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4-Down Territory: Playoff and New Year's Six Game Notes To Remember

1st Down: The Cotton Bowl: #10 Penn State vs #17 Memphis: For Penn State the key is to avoid the Big Letdown. PSU fans upset with a perceived Rose Bowl snub should be ready for a Memphis team that can score points behind a balanced offense. The Tigers boast a 3,500+ yard passer, a RB with 1,486 yards rushing and 532 receiving yards and a WR with 1144 yards. They use RBs as WRs and WRs as RBs to create match-up problems. How PSU chooses to play the match-up game will be one of the things to watch. When Penn State has the ball they’ll face a solid Memphis defense. The Tigers are Top 25 in passing yards allowed and passing efficiency defense, but allow a lot of rushing yards. If they can get PSU into long yardage downs they do have a potent pass rush. The key for PSU will be avoiding the big turnover and playing with high intensity.

2nd Down: The Peach Bowl: #1 LSU vs #4 Oklahoma: QB Joe Burrow has played a stellar season this year for LSU but has never played on the playoff stage. On the other side Jalen Hurts has been on this stage before. This could be a wide-open shootout given the firepower on both offensive units. For Oklahoma to win they may need to get a big turnover or a big play in the kicking game (perhaps even stealing a possession with a fake punt). The Sooners have suffered key injuries and suspensions so they will be short-handed. For LSU they must respect the threat that OU’s explosive playmakers present on offense. Jalen Hurts is a big QB and his physical running style can be the X-factor in this game. Last year Oklahoma fell behind early against Alabama before hitting the gas and trying to catch up to the Tide. If that is the case this year, forget about it. Joe Burrow has proven that he can make the clutch throws late in games while protecting a lead. In 5 years of the College Football Playoff the #1 seed has never won the title...can LSU break the curse?