Sep 24, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; LSU receiver Malachi Dupree (15) is tackled by Auburn Tigers defensive back Joshua Holsey (15) during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Auburn Tigers beat the LSU Tigers 18-13.

John Reed, USA Today Sports

LSU-Auburn game preview

The battle of Tigers is a storied rivalry

Deke Bellavia
October 12, 2017 - 6:23 pm
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After dealing with the most difficult seven day stretch in his early stages of being the LSU Tigers Head Football coach, Ed Orgeron and his Tigers pulled together for a much needed win.  “I think the team worked hard all week.  I credit our coaching staff for the hard work they put forth in preparing our team.  And if feel like we (LSU) became a lot closer as a team,” Orgeron said.

The Tigers were a desperate team needing a win and LSU did just that nipping the Gators 17-16.  Now the hottest offensive team in the SEC is coming to town in Auburn.  “They are playing great football right now.  Their offensive is clicking and Coach Kevin Steele has done a tremendous job with their defense.  This is going to be a difficult challenge for our team and we are going to need a great week of preparing to be ready for Auburn,” Orgeron said. 

Now let’s take a closer look at LSU’s next foe. 

 

The University of Auburn

Coach:  Gus Malzahn 5th season at UF (40-19 overall)

Record: 5-1 (3-0 SEC)

Conference:  Southeastern (West)

Mascot:  Tigers

School Colors:  Burnt Orange and Navy Blue

Last week’s results:  Auburn beat Ole Miss 44-14

Series History:  LSU leads the all-time series 28-22-1.  No other series in the SEC and perhaps the nation has had the drama, climatic endings and historical moments as the battle of Tigers.  The Earthquake Game, the interception game, Bring back the Magic Game, the burning building game, the cigar game, the extra point game, the waved off flag game, the missed fields goal game, the last Flynn to D. Byrd Game in 2007.  You name it and this series has seen it. 

The Auburn Offense

Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey has tuned up the Tigers Offense over the last three weeks of the season.  During their first three games of the season the Tigers Offense scored 79 points and averaged 26.3 points per game.  And during the last three games the Tigers have doubled their output.

Auburn has scored a total of 144 points their last three games combined for an average of 48 points scored during that stretch. 

Key Stat:  Auburn’s Offense averages 7.69 yards per play which is best in the SEC.  And the Tigers 3rd down offense is on fire going 46-94 in SEC Games for an average of 51.2% conversion rate.

The Auburn Defense

Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele has one of his better line-ups to oversee in his coaching career.  Ask any coach on any level and when it comes to having a stout defense that coach will tell you that he has a good front seven.

Many feel that the Auburn Defensive Front is one of the best in the nation and they have the numbers to back it up.  And what’s bad news is that six of the Tigers front seven defenders are underclassmen. 

In my own opinion the Tigers Defense is set up by their two interior defensive linemen.  Junior DT Dontavius Russell and fellow DT in Sophomore Derrick Brown set the tone for the Tigers.  The two DE’s are legit and all three LB’s are some of the better players in the SEC. 

Auburn has nine underclassmen on their defense this season. 

Key Stat:  Auburn’s Defense is 13th in the nation in total defense allowing 287 yards per game.  And the Tigers are 6th in the country in scoring defense surrendering only 13 points per game.

 

The Big Chief Says

To me this is the most important game of the season for the Tigers.  I say that because if LSU is a team that wants to and feels like they can be one of the best teams in the SEC West this season they need this game.

I think a win over Auburn would lead me to believe that LSU would also be in good shape in future games against Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M.  Alabama is on another level and for another day to discuss. 

A loss puts LSU at 0-2 and basically out of any major contention and any major bowl possibilities.  Auburn comes in playing as good as they have been playing going into a game against LSU.

Auburn’s Offense is clicking, the defense is forcing opponents into mistakes and turnovers.  And the Tigers are getting good production from their special teams.  If LSU is going to have a chance to win they are going to need to not turn the ball over.  And the Tigers are going to need to move the ball on the ground.

Auburn’s Offense has done a lot of good things this season.  But ball protection is an area the Tigers have to and have improved upon.  Auburn has turned the ball over 10 times in six games.  But in their current three game stretch in which the Tigers pumped up 48 points per game, Auburn has done a much better job of protecting the football. 

In their first three games of the season the Auburn Offense turned the ball over a combined seven times.  But in their last three the Tigers gave the ball away only two times and during that same stretch Auburn is plus +4 in the turnover ratio.

So why the major turnaround?  Well Auburn is playing better football and they are feeding Kerryon Johnson the football.  KJ had 136 yards on 16 carries and 2 TD’s.  But since Johnson has been toting more of the load while fellow RB Kamryn Pettway heals up from injury, he has been on fire.

The past three games KJ has carried the football 69 times for 368 yards with a whopping 10 TD’s.  LSU should and will get a heavy dose of the junior RB.  I can toss out many more stats but it’ basically pretty simple.  LSU has to slow down the Tigers rushing attack and they can’t allow QB Jarrett Stidham to be comfortable.

 

 

 

 

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