LSU-Auburn Notebook

LSU looks to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1998 when SEC rival Auburn comes to town for a showdown to be televised by ESPN2.

LSU faces Auburn In Death Valley On ESPN2: LSU looks to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1998 when SEC rival Auburn comes to town for a showdown to be televised by ESPN2. Auburn has won two consecutive meetings between the two schools and the last two match-ups at Tiger Stadium.

The 14th-ranked Tigers enter on the heels of a 31-14 victory over Utah State, while Auburn enters fresh off a 27-21 victory over Ole Miss. Saturday's tilt marks the sixth consecutive time the annual meeting between the two schools has been nationally televised. LSU is 7-2 in SEC openers since 1992 with the two losses coming to Auburn in 1999 and 2000. LSU enters the contest on a five-game home field winning streak.

Date/Time:         Saturday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.

Location:            Baton Rouge, La. - Tiger Stadium (91,600)

Television:          ESPN2 (Live)

The Series:          LSU leads 18-16-1; last meeting: Auburn 34-17 in 2000

LSU and Auburn meet for the 36th time on Saturday with LSU holding an 18-16-1 lead in the series ... Auburn has won two straight over LSU, including last year's 34-17 win at Auburn ... LSU's last win in the series came at Auburn in 1998 by a 31-19 margin ... The game will be televised to a national audience for the sixth straight year ... Four of the last seven games and seven of the last 11 contests have been decided by a touchdown or less ... The visiting team has won four of the last five games in the series ... LSU is 9-5-1 vs. Auburn in games played in Baton Rouge ... Saturday's date of Sept. 15 will mark the earliest the two teams have ever squared off.

Teams

LSU

Auburn

Record

2-0 (0-0 SEC)

2-0 (1-0 SEC)

Ranking

No. 16 AP; No. 14 ESPN/USA Today

not ranked

Last Game

def. Utah State 31-14

def. Ole Miss 27-21

LSU Football Notebook:  LSU will go after its sixth consecutive victory in Tiger Stadium on Saturday when it plays host to Auburn at 8 p.m. in a game televised nationally by ESPN2 ... The Auburn contest will also mark the fifth straight nationally-televised SEC game for LSU ... LSU enters the contest having won five straight SEC home games, a streak that dates back to the Arkansas game in 1999 ... Last year, LSU was 6-1 at home, which included a 4-0 mark in league games ... LSU enters the Auburn contest having won seven of its last eight games overall ... LSU has scord 20 or more points in all 10 of its victories under Nick Saban ... Dating back to last season, LSU has scored at least 30 points in six straight home games ... LSU quarterback Rohan Davey ran his streak of passes without an interception to 78 ... Over his last eight games, Davey has thrown 15 TD passes compared to just one interception.

LSU-Auburn ties: The LSU coaching staff has plenty of ties and familiarity with the Auburn football program. Current offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher was quarterback coach for Auburn from 1993-98, working with such Auburn quarterbacks as Stan White, Patrick Nix and Dameyune Craig, three of the most successful signal callers in Auburn history. Current LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins coach the Auburn d-line from 1996-98, while current LSU linebackers coach Will Muschamp was a graduate assistant for Auburn from 1995-97 and worked on staffs with both Fisher and Jenkins. In addition, longtime administrative assistant Sam Nader was a quarterback for Auburn from 1963-68.

LSU on ESPN2: The Auburn contest will mark LSU's seventh appearance on ESPN2. LSU has a 4-2 mark on ESPN2, which includes a 2-0 record last year. Last season, the Tigers beat Mississippi State, 45-38, in overtime on ESPN2 and then posted a 20-9 victory over Ole Miss. LSU has provided ESPN2 with a great deal of drama in the six times the Tigers have appeared on the all sports network. The following is a look at some of the LSU highlights in its prior ESPN2 games: 

Year

Game

Results

Highlights

1997

at Kentucky

W 63-28

Kevin Faulk rushes for LSU record 5 TDs

1998

Kentucky

L 39-36

Kentucky kicks FG as time expires to win

1998

Miss. State

W 41-6

Kevin Faulk becomes LSU's all-time leading rusher as Tigers upset 24th-ranked Bulldogs

1999

at Miss. State

L 17-16

MSU scores last-minute TD to remain undefeated

2000

Miss. State

W 45-38 OT

LSU overcomes 14-point 4th quarter deficit to win in overtime

2000

at Ole Miss

W 20-9

LSU wins first road game since 1998

Toefield blasts out of the gates: It didn't take long for LaBrandon Toefield to establish himself among the nation's elite in 2001. Just two games in fact. In only two games, the sophomore from Independence has recorded seven touchdowns and already surpassed his season total of a year ago (5). Toefield opened the season with a three-touchdown performance against Tulane, then followed that with a career high four TDs on 183 yards rushing against Utah State.

Toefield became the first Tiger in the modern era (since 1937) to rush for at least three touchdowns in back-to-back games and became the first Tiger since Kevin Faulk to amass seven rushing touchdowns over two games (Faulk had five against Kentucky, Nov. 1, 1997, then two against Alabama, Nov. 8, 1997).

LSU vs. Auburn - A series of close calls: Since 1988, the LSU-Auburn series has become one of close calls and one in which the teams and the fans have come to expect the unexpected. The following is a listing of some of the notable happenings in the series since 1988:

1988: LSU's Tommy Hodson hit Eddie Fuller in the back of the end zone on fourth down with 1:41 left to lift the Tigers to a 7-6 win over fourth-ranked Auburn. The noise from the stadium crowd after the play registered on a seismograph across campus prompting the game to be titled "The Earthquake Game."

1994: Auburn intercepted five passes in the fourth quarter, returning three for TDs as the Tigers rally to post a 30-26 win over LSU in a game that become known as "The Interception Game."

1995: LSU donned white jerseys at home for the first time since the early 1980's and promptly went out and upset fifth-ranked Auburn, 12-6. LSU preserved the win with an interception in the endzone on the last play of the game. The contest was dubbed the "Bring Back the Magic" contest.

1996: With the old Auburn Sports Arena burning to the ground a couple hundred yards away, LSU beat Auburn, 19-15, in a game titled "The Night the Barn Burned."

1997: Titled "The Comeback", Auburn QB Dameyune Craig engineered a 10-play, 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to spark the Tigers to a 31-28 upset of 10th-ranked LSU.

Toefield off to fastest start in LSU history: With seven touchdowns through two games, running back LaBrandon Toefield is off to the fastest start in LSU scoring history. Toefield's seven TDs in the first two games of the season are the most ever for a Tiger out of the gates to start a year. The previous high was five by Carlos Carson in 1977, who scored all five of his in the second game of the season, a 77-0 blowout of Rice. Toefield is tied for the national lead in touchdowns with Dwone Hicks of Middle Tennessee State (which comes to Baton Rouge on Nov. 10).

Toefield joins elite company: With a four-touchdown performance against Utah State, LaBrandon Toefield became the first Tiger to post such an evening since former LSU great Kevin Faulk raced through Kentucky for five touchdowns in 1997.

Toefield became the sixth running back in LSU history to rush for four or more touchdowns in a single game.

The following is a listing of Tigers who have rushed for four or more TDs in a single game:

Player

TDs

Opponent

Kevin Faulk

5

'97 vs. Kentucky

LaBrandon Toefield

4

'01 vs. Utah State

Charles Alexander

4

'77 vs. Oregon

Dalton Hilliard

4

'84 vs. Kentucky

Harvey Williams

4

'90 vs. Miami (Ohio)

Rondell Mealey

4

'96 vs. New Mexico State

Tigers 3-0 when Toefield hits century mark: With a career-high 183 yards on 27 carries last weekend, LaBrandon Toefield came up with the third 100-yard performance of his young career.

The Tigers are 3-0 all-time when "Toe" rushes for more than 100 yards. His previous 100-yard efforts came in victories against Tennessee (120) and Mississippi State (119) a year ago, the latter of which earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Tigers can start 3-0 for only fifth time in 20 years: With a victory over Auburn on Saturday, the Tigers can race out of the gates to a 3-0 start for only the fifth time in the last 20 years. The Tigers are 2-0 for the sixth straight year. LSU has lost the third game of the season three of the last five years. Over the last 20 years, the Tigers have gotten off to 3-0 starts in 1982, 1987, 1996 and 1998.

LSU tough when holding opponents under 100 yards rushing: For the second consecutive week to open the 2001 season, the Tigers held their opponent to under 100 yards rushing. The Tigers held Tulane to 48 yards rushing in the season opener, then held Utah State to 91 net yards rushing last weekend. The Tigers are 6-0 under Nick Saban when holding the opposition to under 100 yards rushing.

20 points the magic number for the Tigers: With a 31-point offensive showing in their victory over Utah State, the Tigers won their 11th straight game when scoring better than 20 points. The Tigers won all eight games in 2000 when scoring 20+ points and have won all 10 games in the Nick Saban era when reaching that standard. The last time the Tigers lost when scoring better than 20 points was a 42-23 loss to Ole Miss on Oct. 30, 1999.

Reed continues to excel: Josh Reed continues to add to his lore among the great receivers in LSU history. Last weekend Reed hauled in five balls for 124 yards, his second 100-yard game in as many attempts this season. Since being moved from running back to receiver prior to the Alabama game in 1999, Reed has posted nine 100-yard receiving games in only 16 outings at the position.

Reed had six 100-yard receiving games in 2000 and continues to move up the all-time LSU list in the category. The junior is now only four behind Wendell Davis for most career 100-yard receiving games in LSU history (13). In his only game at receiver against Auburn, Reed posted eight catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Reed 16 yards shy of moving into LSU top 10 receiving list: With back-to-back 100-yard games to open the season, Josh Reed continues to move closer to the top 10 LSU receiving yardage list at a meteoric pace. Reed is just 16 yards shy of moving into the top 10 in LSU history in receiving yardage. Reed has 1,520 yards and can move past former Tiger captain Sheddrick Wilson who posted 1,536 yards in his career. Reed is only 34 yards away from matching former Tiger speedster and current Denver Bronco Eddie Kennison and moving into eighth place. With 1,520 yards in only 16 games, Reed has averaged 95.0 yards per game since the move out wide.

Tigers top 200-yard rushing mark for second straight week: With 275 yards rushing against Utah State, the Tigers surpassed the 200-yard team rushing mark for the second time in as many weeks. The Tigers have not lost a game when rushing for 200 yards since Nov. 7, 1998 against Alabama.

Tiger streaks extended: Senior free safety Ryan Clark started his 26th consecutive game last weekend, dating back to the first game of his sophomore year in 1999. Junior middle linebacker Trev Faulk also extended his consecutive streaks start to 23, dating back to the 1999 game at Georgia during his freshman season. Junior wide receiver Jerel Myers has now started 16 consecutive games and 25 of 26 during his career. The only game in which he did not start was the 1999 season finale against Arkansas when the Tigers started with three tight ends. Each streak includes the 2000 Peach Bowl.

More streaks: Rohan Davey has now thrown 78 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to the Florida game in 2000. Josh Reed has caught at least one pass in all 16 games since moving to receiver prior to the Alabama game in 1999. Jerel Myers has a reception in 25 of 26 games in his three-year career. The only game in which Myers did not catch at least one pass was the Tigers' victory over Ole Miss in Oxford in 2000.

Royal posts pair of career highs against Utah State: Robert Royal entered the 2001 season with plenty of expectations after being named Playboy Preseason All-American. After picking up his first touchdown of the season in the opening night victory over Tulane, Royal followed that with five receptions for 72 yards, both career highs, in the Tigers' victory over Utah State. At 6'5" and 261 pounds, Royal has become a favorite of LSU quarterback Rohan Davey due to his ability to create mismatches over the middle of the field.


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