by Steve Geller, Steve@wwl.com,posted Sep 21 2012 11:32AM
LSU is 3-0 on the year, but they're virtually untested as they've outscored their opponents 145-31. The Tigers are running the football just like they did last season, leading the SEC in rushing offense and scoring offense. Kenny Hillard and Alfred Blue are leading the way and have combined for 77 carries for 573 yards and eight touchdowns. Blue, however, is injured and will be unavailable after he banged up his knee against Idaho. Expect Michael Ford and Spencer Ware to get more carries, with Hilliard leading the way.
While he hasn't wowed anyone yet, Zach Mettenberger has made this offense balanced. He is completing almost 73% of his passes for 609 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. In fact his numbers could be even better, but LSU receivers have had some big drops. Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry have combined for 23 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown. Kadron Boone and Mettenberger seem to have a good thing going as Boone has caught three touchdowns.
LSU is #1 in the SEC in total defense, allowing a mere 205 yards per game. We all knew they could replace the Honey Badger, and Jalen Mills has done a very nice job of doing just that. They have depth at every position, and the defensive line has lived up to the hype thus far. They have pressured the quarterback, and teams are being forced to get rid of the ball quickly.
On the flipside, Auburn is sitting at 1-2 on the season and has already lost a conference game to Mississippi State. They have really struggled as the offense has a long way to go, and the defense needs much better tackling.
Quarterback Kiehl Frazier looks lost at times leading the offense, and the best offense has been the power running game with Jay Prosch at fullback and Onterio McCalebb or Tre Mason at running back. The passing game is ranked last in the SEC, gaining 161 yards per game.
The Auburn defense hasn't fared much better. This group is 13th in the conference in total defense, allowing 442 yards per game. The rushing defense has been destroyed, allowing 217 yards per game on the ground.
LSU will come in and try to run the football down Auburn's throat, and for good reason. The Bayou Bengals are averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground. The biggest key will be whether Auburn has any ability at all to stop it. We all know Les Miles, and as soon as he gets a lead on you, he pounds you into submission.
This will be Zach Mettenberger's first road start and SEC start. He will probably have some jitters, but I still really want to see what this kid is made of. I think he is the single key to LSU's ability to beat Alabama. Let's see what he can do against an SEC defense, even if it is Auburn.
Auburn will try to provide an upset special on the Plains as the visitor in this series is 1-11 since 2000, with three straight losses. Don't bet on that happening though as Auburn is a 19 point home underdog.