"It's Going To Be A Battle To The Finish"

One of Auburn's key defenders for this week's SEC West football showdown at LSU should have a major impact on the outcome.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior Rosegreen has never been one to back away from a challenge and that is what he is expecting from LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

The junior cornerback and safety will spend at least part of his night covering wide receiver Michael Clayton, a junior who Coach Tommy Tuberville says is one of the best players in the Southeastern Conference. How well Rosegreen and the Tigers defend Clayton could have a lot to do with AU's chances of reaching their team goals of winning the SEC West and the overall league championship.

Auburn is 4-0 in SEC play. LSU is 3-1. The winner of the showdown will control its own destiny on the road to Atlanta.

Junior Rosegreen

"If we win this game, I think this will be real big for us," Rosegreen says. "It would be the third ranked team we have beat and we will be riding pretty high. All we have to do is stay focused and keep getting better game by game and we will be fine."

Rosegreen and the rest of the Auburn secondary will have to deal with Clayton, who has caught 35 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns. Rosegreen has bumped heads with the 6-4, 200 pound junior and has been impressed.

"It is going to be a battle," Rosegreen predicts. "He is not going to shy from contact. I am not going to shy from contact. He is going to try to knock some of the DBs around. I remember my freshman year he kind of put some fear in Roderick Hood's heart and took him out of the game. We need to make sure he doesn't do that to another one of us. I know he is not going to take me out of the game. I am going to be coming at him and I know he is going to be coming at me. It is going to be a battle to the finish."

Kickoff for Saturday's game is at 6:45 p.m. and it will be televised by ESPN as Auburn looks to win its sixth straight game vs. LSU, which is ranked ninth this week in both major polls. Auburn is 17th and 21st in the rankings.

Rosegreen says his Tigers have to be both physically and mentally tough because they will find a fired up LSU team and fired up fans at Tiger Stadium. With the fans close to the players on the sideline, Rosegreen says LSU fans do their best to fluster visiting players. "They try to take you out of the game by talking trash in the stands and all of that," Rosegreen says. "You have to come in and be focused and get used to that noise if you aren't prepared for that noise you are going to be in some trouble." Rosegreen says he thinks his team can handle distractions. "Being that we have a pretty big stadium and we are used to hearing loud noises, I think we will be fine if we come in and play a physical game."

Junior Rosegreen could see time at either cornerback or strong safety this week.

Auburn has won three of its last four games vs. LSU, including a 31-7 thrashing of the Bayou Bengals last season at Jordan-Hare Stadium when LSU came into the game ranked 10th nationally. Auburn trails in the overall series 19-17-1.

"I know Michael Clayton is going to be ready and I am going to be ready," Rosegreen says. "He is going to give me his best and I am going him my best. The best man is going to win. It is going to be a 15-rounder. Whoever wants it bad enough is going to win the game."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Rosegreen says that his fellow defensive backs Will Herring, Karibi Dede, Kevin Hobbs and Carlos Rogers are improving. Rosegreen says he hopes this is the week he can finally come up with an interception. He had a close call in Auburn's last road trip to Arkansas, but was ruled out of bounds when he caught a Matt Jones pass in the end zone. Last year Auburn picked off four LSU passes in the lopsided victory.


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