Under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has found his rhythm and that has made LSU a very dangerous football team.
In three games this season the former Georgia signee has been impressive for the Tigers, completing 45-69 passes for 797 yards and nine touchdowns with no interceptions. That is a big improvement over his numbers from 2012, his first season as a starter, when he threw for 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
His emergence at quarterback has allowed wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to become one of the top receiving tandems in the country. After catching 56 passes for 573 yards and five touchdowns a year ago, Landry has started out on fire in 2013. In three games he has 17 catches for 246 yards and has equaled his touchdown total of five. Beckham has done much the same thing with 15 catches for 330 yards and four scores. The duo has combined for 32 of LSU's 46 catches this year.
While two receivers dominate in the passing game, the running game has been a committee project as three players have more than 150 yards rushing. Leading the way is Terrence Magee with 210 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Missing the first game because of a suspension, 6-2, 235 sophomore Jeremy Hill has 17 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Talented senior Alfred Blue rounds out the trio, rushing for 153 yards on 32 carries.
Up front LSU's left side is large and athletic with La'el Collins and Vadal Alexander both capable of dominating the line of scrimmage. Alexander leads the Tigers with 15 knockdowns on the season. On the right side tackle Jerald Hawkins is starting following a redshirt year in 2012 while center Elliot Porter had just one start prior to this season. Porter has responded well however with 14 knockdowns in three games.
Defensively, LSU is allowing 19 points per game and just 267.7 yards of total offense per contest despite losing eight players off last year's unit to the NFL Draft. Back to lead the way is senior Lamin Barrow. With 18 career starts Barrow is the most experienced player on the LSU defense along with safety Craig Loston and his 15 starts.
After those two LSU has just one other defender (Jalen Mills) with more than six career starts.
Coming off a season when he made 104 tackles with seven and a half tackles for losses, Barrow has 11 tackles through three games in 2013. Sitting out last week's game, but expected back on Saturday night, Loston has five stops in two games following a 55-tackle season as a junior with three interceptions.
The strength of the defense is in the middle where juniors Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson control the line of scrimmage for the Bengal Tigers. At 6-3, 309, Ferguson has already been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week this year following an eight-tackle performance against Kent State. For the year he has 16 tackles, one sack and two and a half tackles for losses. A preseason All-American, the 6-3, 294 Johnson has nine stops on the year and two and a half tackles for losses.
By The Numbers
*LSU is 39-2 in Saturday night games at Tiger Stadium under coach Les Miles with the only losses coming to No. 1 Florida in 2009 and No. 1 Alabama in 2012.
*Against unranked teams under Miles, LSU has a record of 53-4.
*LSU goes into the Auburn game ranked in the Top 10 for the 12th consecutive season
*Mettenberger has thrown for 250 yards or more in six of LSU's last eight games.
*With Miles as the head coach LSU has a record of 68-9 when allowing 24 or fewer points, but is just 12-11 when allowing 25 or more
*Normally strong on defense, LSU has allowed an opponent more than 400 yards of total offense just 19 times in 109 career games with the Tigers. In those games the Tigers are just 10-9.
*Since 1960 LSU is 229-61-4 in night games at Tiger Stadium and just 29-25-3 during the day. In games since 2000 LSU is 82-12 overall at Tiger Stadium, including a 63-6 mark in night games.
Offensive Depth Chart
LT 70 La'el Collins 6-5 315 Jr.
76 Josh Boutte 6-4 333 Fr.
LG 78 Vadal Alexander 6-6 342
71 Jonah Austin 6-6 324 So.
C 55 Elliott Porter 6-4 300 Jr.
77 Ethan Pocic 6-7 301 Fr.
RT 65 Jerald Hawkins 6-6 301 Fr.
75 Evan Washington 6-6 334 Jr.
RB 33 Jeremy Hill 6-2 235 So.
-or- 4 Alfred Blue 6-2 222 Sr.
-or- 27 Kenny Hilliard 6-0 233 Jr.
-or- 14 Terrence Magee 5-9 214 Jr.
Defensive Depth Chart
DT 90 Anthony Johnson 6-3 294 Jr.
91 Christian LaCouture 6-5 298 Fr.
DT 9 Ego Ferguson 6-3 309 Jr.
95 Quentin Thomas 6-3 290 So
P 38 Jamie Keehn 6-4 218 So.
K Colby Delahoussaye 5-10 169 Fr.