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|North Carolina defense to test LSU|
The LSU Tigers' offense, which was ranked 102nd in the nation last year, will get an early test as they face one of the best defenses in the nation in the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The game will be held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta where the Tigers have had a lot of success over the past decade.
The Tigers have won six out of seven there since 2000 with wins over Georgia Tech (twice), Miami, Georgia, and Tennessee (twice).
It's no secret that the Tigers struggled on offense last season.
Part of the reason was the inexperience of then-sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson and the underachieving offensive line.
If the Tigers want to kick off the season with a victory, the offense will have to be much improved.
This North Carolina defense matching up against LSU's offense is generating all the hype and a lot of interest.
North Carolina finished sixth in the nation last year in defense, and six Tar Heel juniors decided to come back another year instead of entering the NFL Draft in the offseason.
North Carolina has 21 returning starters and are among the favorites to win the ACC this season.
The Tar Heels fiersome defense is led by junior defensive end Robert Quinn, senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin, senior linebacker Bruce Carter, senior cornerback Kendric Burney and senior safety Deunta Williams.
Quinn is a Preseason First Team All American and is selected to be on a trophy watch for the following awards: Nagursky (best defensive player), Lombardi (lineman of the year), Ted Hendricks (best defensive end) and the Lott Trophy (defensive IMPACT player of the year).
Austin is up for the Nagursky, Lombardi and Outland Trophy, as well.
Carter is up for the Nagurski and Butkus, while Burney is up for the Thorpe award.
Williams is up for the Thorpe Award (outstanding defensive back) and the Lott Trophy.
To say the Tigers have their hands full is an understatement.
While LSU's offense doesn't match the credentials of North Carolina's defense, the Tigers have loads of talent.
LSU's offense is led by junior quarterback Jordan Jefferson, senior wide receiver Terrance Toliver, senior offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale, sophomore wide receiver Rueban Randle and sophomore wide receiver Russell Shepard.
Jefferson is entering his second year as the starter after throwing for 2,166 yards last year with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Toliver is coming off his best season yet after recording 53 catches for 735 yards and three touchdowns.
Barksdale is LSU's most experienced offensive lineman, while Randle is set to have a breakout season with Brandon Lafell gone.
Shepard is the offense's most dynamic player and should see plenty of playing time this season at different positions.
If North Carolina's defense holds true, LSU will need some big plays from their own Preseason All American cornerback, Patrick Peterson.
LSU and North Carolina will be a showcase game as kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on ABC.
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