run games be affected by injury, suspension?

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Oklahoma's running back depth will be tested on Saturday. Rhamondre Stevenson, who ran for 515 yards this year, is among the Sooners suspended for reportedly failing drug tests.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts led OU in rushing this season, but the club will be thin at running back in the Peach Bowl. After Kennedy Brooks (976 yards), the Sooners' next-most experienced, available back is sophomore T.J. Pledger, who has eight carries for 62 yards.

The Tigers might not have it much better. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said Thursday that Clyde Edwards-Helaire's availability would be a "game-time decision" because of an injured hamstring. Edwards-Helaire ran for 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Which receiver makes the biggest play?

Two of the three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, including the winner, will share the field in Atlanta.

LSU's Ja'Marr Chase won the award given to the nation's outstanding receiver after accumulating 73 receptions, 1,498 yards, and 18 touchdowns.

Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb, a finalist for the accolade, might be the best pro prospect among all the receivers in this game. He caught 58 passes for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns this campaign.

The Tigers' receivers are deeper, with Justin Jefferson (1,207 yards) and Terrace Marshall (10 touchdowns) offering Burrow more options. Which player will affect the game the most?

Players to watch

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LSU: CB Derek Stingley (34 tackles, six interceptions)

Stingley is a star in the making. The freshman intercepted Georgia twice in the SEC championship game and could prove to be the best defensive player on the field for either side.

Oklahoma: LB Kenneth Murray (95 tackles, 16 TFL)

Someone on Oklahoma's defense will need to make a big play to spark an upset. Enter Murray, who enters the bowl with 8.5 tackles for loss in his last four games.

LSU vs. Oklahoma: What to watch for in the Peach Bowl
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