Head to Head:
Auburn WR vs. LSU DB
Courtney Taylor vs. Ronnie Prude
A year ago, Auburn wide receiver Courtney Taylor proved to be the Tigers biggest nightmare. The recipient of the game-winning touchdown in Auburn's 10-9 win over LSU on the Plains, Taylor also was on the receiving end of Jason Campbell's critical fourth down conversion pass to keep the game-winning drive alive. While Ben Obomanu and Devin Aromashodu are the Tigers' headliners, don't think Tommy Tuberville might go back to the Taylor well. Last year, Auburn went right at Corey Webster. Ronnie Prude will probably be this year's target.
Auburn OL vs. LSU DL
Marcus McNeil vs. Claude Wroten
Auburn has put up some impressive numbers offensively. The Tigers ground game has produced 187 yards per game, good enough for 29th nationally. Auburn running backs definitely find solace running behind all-American offensive lineman Marcus McNeil. However, Claude Wroten leads an LSU defensive front that ranks No. 3 in the nation against the run.
Player to Watch:
Why it is important to stop him?
Brandon Cox has improved since his second down meltdown in his debut as the Auburn quarterback. Already facing the task of replacing first round draft pick Jason Campbell, Cox threw four interceptions in the Tigers loss to Georgia Tech. Since then, he has thrown two in five games. Cox has already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and has a tremendous group of wide receiver to throw to.
Who has to stop him?
LSU has been very good against the pass the last two games shutting down both Jay Cutler and Chris Leak. The proof is in the sacks as LSU has registered 19 quarterback sacks in the last four games. Cox threw four picks against Georgia Tech and was interception-free until throwing two more at Arkansas. With the appropriate pressure applied, Cox may be harassed into throwing more. The Tiger defensive front is up to the challenge.
LSU rushing offense vs. Auburn rushing defense:
Auburn isn't quite as dominant against the run as it has been in the past, but the Tigers are still holding opponents to a paltry 114 yards per game on the ground. LSU's ground attack has been very productive; however, most of those yards are coming from Joseph Addai. Addai leads the SEC in rushing with 107 yards per game and has run for 100 yards in three of LSU's five games this season. LSU's offensive line is a bit beat up so we'll call this even.
LSU passing offense vs. Auburn passing defense:
JaMarcus Russell has been hit or miss for most of the season. While he has shone flashes – even a few whole games of brilliance – the sophomore signal caller can still make ill-advised throws at times and seems to get in lulls in the second and third quarters of games. Auburn is very against the pass, seventh in the nation actually, and should provide the best pass defense against LSU so far. But name a team on the Tigers' schedule that could throw the ball at all.
Auburn rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:
Sure Auburn running back Kenny irons is third in the SEC in rushing, but Irons and backfield mates Brad Lester and Tre Smith are a far cry from the duo of Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams. Plus, LSU is third in the nation and tops in the SEC (69.5 yards per game) against the run.
Auburn passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:
Three weeks ago and we might have tipped our cap to the Auburn passing attack. However, after watching the LSU defense hold Jay Cutler and Chris Leak to a combined 218 yards and we are convinced this Tiger unit is for real. LSU has jumped 59 spots in the pass defense rankings in two weeks and are 11th overall in pass efficiency defense.
LSU special teams vs. Auburn special teams:
It doesn't matter how productive Auburn John Vaughn may be, you have to get in field goal range to get three points. The way LSU punter Chris Jackson has been pinning the opposition deep, don't count on Auburn getting too many scoring chances. Skyler Green touched the ball only once last weekend on punt returns, look for that to change.
People keep wondering just how good this LSU team is. The talent and potential is there, but penalties, turnovers and a multitude of mistakes keeps the Tigers from putting a complete game together. LSU always seems to have one game a year where everything clicks. Is this the one? Plus, the Tigers have not forgotten last season's gut-wrenching, one-point loss.
Simply put, Auburn looks good on paper, but who have the Tigers played. The only decent team War Eagle has faced – Georgia Tech – beat Tubby's Tigers 23-14 at home. Auburn has rattled off five straight wins against the likes of Mississippi State, Ball State, Western Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas. All of those games were at home except for the win over Arkansas. The Tigers lead the SEC in scoring averaging 37 points per game and are third in the nation in scoring defense giving up just 10 points per contest. But against who? The Tigers' first real test of the season will reveal the loss of Williams, Brown and Campbell are much worse than they once thought.
LSU 28, Auburn 10
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