LSU rushing offense vs. Auburn rushing defense
The LSU running game came a long way in just one week. After an anemic performance against Florida, the Tigers ripped South Carolina's formidable defense for 263 rushing yards with a dominating ground assault. Auburn is giving up just 92 yards on the ground, plus the Tigers will still be playing three freshmen running backs.
LSU passing offense vs. Auburn passing defense
If LSU quarterback Matt Mauck can duplicate his performance against South Carolina, the Tigers passing game could be effective against Auburn's stingy pass defense. The other Tigers allow just 185 yards through the air, good enough for 17th nationally. Like LSU's running game, one week is enough to get back on track, but is it enough to prove it is here to stay. Plus, Michael Clayton has become lost in the offense – not a good thing.
Auburn rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense
In the preseason, all that was talked about was Auburn's heralded backfield and how Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and Brandon Jacobs were going to rush the War Eagle to a national title. They are good, don't forget that, but are they as good as LSU's rush defense. Rated the best in the nation after holding the Gamecocks to no rushing yards, the Bayou Bengals are allowing just 53.1 yards each game on the ground. Before Saturday, South Carolina had ranked second in the SEC in total rushing offense with 187 yards per game - not anymore.
Auburn passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:
Jason Campbell is not the type of passer you want to put the ball in his hands and tell him to win the game. Auburn's passing game is not real good, actually it's quite bad. Accumulating just 182 yards per game through the air, the Tigers' passing attack is ranked 92nd in Division I. LSU's pass defense has surrendered a couple of big plays, probably will again this season. But the purple and gold Tigers' constant pressure on Campbell will be the difference.
LSU special teams vs. Auburn special teams:
Place kicking woes arose for LSU at South Carolina as Ryan Gaudet missed two extra points and Chris Jackson botched a kickoff. Donnie Jones even had an off night averaging just 38 yards per punt. With two teams that pride themselves on defense, field position will be an important factor on Saturday.
Like the Tigers did against Florida, everyone eventually stumbles. Auburn has already had some problems losing the first two games of the regular season, but since has ripped off four in a row. Could Auburn possibly win 10 in a row and claim the SEC title? Possibly. Do they have what it takes from a character standpoint to do that? Nope. Plus the game is at night in Tiger Stadium, something that has not happened since Western Illinois visited.
You could not ask for a better SEC game than the one which will be played Saturday in Death Valley. Each team's defense is rated in the top 10 nationally and carries specific strengths into the contest. While Auburn's running game is its strength, LSU's rush defense plays to its advantage. The Aubies don't throw it so well, while the Bayou Bengals have the potential for an aerial assault. This game will come down to which team wants it more… AND the sharpest mind under the headset on the sideline. Many will bring up last season's 31-7 rout on the Plains – LSU was without its starting quarterback and its backup was experiencing his first road game. Look for a much different outcome Saturday. The Tigers – in a nailbiter.
LSU 20, Auburn 16