GAME WEEK NOTEBOOK: LSU vs. Auburn

Two of the nation's top ranked teams will meet in an early season clash on Saturday when sixth-ranked LSU travels to face third-ranked Auburn at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised to a national audience by CBS.

The LSU-Auburn matchup is the nation's only game this week to feature a pair of top 10 teams. It also marks the first time since 1972 that LSU and Auburn go into the game both ranked in the top 10. In 1972, No. 8 LSU beat No. 9 Auburn, 35-7, in Tiger Stadium.

 

LSU brings a 2-0 mark into the contest as the Tigers are coming off a 45-3 win over Arizona. In two games, LSU has outscored its opponent, 90-6. LSU's defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in 14 quarters, a streak that goes back to third quarter of the SEC Championship Game last year. Auburn, also 2-0 overall and 1-0 in league play, has outscored its opponents 74-14 following a 34-0 victory over Mississippi State last week.

 

The LSU-Auburn winner has gone on to claim the SEC Western Division four of the last five years (exception 2002). Last year, LSU claimed a 20-17 overtime win over Auburn in Tiger Stadium as Auburn missed five field goals, including one in overtime. LSU goes into the Auburn contest riding a balanced offensive attack (465.0 yards per game - 200.5 rushing, 264.5 passing) led by QB JaMarcus Russell, who has thrown for 449 yards and 5 TDs in two games. Russell's top targets have been RB Jacob Hester (7 rec., 54 yards, 1 TD) and WR Dwayne Bowe (7 rec., 153 yards, 2 TDs).

 

LSU's running game has been by committee through the first two weeks of the season as Alley Broussard (76 yards), Hester (74 yards, 2 TDs) and Justin Vincent (52 yards) each have 16 carries to their credit this year. Defensively, the Tigers are allowing only 3.0 points and 164 yards per game. In two games, the Tiger defense has forced 6 turnovers and scored 2 touchdowns. LB Darry Beckwith leads the Tigers with 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while FS Jessie Daniels has 13 tackles and 1 sacks. CB Jonathan Zenon has intercepted 3 passes this year, returning two for touchdowns.

 

 

LSU Overwhelms Arizona, 45-3

 

LSU struck early and often and never looked back as the Tigers scored on their first possession for the second straight week on their way to a 45-3 win over Arizona. LSU's defense also added first quarter points for the second straight week when Jonathan Zenon returned an interception 41 yards for a score, giving LSU a 14-0 lead. The Tigers extended their lead to 24-0 early in the second quarter on a 17-yard run by Alley Broussard. LSU extended the lead to 38-0 in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns in a two minute span, the first coming on a 28-yard run by Jacob Hester and the second coming on a 29-yard TD pass from JaMarcus Russell to Dwayne Bowe. Charles Scott capped the LSU scoring midway through the fourth quarter with a 38-yard run. For the game, the Tigers racked up 461 yards of offense compared to just 152 yards for Arizona. Russell threw for 196 yards and 2 scores, while Hester rushed for 43 yards and a score and caught 6 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Tigers intercepted 3 passes and forced a fumble in limiting the Wildcats to just three fourth quarter points. LB Darry Beckwith led the Tigers with 9 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while SS Jessie Daniels had 5 tackles, a tackle for a loss and forced a fumble.

 

 

The Series

 

LSU and Auburn face each other for the 41st time with LSU holding a 21-18-1 lead in the series ... The winner of LSU-Auburn game has gone on to win the SEC Western Division in four of the last five years (exception came in 2002) … The teams have meet every year since 1992 when the SEC was split into divisions … Since 1992, Auburn has won eight of the 14 meetings between the teams, which includes five of the seven games at Auburn … In games between 1988 and 1997, the contest was decided by a touchdown or less seven of eight times … Last two games have been decided by a total of four points (and two kickers legs) … LSU missed a PAT in a 10-9 loss at Auburn in 2004 and Auburn missed five field goals last year an overtime loss to LSU in Tiger Stadium … LSU hasn't won at Auburn since a 31-19 victory in 1998 … LSU coach Les Miles is 1-0 vs. Auburn.

 

 

Goes On Road For First Time In 2006

 

LSU hits the road for the first time in 2006 as the sixth-ranked Tigers travel to face third-ranked Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Both teams go into Saturday's game at 2-0 overall. The game will also serve as the SEC opener for LSU. Last week, Auburn opened its league slate with a 34-0 win over Mississippi State. The game will be televised to a national audience by CBS and carries at 2:30 p.m. CDT star time.

 

 

LSU and Auburn: The First Top 10 Matchup Between The Teams Since 1972

 

When LSU and Auburn kickoff on Saturday it will mark the first time both teams go into the game ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation since 1972. That year, No. 8 LSU beat No. 9 Auburn, 35-7, in Tiger Stadium. LSU and Auburn go into Saturday's game both ranked in the top 25 for the fourth straight year. The last time LSU faced Auburn when a team wasn't ranked came in 2002 when unranked Auburn beat No. 10 LSU, 31-7, in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

 

 

LSU Brings 7-Game Road Winning Streak To Auburn

 

LSU goes into the Auburn game riding a 7-game road winning streak. LSU was 5-0 on the road last year and the Tigers won their final two road games in 2005. LSU hasn't lost a road game since a 45-16 setback to Georgia on Oct. 2, 2005. LSU's current 7-game road winning streak is the longest since winning seven straight road games from 1996 to 1998. LSU won its final two road games in 1996, all four of its road games in 1997 and then its first road game in 1998. It's the longest streak for an LSU team since the mid-80s when the Tigers won 14 consecutive road games. LSU was 5-0 on the road in 1985, 4-0 in 1986 and 1987 and then won its first road game in 1988 before falling to Ohio State in Columbus.

 

 

In The Polls

 

The Tigers moved up two spots to No. 6 in the AP poll this week following the 45-3 win over Arizona last Saturday. LSU moved past Florida and Texas in the AP poll. The Tigers are No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches poll as LSU moved just one spot, going ahead of Texas. LSU has moved up the polls each week after opening the season at No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the coaches poll. LSU has now been ranked for 51 consecutive polls by USA Today and 50 straight polls by the AP. 

 

 

Expect The Unexpected When LSU and Auburn Get Together

 

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 endzone 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" game.

 

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.

 

2004: Titled "The Call", Auburn appeared to have missed an extra point with 1:14 left that would have left the game tied at 9-9. However, LSU was called for a penalty on the extra point, thus giving Auburn a second chance at winning the game. The second PAT was good and Auburn held on for a 10-9 win, snapping LSU's 10-game winning streak.

 

2005: Auburn missed five field goals, including one in overtime, as LSU held on for a 20-17 win over Auburn in Tiger Stadium. The win helped propel LSU to the SEC Western Division title and the game is now known as the "Field Goal Game".

 

 

Alabama Tigers

 

LSU has three players on its roster from the state of Alabama. Alabama natives are Chevis Jackson and JaMarcus Russell (Mobile), and J. D. Lott (Shoal Creek). In addition, equipment manager Greg Stringfellow is a native of Mobile.

 

 

The LSU-Auburn Connection

 

LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher spent six seasons (1993-98) as the quarterbacks coach for the Auburn Tigers ... Offensive line coach Stacy Searels, a 1990 Auburn grad, was an All-American lineman and a 3-year starter for the Tigers (1984-87) and spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Auburn ... Sam Nader, LSU's assistant AD for Football Operations, graduated from Auburn in 1967 after playing quarterback for the Tigers … Jimmy Brumbaugh, LSU's assistant strength and conditioning coordinator, was a All-SEC defensive linemen at Auburn from 1995 to 1999 ... Current Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp held the same position for the Tigers under Nick Saban … Auburn tight ends coach Steve Ensminger played quarterback at LSU from 1976-79.  

 

 

2005: A Year of Firsts For LSU and Les Miles

 

A year ago, Les Miles set several milestones for first-year LSU coaches as he guided the Tigers to 11 wins, making him the winningest first-year Tiger coach in school history. In addition, Miles became the only coach in school history to beat Florida, Auburn and Alabama in the same season. LSU beat Florida 21-17 on Oct. 15, then followed that with a 20-17 overtime win over Auburn a week later. The 16-13 overtime win over Alabama clinched the feat for Miles. He was also the first coach in SEC history to lead his team to the SEC Championship Game in his first year in the league. Miles currently is 13-2 as LSU's head coach and he's 41-23 overall in 5-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach.

 

 

Miles Is First Coach In LSU History To Win 13 Of First 15 Games

 

With the win over Arizona, LSU coach Les Miles became the first coach in LSU history to win 13 of his first 15 games. The 13 victories in 15 attempts is one better than Charles McClendon and Mike Archer, who both posted a 12-2-1 mark during his first 15 games as the Tiger head coach.

 

 

About Auburn

 

The Tigers are coached by Tommy Tuberville and bring a 2-0 overall mark and a 1-0 league record into the LSU contest … Tuberville is 87-47 overall, which includes a 62-27 mark at Auburn … Tuberville has a 6-5 mark vs. LSU, which includes a 4-3 record against the Tigers as head coach at Auburn … Auburn goes into the LSU game averaging 37 points per game and they are allowing just 7 points per contest … RB Kenny Irons is averaging 126 yards rushing per game, while QB Brandon Cox has completed 29 of 45 passes for 440 yards and 3 TDs … In two games, Auburn's defense has recorded 9 sacks and come away with 4 turnovers (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles). 

 

 

LSU Brings One Of Nation's Best Defenses Into Auburn Game

 

LSU brings one of the nation's highest rated defenses into the Auburn contest as the Tigers lead the country in scoring defense (3.0 points per game) and pass efficiency defense (53.06 rating). LSU is also ranked No. 2 in pass defense (90.0 yards per game), No. 2 in interceptions (5), and No. 3 in total defense (164.0 yards per game). LSU remains as the only school in the nation that has yet to allow a touchdown this year.

 

 

 

LSU Defense Stretches Streak Of No TDs Allowed To 14 Straight Quarters

 

LSU's defense ran its streak of not allowing a touchdown to 14 straight quarters against Arizona as the Tigers limited the Wildcats to only 3 points last week. The 14 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown is the longest current streak in the nation. The streak dates back to the 2005 season when the Tigers held Georgia without an offensive touchdown in the second half of the SEC Championship Game and then followed that by holding Miami to only 3 points in the Peach Bowl. The last offensive touchdown scored against LSU was on a 7-yard run by D.J. Shockley at the 8:23 mark of the second quarter in the SEC title game. The following is a look at how the 14 quarter TD-less streak by the Tiger defense stacks up to past LSU defenses:

 

• It's the first time LSU hasn't allowed a TD in three straight games since 1962

 

• It's the first time LSU hasn't allowed a TD in the first two games of a season since 1987

 

• Over the 14 quarters that LSU's defense hasn't allowed a TD, the Tiger defense has scored a pair of touchdowns themselves. In fact, not counting PATs, LSU's defense has outscored its opposition, 12-9, over the past 3 games.

 

 

Tigers Have Held Three Straight Opponents To Under 200 Yards Of Offense

 

In addition to its streak of keeping the opponent out of the endzone, LSU's defense brings a streak of having held three consecutive teams under 200 yards of total offense. That streak dates back to the Miami game in last year's Peach Bowl as the Tigers limited the Hurricanes to 153 total yards in the 40-3 victory. LSU followed that by holding Louisiana-Lafayette to 176 total yards and Arizona to 152 total yards to open the 2006 season. The last time LSU held back-to-back opponents to fewer than 200 yards of total offense was 1985 (Kentucky - 114 on Oct. 19 and Ole Miss - 149 on Nov. 2). LSU held three of four opponents below 200 yards in 1969 (Texas A&M - 172 on Sept. 20, Rice - 172 on Sept. 27, Baylor - 212 on Oct. 4 and Miami - 150 on Oct. 10).

 

 

LSU In SEC Openers

 

Despite having one of the best records in the SEC since 2000, LSU has struggled in conference openers during that span. Since 2000, LSU is 2-4 in SEC openers with all four of those losses coming to ranked teams. LSU's two wins during that span have come against Mississippi State (2002) and Georgia (2003). The last time LSU won an SEC opener on the road was in 1998 when the Tigers won at Auburn by a 31-19 count.

 

 

 

Miles Has Been Good In SEC Games; Off To Best Start For LSU Coach Since Coach Mac

 

LSU coach Les Miles guided the Tigers to a 7-1 regular season mark last year, which included four conference wins on the road. The 7-1 SEC start in regular season games is the best by an LSU coach since 1962-63 when Charles McClendon opened his Tiger career by winning eight of his first nine league games. Bernie Moore holds the school record for best SEC start to a career by winning his first 13 league games.

 

 

LSU On CBS

 

LSU will make its 37th appearance on CBS when they face Auburn on Saturday. LSU is 19-16-1 all-time on CBS, which included a 3-1 record a year ago. LSU's only CBS loss last year came to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. LSU is 0-2 vs. Auburn in games played on CBS, losing 10-6 in 1989 and 10-9 in 2004.

 

 

LSU In Road Games Against Ranked Opponents

 

Two of the biggest road wins in school history have come in the state of Alabama as the Tigers knocked off previously unbeaten and third-ranked Alabama, 16-13, in overtime a year ago. The Tigers also beat fifth-ranked Alabama, 17-13, in 1993. The win last year marked the highest-ranked team LSU has ever beaten on the road. Dating back to the 2004 season, LSU has won three straight games against Top 25 teams on the road - def. No. 12 Florida, 24-21, in Gainesville in 2004; def. No. 15 Arizona State, 35-31, in Tempe in 2005; def. No. 3 Alabama, 16-13 in OT, in Tuscaloosa, in 2005.

 

 

LSU's Scored 40 Or More Points In Three Straight Games, A First In Modern Day History

 

LSU's current streak of scoring at least 40 points in three straight games marks the first time in modern day school history that it's ever happened. LSU closed last year with a 40-3 win over Miami in the Peach Bowl and has followed that with identical 45-3 wins over Louisiana-Lafayette and Arizona to open the 2006 season. The last time an LSU team scored 40 or more points in three straight games came in 1930 when the Tigers beat S.D. Wesleyan, 76-0, Louisiana Tech, 71-0, and Southwestern Louisiana, 85-0, to open the season.

 

 

Tigers Go Over 450 Yards Of Total Offense For Third Straight Game

 

With 461 yards of offense against Arizona last week, LSU went over the 450-yard mark in total offense for the third straight game. The current streak dates back to last year when LSU racked up 468 yards in the 40-3 win over Miami in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. LSU opened the 2006 season with 469 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette and then followed that with 461 yards against the Wildcats. It marks the first time since the 2003 season that LSU has gone over 450 yards of offense in three straight games. That year, LSU had 457 yards vs. Western Illinois, 481 vs. Arizona and 474 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

 

 

LSU Has Second-Best Record In SEC Over Last 5-Plus Seasons

 

LSU's record of 52-14 over the last 5-plus seasons is the second-best record in the SEC during that span. Only Georgia, who has a 53-13 mark over that span, has a better 5-year record than LSU. The following is a look at how teams in the SEC rank by wins over the last 5-plus years:

 

 

Redzone Success Streak Reaches 34 Straight 

 

LSU's ran its streak of successful trips inside the redzone to 34 straight by going 3-for-3 against Arizona last week. The 34 successful redzone trips has seen the Tigers score 26 touchdowns and kick 8 field goals. The redzone streak dates back to the Auburn game a year ago.

 

 

Tiger Defense Scores Again

 

LSU's defense supplied points for the Tigers for the second straight game against Arizona as CB Jonathan Zenon returned an interception 41-yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter. It marked the second consecutive week that Zenon has returned an interception for a score. Zenon returned an interception 20 yards for a TD against Louisiana-Lafayette in the season-opener. The Zenon interception return for a score against Arizona marked the fourth time under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini that the Tiger defense has scored a touchdown. Here's a look at scoring plays by the LSU defense since the start of the 2005 season:

 

 

Zenon Joins Elite Club

 

With his 41-yard interception return for a touchdown, LSU CB Jonathan Zenon is the first Tiger since at least the 1960s to return interceptions for scores in back-to-back games. Zenon is also the first LSU player since Jack Hunt in 2003 to have two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the same season.

 

 

Hester Does It All In Win Over Arizona

 

LSU RB Jacob Hester has become a jack of all trades for the Tigers as he scored a rushing touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and even saw action on special teams in the win over Arizona. Against the Wildcats, Hester hauled in a career-best 6 passes for 53 yards and he rushed eight times for 43 yards, including a career-long carry of 28 yards that resulted in a third quarter touchdown. Hester also saw action on 15 special teams plays against the Wildcats. 

 

 

Russell Ranked No. 3 In Nation In Pass Efficiency

 

LSU QB JaMarcus Russell goes into the Auburn game ranked No. 3 in the nation in pass efficiency as he's connected on 26 of 37 passes for 449 yards and 5 touchdowns. Russell has thrown only one interception this year.

 

 

Running Back By Committee

 

Through 2 games, LSU has used the running back-by-committee approach as Alley Broussard, Justin Vincent and Jacob Hester have each carried the ball 16 times during the first two weeks. Charles Scott, a true freshman, leads the Tigers in rushing with 86 yards and 1 TD on nine carries, while Broussard is second on the team with 76 yards and 2 scores on 16 attempts. Hester has rushed for 74 yards and a pair of scores on 16 attempts, while Vincent has 52 yards on 16 carries to his credit.

 

 

Keeping Them Under 20 Points

 

LSU goes into the Auburn game having held 12 of its last 13 opponents, 7 of which were SEC foes, to 20 points or less, a streak that dates back to early last year. Prior to the Georgia game in the SEC Championship, LSU held 9 straight opponents to 20 points. It was the longest streak since 2003 when the Tigers did it for the first 11 weeks of the season on their way to claiming both the SEC and National titles.

 

 

Taking Note On The Tigers Since 2000

 

Here is a look at some notable trends for LSU during the 79 games its played since 2000 … LSU is 51-4 when leading at halftime and 46-4 when leading after three quarters … The Tigers are 56-5 when scoring 20 or more points and 47-2 when scoring at least 25 points in a game … On the other hand, the Tigers are 5-13 when failing to reach the 20-point mark … LSU is 19-5 in games decided by 7 points or less and 9-3 in games decided by 3 points or less … LSU is 42-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 team rushing yards and the Tigers are 26-1 when having a player rush for 100 yards.

 

 

LSU O-Line Goes From Grey to Green

 

A year ago, LSU had one of the most experienced offensive lines in school history, as the starting five up front combined for 146 career starts (Andrew Whitworth - 52, Nate Livings - 34, Rudy Niswanger - 31, Brian Johnson - 16, and Will Arnold - 14). This year, the Tigers went into the season with an offensive line that had combined for 32 career starts. Johnson and Arnold combined for 30 of the 32 starts, while center Brett Helms made up the other two. Peter Dyakowski and Ciron Black both made their first career starts last week against Louisiana-Lafayette. The following is a look at the career starts for the Tigers offensive linemen in 2006 as compared to their predecessor:

 

 

Russell Runs Record As LSU's Starting QB To 16-2; Looks To Tie Tyler For Second-Best Mark 

 

LSU QB JaMarcus Russell ran his record as the Tigers starter to 16-2 with the 45-3 win over Arizona. The 16-2 mark ties with Herb Tyler (1995-98) for the second-best start by a Tiger starting quarterback in school history. Matt Mauck holds the school record by winning 18 of his first 20 games as LSU's starting quarterback. Russell posted a 10-2 mark in 2005 after going 4-0 as a redshirt freshman in 2004.

 

 

Russell Sets Career Mark for TD Passes Against Louisiana-Lafayette

 

When LSU QB JaMarcus Russell connected with Brandon LaFell on a 58-yard TD pass on the third play of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette, it marked the longest completion of Russell's career. It also marked the first of what would be a career-best three TD passes for Russell against the Cajuns. For the game, Russell finished 13-of-17 for 253 yards and 3 scores. The 253 passing yards ranks as the second-highest total of Russell's career.

 

 

Landry Runs Starting Streak to 37 Straight

 

LSU All-America free safety LaRon Landry ran his streak of consecutive starts to 37 straight against Louisiana-Lafayette. Landry, from Ama, La., has been in the LSU lineup since the Mississippi State contest (week 5) in 2003. The 36 straight starts ranks as the fifth-longest streak in the Division IA. 

 

 

Russell-To-Bowe TD Combination Now Tied For Second Best Combo In School History

 

The pitch and catch combination of JaMarcus Russell-to-Dwayne Bowe ran their TD streak to 14 with a third quarter score against Arizona. The 14 touchdowns between the pair (Russell throwing and Bowe catching) ranks as the second most prolific scoring combo in school history. Russell and Bowe hooked up for 8 TDs in 2005 after combining for 4 scores in 2004. This year, the duo has combined for a pair of touchdowns. Tommy Hodson-to-Wendell Davis ranks as the most prolific TD combination in school history as the duo accounted for 21 touchdowns during their careers. The following is a look at the top TD combos in LSU history:

 

 

Craig Davis Reception Streak At 25 Straight

 

With 2 catches for 29 yards against Arizona, senior WR Craig Davis has caught at least one pass in 25 straight games. The streak dates back to LSU's season-opener in 2003 against Oregon State. Davis caught at least one pass in all 12 games a year ago. Davis missed the Mississippi State and Florida contests with injuries a year ago. In 11 games in 2005, Davis caught 35 passes for 559 yards and 2 TDs.

 

 

Colt David PAT Streak At 47 Straight

 

LSU PK Colt David ran his streak of successful PATs to 47 straight by connecting on all six of his attempts against Arizona. The 47 straight successful PATs ties with John Corbello as the third longest streak in school history. David Browndyke holds the school record by making 109 in a row from 1986 to 1989. 

 

 

12 True Freshmen Have Seen Action For The Tigers In 2006

 

A total of 12 true freshmen have seen action for the Tigers this year. Here's a list of true freshmen who have played so far this season: WR/RS Trindon Holliday, WR Ricky Dixon, RB Charles Scott, DB Danny McCary, LB Jacob Cutrera, LB Perry Riley, TE Richard Dickson, WR Chris Mitchell, WR Jared Mitchell, DT Al Woods, and RB Keiland Williams.


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