Smith, Tigers Face Another Tough Road Trip

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's leading receiver and his teammates will return to the practice field on Tuesday to begin preparations for another road test against a Top 10 opponent.

In game five, playing against a Florida team ranked third and fourth in the major polls and looking to avenge a 2006 loss to Auburn, Rodgeriqus Smith stepped up with a big game as the Tigers knocked off the Gators 20-17 at Florida Field in Gainesville.

This Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La., fifth-ranked LSU will looking to avenge a 2006 loss to Auburn while also trying to stay in first place in the SEC West.

LSU is 3-1 in the league after losing 43-37 in triple overtime at Kentucky while Auburn pulled into a tie for first place in the division along with Alabama as Auburn rallied for a 9-7 victory at Arkansas. Auburn is 5-2 overall and ranked as high as 17th this week.

To keep pace with the Bayou Bengals in the divisional race, Auburn had to drive for a Wes Byrum field goal that came with 21 seconds to play to give Tommy Tuberville's team a hard-fought 9-7 victory.

Auburn got the ball back at its own 47 following a kickoff return by Brad Lester after Arkansas had scored with 1:36 left to take a 7-6 lead. From there the Tigers went into their two-minute offense and moved the ball 50 yards in eight plays to set up the chip shot field goal.

"Me personally, I didn't have any doubt in my mind we could get the job done," Smith says of the do-or-die-drive by the offense. "We did it against Kansas State, we did it so many times. When you are used to winning, and have to get things done, you just get the job done at the end of the game."

Rodgeriqus Smith, a former walk-on, leads the Tigers in catches and receiving yards.

The junior wide receiver, who has 27 catches for 397 yards and three touchdowns, admits that the offense needed to play better prior to the final drive vs. Arkansas. After three solid performances against New Mexico State, Florida and Vanderbilt, the offense regressed vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks despite the last-minute success.

Smith says it is "most definitely" time for the offense to play better as his Tigers prepare to face an LSU team ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense.

Auburn's defense is ranked No. 2 in the SEC and has carried AU to a 5-2 record that includes four straight victories. "I think when the defense is playing that well and the offense isn't playing that well, we definitely have a lot of pressure on us to sort of match their intensity they have been playing with," Smith says.

"Coach Tubs (AU head coach Tommy Tuberville), he got on us kind of at halftime a little bit to step our game up like the defense was playing," Smith says of Saturday night in Fayetteville. "There was definitely a sense of urgency about the offense, but I think we have been doing pretty good. We started out tough at the beginning of the season and have been picking it up lately so I still think we will be alright."

Tuberville gave the Tigers Sunday and Monday off from practice to recuperate from a long trip, a late Saturday night and a physical opponent. On Tuesday morning the Tigers will begin installing the game plan for perhaps the biggest test of the season when Tuberville's Tigers travel to Baton Rouge for an 8 p.m. kickoff vs. an LSU team that was ranked number one nationally prior to the upset loss to Kentucky.

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