StatTiger: Analyzing Auburn at LSU

Stuart Carter (StatTiger) takes a look at Auburn's road trip to Baton Rouge.

Louisiana State (6-1 Overall, 3-1 SEC)

Offensive NumbersYards Per GameNational Rank
Rushing:232.110th
Passing:195.788th
Total:427.935th
Points:37.7 points13th
Defensive NumbersYards Per GameNational Rank
Rushing:687th
Passing:155.14th
Total:223.12nd
Points:14.1 points6th

Series Record Against Auburn: 21-19-1
Against Auburn With Tuberville: 3-5

Under the guidance of head coach Les Miles, the LSU Tigers are 28-5 and currently ranked at No. 4 in the BCS after losing to the Kentucky Wildcats. Once again, LSU is one of the best defensive teams in the country behind the coaching of defensive coordinator, Bo Pelini. The LSU defense is currently ranked at No. 2 in total defense and No. 6 in scoring defense.

The LSU Tigers are just as physical on offense as defense, averaging 232 yards rushing per game. Seven games into the season, LSU is averaging 38 points per game while allowing 14 points per game. According to the NCAA rankings, LSU is 32nd in the nation in terms of strength of schedule.

Last time out...

LSU dropped from its No. 1 ranking after the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 43-37 in triple overtime. The loss ended a LSU winning streak of 13 games dating back to the 2006 season. Despite the loss, LSU remains a strong contender for the conference crown as well as the BCS championship.

The Auburn Tigers extended their winning streak to four games by defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, 9-7. The Tigers accomplished the victory behind a stout defensive performance. Arkansas had previously averaged 338 yards rushing per game but was held to just 67 yards by Auburn.


Auburn receiver Rod Smith seems to have his best games on the road. The Tigers will need another strong performance from Smith against the LSU secondary.

About Louisiana State...

When you think of LSU football, defense is the first thing that comes to mind. Coach Miles has maintained the strong defensive tradition established by Nick Saban. Over the past five seasons, LSU has been ranked now lower than 3rd nationally in total defense and were No. 8 in 2002. Six different players currently have more than 30 tackles on the season with safety Craig Steltz leading the team with 49 stops. Glenn Dorsey and Kirston Pittman, who have combined for 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, anchor the LSU front four. The LSU defense is attack-oriented with 20 sacks on the season to go along with 13 interceptions.

Running back Jacob Hester leads LSU in rushing with 494 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Flynn takes the majority of snaps behind center but Ryan Perrilloux actually leads the team with six touchdown passes on just 40 pass attempts. Brandon LaFell leads all receivers with 27 receptions for 394 yards.

LSU is dead last in the SEC in punt returns and 109th in the nation with 49 yards on nine returns. Trindon Holliday has returned nine kickoffs for 230 yards through seven games. Punter Patrick Fisher has averaged 42.9 yards per punt and place-kicker Colt David has connected on 11 of 16 field goal attempts.

About Auburn...

Over the last five games, the Auburn running attack has averaged 194 yards, led by Ben Tate's 597 yards on 125 carries. The return of Brad Lester has sparked the Auburn running game, giving the Tigers three solid tailbacks to rotate. Brandon Cox has completed 59 percent of his 160 pass attempts but his 7-to-4 interception to touchdown ratio has not been good. Of course, six of his interceptions came during the first three games of the season.


The Auburn rushing attack is getting better each week, but can it run on LSU's defense?

Auburn leading receiver Rod Smith has 27 receptions for nearly 400 yards and Montez Billings has hauled in 10 receptions over the last three games. The combination of punters, Ryan Shoemaker and Patrick Tatum has Auburn ranked at No. 10 in the nation in net punting, second in the Southeastern Conference. Wes Byrum has hit 11 of 15 field goal attempts, including two game-winners.

Eight different Auburn Tigers have registered at least 27 tackles on the season. Linebacker Chris Evans leads the team with 40 tackles and Antonio Coleman leads the Tigers with three quarterback sacks. The Auburn defense is currently ranked at No. 9 in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense.

Final Thoughts...

Coach Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn Tigers are 5-3 against LSU, but just 1-3 at Death Valley. Since the 1999 season the home team has won the last seven meetings between the two schools. Last season Auburn won a 7-3 defensive battle and the Auburn offense has scored just five touchdowns in the last four meetings with LSU. In fact, the Auburn Tiger offense has averaged only 290 yards per game during the previous six meetings, which included a 451-yard performance in 2005.

The scoring margins this season favor the LSU Tigers this Saturday. For the season, the LSU offense has averaged +13 points more than what their opponent has allowed and their defense has held their opponent to 17 points less than their opponent's season average. Auburn is +3 on offense and –16 on defense, giving LSU a serious edge on offense.

Looking at recent trends, the scoring margins swing back in favor of the Auburn Tigers. LSU is +10 on offense and –16 on defense in their last three games and Auburn is –3 on offense and –23 on scoring defense. Though LSU continues to be the better offensive team, the Auburn Tiger defense has been one of the nations best over the last three games.

Taking each team's scoring averages and margins and LSU wins 26-13. Looking at conference games only and LSU wins 19-9. Finally, looking at the average scores and scoring margins over the past three games and Auburn comes up as a 14-11 winner. Average all three scores and LSU is an 18-12 winner.

Though the above numbers might favor the LSU Tigers, one cannot ignore Auburn's recent success on the road. From 2004-2007, Auburn has compiled a 15-2 record away from Auburn with losses to LSU and Wisconsin during the 2005 season. Auburn is also 6-0 against teams ranked in the top six in the nation under Tuberville. When Auburn defeated the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators in 2001, it began a streak with a 15-5 record against top 10 opponents, which includes two losses by three points.

Recent history and the current rankings of both defenses dictate a very low scoring defensive battle. If this is the case, it's the type of game Coach Tuberville has excelled in over the past five years. Auburn is currently 13-4 in games decided by seven points or less from 2003-2007, and from 1999-2007 the Tigers are 10-3 in games when both teams are held to 17 points or less. Tuberville and Auburn are 60-6 in games the opponent is held to 20 points or less, including a 48-3 record since 2001.

The LSU defense has allowed 20 points per game in the last three games and the Auburn defense has allowed 10. LSU might have more overall talent on defense but Auburn holds the advantage in coaching. This is the type of game that Coach Tuberville has built his program around--to succeed against all odds. Forget the points, Auburn wins this one, straight up.

Auburn 17, LSU 13


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