LSU rushing offense vs. Auburn rushing defense
LSU's rushing attack struggled in week one, but got it going last weekend albeit against Arkansas State. The Tigers got solid performances out of both Justin Vincent and Joseph Addai last week and everyone is still waiting for a bust out game by Alley Broussard. Will this be the game? Who knows, but Auburn is allowing just 110 yards per game on the ground.
LSU passing offense vs. Auburn passing defense
Not to go off on yet another tangent about the LSU quarterback situation, but this is a really critical factor in this game. Whether it is JaMarcus Russell or Marcus Randall, which ever quarterback takes the snaps will be facing a formidable passing defense in that of the Auburn Tigers. Led by senior safety Junior Rosegreen, the War Eagle secondary is giving up only 144 yards via the pass per contest.
Auburn rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense
This will be the key matchup of the game. Can Auburn's rushing attack spearheaded by standouts Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, crack the steel curtain LSU rushing defense. The Tigers are known for their stingy defense against the run while Auburn's running game is their bread and butter. It will be interesting to see which sides gives first.
Auburn passing offense vs. LSU passing defense
Auburn finds itself in a similar situation as the LSU offense. Like Marcus Randall, Jason Campbell has tons of experience at quarterback for the Tigers, more so than Randall, but he has been plagued throughout his career at AU with inconsistent play, which has brought about heavy criticism. If LSU can get pressure on Campbell and keep him out of sync, Auburn's offense turns very one-dimensional.
LSU special teams vs. Auburn special teams:
Skyler Green should be back returning punts and kickoffs for LSU, but who knows exactly how healthy he will be. The Tigers are having trouble in the kicking game as Chris Jackson has struggled making field goals (even extra points) in game situations. He has assumed the role as the team's punter and has been much better with the more experience he gets. Auburn is sporting a sophomore punter and kicker, but after watching two weeks of the comedy of errors of special teams for LSU, the War Eagle gets the nod.
This is where it gets dicey. LSU will be going on the road to open SEC play in a hostile environment like Jordan-Haire Stadium with question marks at quarterback. ESPN Gameday will be on location and all eyes will be focused on the Alabama Plains come 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Can a relatively young LSU squad go on the road, in a setting like they will face Saturday and overcome that adversity. If successful it will make quite a statement for Nick Saban's team.
While it seems we have given Auburn a slight advantage in the game in terms of each angle of the breakdown, we still feel as if LSU will win this game. Yes the Tigers have concerns at quarterback, but in two games JaMarcus Russell has shown if Marcus Randall is ineffective, they can issue the quick hook opting for the redshirt freshman. Auburn doesn't have that luxury because behind Jason Campbell, who is average at best, is redshirt freshman Brandon Cox, who is talented, but doesn't offer the comfort of having Russell in the No. 2 role. As for the hostile environment, LSU grew up a great deal after the scare with Oregon State. Facing an adverse situation like they did in the season opener definitely helped this team in the long run. However, examining the numbers on both teams, each likes to run the ball and play defense. Expect a low scoring game, a toe-to-toe smashmouth affair, much like last season's LSU-Georgia game in Baton Rouge.
LSU 20, Auburn 17
- Matt Deville