1) The big news for Auburn is at quarterback. What does first-time starter Clint Moseley bring to the table, and how will Auburn gameplan for him on the road?
Clint Moseley is a very confident redshirt sophomore quarterback who comes into this game with minimal collegiate experience. He has played in just four games and completed only 6-of-9 passes for 120 yards.
The last time Moseley started a game was in December 2009 when he led Leroy High School to the Alabama Class 2A state championship. He was a prolific passer in high school, who was the star quarterback on three state championship teams. He was named Alabama's Mr. Football as a senior and was also MVP of Leroy's state championship baseball team.
Moseley stands between 6-foot-3 and 6-4 and is around 3 inches taller than the quarterback he is replacing in the starting lineup, Barrett Trotter. Moseley has a strong arm and a nice throwing touch. He is probably a bit more mobile than Trotter, who is still wearing a knee brace from surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2009 season.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn can be unpredictable at times. Logically, you would expect a conservative game plan in this situation against a strong LSU defense on the road and with Auburn's top receivers questionable for this game due to injuries. However, Auburn needs to establish its vertical passing attack so it won't shock me if Auburn throws deep balls early and more often on Saturday than it has in previous games.
2) Should we expect to see multiple quarterbacks regardless of how the game plays out? Do the coaches plan on using backup Barrett Trotter or freshman Kiehl Frazier, one of the top high school prospects in the country last season?
Unless Moseley is injured, I wouldn't expect to see Trotter in action on Saturday, but look for true freshman Kiehl Frazier to continue his role as a wildcat style quarterback. Frazier, a five-star recruit who was USA Today's National Offensive Player of the Year last season, will likely see a good bit of action.
3) Running back Michael Dyer has answered most every call made for his services. Will offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn ride Dyer this weekend given Moseley's inexperience?
Dyer is having a strong sophomore season so it won't be a surprise if he is the featured Auburn ball carrier and a player used for ball fakes on play-action passes and counters. How much of a load he carries will be determined by how well the rebuilt offensive line blocks for him on Saturday and how good of a job the passing game does in preventing LSU from putting seven, eight or nine defenders on the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
4) There are some injuries, and wide receivers Emory Blake, the team's most productive receiver, and Trovon Reed both missed last week. What are there statuses for the weekend, and what other injuries could affect the Auburn game plan?
Even if Blake, the team's top receiver, and redshirt freshman Reed play, it is doubtful they will be full speed. Gene Chizik said it will be a game-time decision on whether or not those receivers are cleared to play. Reed has missed the past three games. Blake missed the Arkansas game and tried to go last week vs. Florida, but limped off the field after one play.
The Tigers got bad news that fifth-year senior starting left guard Jared Cooper is out for the season after having surgery. The Tigers are down three defensive ends with Dee Ford, Justine Delaine and LaDarius Owens sidelined.
Running back Tre Mason is expected to return to action after being out with a hamstring problem vs. Florida.
5) The Auburn pass defense is ranked worst in the SEC. With starting running back Spencer Ware suspended, LSU could go to the air even more this weekend. What does Auburn have to do to get things corrected?
A rebuilt secondary was struggling early in the year, but has made progress in recent weeks. The Tigers are out of SEC statistical basement in conference only games and are trending upward. The pass defense is eighth in the league and pass efficiency defense is sixth vs. SEC opponents.
6) How do you see this game playing out?
LSU is a heavy favorite and that makes sense, even if the home team is missing several of its key players. Auburn will need to avoid turnovers, a tall order with an unproven quarterback making his first college start, to have a chance against the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
Auburn has been out of sync offensively much of the season and playing in Tiger Stadium against a quality defensive opponent is an unlikely place for that trend to be reversed.
Auburn is improving defensively, but is still a young and inexperienced group on that side of the football. LSU's physical style of play should be a real challenge for the visitors on Saturday.
The one constant for Gene Chizik's team has been the special teams play. It has been solid, and at times very strong, since opening day.
Auburn may need a big play or two from its special teams and defensive units to have a chance to pull off a big upset. LSU is the third Top 10 opponent Auburn team has had to play in road games in the month of October. Auburn won at South Carolina, hung in the game for a long time before falling at Arkansas, but neither of those teams has been as impressive this season as LSU so it will be a big surprise if the fans wearing purple-and-gold aren't the ones celebrating their team's victory on Saturday evening.
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