The Inside Slant

Go inside for the latest news and notes on the Tigers headed into the Alabama game


   LSU's loss to Auburn put the Bayou Bengals in an odd spot as they headed into their bye week.

   They now are in a position to help Auburn further along in the SEC Western Division by winning their next game.

   If LSU can beat Alabama when the teams meet in Tiger Stadium on Nov. 4, it would virtually hand a spot in the SEC championship game to Auburn.

   If Auburn is able to get by two struggling opponents, Ole Miss and Georgia, in its next two games, its game against Alabama on Nov. 26 would have no impact at all on the division race if the Tide has lost to LSU.

   Because of is loss to South Carolina, the Crimson Tide simply can't afford another defeat in league play if it wants to retain its conference championship hopes.

   How sweet that would be to LSU and its fans to deliver a knockout blow to the Tide.

   LSU has lost close games the last two years to the Tide. The last time the teams met in Baton Rouge, Alabama won 27-21 in overtime in 2008. Last year, LSU lost a 24-15 game to the eventual national champions in a game marked by a controversial replay decision.



   -- LSU dropped into seventh in rushing defense in the SEC after giving up 440 yards on the ground to Auburn. The Tigers' average went from 83.6 yards yielded a game to 128.1. LSU had given up a net total of only 585 yards to its opponents through its first six games.

   -- QB Jordan Jefferson's five rushing touchdowns are the most by an LSU quarterback in a season since 1998, when Herb Tyler had seven.

   -- LSU remains last in the league in passing (138.8 ypg) and is fifth in rushing (179.1).

   SEASON SUMMARY: The Tigers got off to their best start since 1973 by winning their first seven games, but the loss at Auburn cost them their first 5-0 start in SEC play since that same season. The Tigers also won their first three games against foes ranked at the time of their meeting, beating North Carolina (then No. 18) in the season opener in Atlanta and following that with a win over West Virginia (then No. 22) at home and a road win at Florida (then No. 14). None of those teams is ranked in the latest polls, however.

   LOOKING AHEAD: The loss to Auburn severely dampened LSU's SEC hopes, but the way is still there for the Tigers to get into a BCS bowl game. By winning out, they would finish 11-1, and such a mark would include wins over Alabama and Arkansas, both ranked teams. The Tigers play the Tide on Nov. 4 and finish against the Razorbacks on Nov. 27. With the SEC Eastern Division winner assured of at least two losses, LSU could be a more attractive at-large entity when bowl bids go out.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's still early in the back end of the season. We have a lot of good football teams to play, and we're looking forward to it." -- Coach Les Miles, on moving forward following the loss to Auburn.



   SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: LSU has gone to playing two quarterbacks since junior Jordan Jefferson, who took a big majority of the snaps in the early games, couldn't get the passing game going. But junior Jarrett Lee wasn't exactly a big success in the loss at Auburn. The Tigers have a solid running game behind TB Stevan Ridley and have some breakaway receivers in Terrence Toliver, Reuben Randle and Russell Shepard, though Toliver hasn't had the kind of season expected of him.

   SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Despite the performance against Auburn, when it gave up 440 yards rushing, the defense has performed well for LSU. LB Kelvin Sheppard is among the conference leaders in tackles (9.1 a game), and DT Drake Nevis is among the sack leaders (0.62 per game). CB Patrick Peterson is considered one of the top cover corners in the country, and most teams concede that and throw the other way. That's helped CB Mo Claiborne get a team-high four interceptions.


   -- DE Barkevious Mingo, a redshirt freshman, got his first career start in the game at Auburn. He was credited with two tackles.

   -- RB Stevan Ridley, who led the SEC in rushing for several weeks, now is fourth after gaining only 37 yards in the loss at Auburn. He is averaging 90.4 ypg.




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