No. 19 Auburn (5-2, 3-1) at No. 1 LSU (7-0, 4-0)
2:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
WDGL-FM 98.1; XM 91; Sirius 91/CBS
Series record: LSU leads the series 24-20-1 and has dominated Auburn at Tiger Stadium, 14-5-1. LSU has won the last five meetings in Baton Rouge.
In the spotlight: S Brandon Taylor (6-0, 194, Sr.)
Season stats: Team-high 44 tackles (24 solo), 2½ tackles for loss, 2 int., 4 PBU
Nobody has been steadier in the talented LSU secondary than Taylor, who has shouldered a large chunk of leadership as well in his final season. With the Tigers likely down two cornerbacks this week, Taylor’s role will be magnified in pass coverage, especially if he steps into the nickel back role and gets an opportunity to roam and find the ball. Taylor isn’t the same kind of dynamic playmaker as Tyrann Mathieu or as athletic as Eric Reid or Craig Loston. But he can go toe-to-toe with most receivers and has recovered his speed enough from a nasty foot injury to be a blitzing threat off the edge whenever his number is dialed up. Facing a first-time starting quarterback, LSU’s defense is likely to generate some chances to create turnovers and if/when that happens, it’s safe to bet Taylor will be right in the middle of things.
Injuries/suspensions: LG Josh Dworaczyk (knee) out for season, RB Spencer Ware (suspension) doubtful, CB/Nickel back Tyrann Mathieu (suspension) doubtful, CB Tharold Simon (suspension) doubtful, DE Kendrick Adams (knee) doubtful, C PJ Lonergan (ankle) probable, OL T-Bob Hebert (knee) probable
Schedule (7-0, 4-0)
Sept. 3 LSU 40, #3 Oregon 27
Sept. 10 LSU 49, Northwestern State 3
Sept. 15 LSU 19, #25 Mississippi State 6
Sept. 24 LSU 47, at #16 West Virginia 21
Oct. 1 LSU 35, Kentucky 7
Oct. 8 LSU 41, #17 Florida 11
Oct. 15 LSU 38, Tennessee 7
Oct. 22 Auburn, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Nov. 5 at Alabama, TBA
Nov. 12 Western Kentucky, TBA
Nov. 19 at Ole Miss, TBA
Nov. 25 Arkansas, 1:30 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 3 SEC Championship Game
In the spotlight: QB Clint Moseley (6-4, 213, So.)
Season stats: 6-of-9 passing, 120 yards, 0 TD, 0 int.
For the third week in a row, LSU draws a backup quarterback and this one is just as big a mystery as the one the Tigers faced against Florida. Moseley has seen a bit more action than the Gators’ Jacoby Brissett had, but only slightly and there’s not enough for a blueprint on how to defend him. Moseley is a bigger quarterback than the one he replaces and more mobile, but this isn’t a Cam Newton clone. Regardless of what he’s like physically, though, the key for Moseley will be how he plays above the shoulders against one of the best defenses in the country in one of the most hostile environments in college football. The new QB and Auburn caught a break with the likely suspensions of Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon, but Moseley will also be dealing with a makeshift receiving corps with Emory Blake and Trovon Reed limited at best.
Injuries: OG Jared Cooper (lower leg) out, DE Dee Ford (back) out, DE Justin Delaine (knee) out, DE LaDarius Owens (lower leg) out, WR Emory Blake (ankle) questionable, WR Trovon Reed (shoulder) questionable, RB Tre Mason (shoulder) probable
Schedule (5-2, 3-1)
Sept. 3 Auburn 42, Utah State 38
Sept. 10 Auburn 41, Miss. State 34
Sept. 17 Clemson 38, Auburn 24
Sept. 24 Auburn 30, Florida Atlantic 16
Oct. 1 Auburn 16, #10 South Carolina 13
Oct. 8 #10 Arkansas 38, Auburn 14
Oct. 15 Auburn 17, Florida 7
Oct. 22 at #LSU, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Oct. 29 Ole Miss, TBA
Nov. 12 at Georgia, TBA
Nov. 19 Samford, TBA
Nov. 26 #2 Alabama, TBA
Three keys to the game
1.Rattle him early, rattle him often: It doesn’t take a defensive coordinator with 23 years of SEC experience under his belt to know what to do against a first-year starting quarterback. Well, Clint Moseley and AU’s offense are facing a DC with all that experience who will undoubtedly unleash an early wave of pressure and blitzing. Look for LSU to get in Moseley’s face from the start to gauge how he’s going to react.
2. React, but don’t overreact: With the offense likely to be without tone-setting tailback Spencer Ware, there might be an urge to shake up the offense and take shots through the air – particularly since Auburn has been porous at times in pass defense. LSU needs to fight that temptation and allow Michael Ford and Alfred Blue the chance to get comfortable running the ball, which should allow the offense to stay in its own skin.
3. Let the motivation be motivating: With all the new distractions this week, and the emphasis on not looking ahead at the showdown in Tuscaloosa, what shouldn’t be shoved to the side are two things: The way Auburn manhandled LSU last season and the fact that AU is the reigning national champion. While a former LSU coach might tend to harp on the process and improving every game, etc., there’s nothing wrong with some good ol’ fashioned revenge and inspiration once in a while.
Finally, a little dash of intrigue for the steamrolling LSU football team. Down a few starters, another twist of uncertainly with Auburn starting a new quarterback and coming to Tiger Stadium with two wins in the last three games against East Division contenders. What does that all mean? Eh, not much when it’s all said and done because LSU is too deep a team and too focused on what lies ahead. The Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson two-quarterback system is working very well and will spark an early big lead, much like the Florida game, and the second half will feature a defense clamping down on Clint Moseley as he tries to steer Auburn back into the game. … LSU 35, Auburn 17