A Spooky Halloween Bash
Auburn Has Not Beaten LSU Since 2016
(Photo by Acid Reign)
War Eagle, everybody! Saturday afternoon, the Auburn Tigers will host the LSU Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn sits just a game over 50 percent, at 3–2. LSU rests at 2–2. Both teams need a win to remain among the winning teams in the SEC Western Division, and the loser is effectively out of the division race.
As usual, Auburn seems to remain COVID-free and should be close to full strength for this game. We’ve not seen any more COVID cancellations of games, and that is a good thing. It means that the league teams have mostly been quite serious about following protocol. Teams like Vanderbilt and Florida don’t have any more room to reschedule anything else after missing 2 weekends of action in a shortened season.
I would have predicted a big Auburn win in this game against LSU till last weekend. Even with true freshman quarterback TJ Finley getting his first start, the LSU offense remained prolific, and the Tigers laid a 52–24 beating on South Carolina, a team Auburn lost to a couple of weeks ago. Auburn definitely needs to stop the run and pressure Finley if it wants to slow down the LSU attack. If Finley gets comfortable in Jordan-Hare Stadium, it might be a very long day for Auburn. Getting Finley on the ground might be problematic for a front seven that has had difficulty tackling. Finley is about the same size Cam Newton is, although certainly not as fleet of foot.
As usual this season, it falls to the Auburn offense to keep pace. LSU has a pretty good pass rush, Auburn has had difficulty there, and lost left guard Brandon Council to injury last week. What LSU has difficulty with is run fits and coverage. Fortunately, Auburn has done a good job the last 3 games of creating mismatches up front with good blocks for the running backs. LSU also has had issues containing secondary receivers, which is something Auburn struggles with as well. In LSU’s mostly man-to-man coverage sets, I’d expect all-star cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. to be matched up on Seth Williams most of the afternoon. Auburn can’t get too dialed in to Williams and not make use of Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove running free.
As mentioned earlier, this is a big game for Auburn. Predicting the remainder of Auburn’s schedule, Alabama looks like a certain loss, and beating Texas A&M the week after the Iron Bowl doesn’t look too hopeful, either. If Auburn is going to get to 6 wins, it needs to beat Mississippi State, Tennessee and LSU. The road continues tomorrow in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn should have sunny skies Saturday afternoon with the temperature around 70 degrees F at kickoff. The sun will be passing low in the sky over the pressbox as the afternoon continues to deep shadow as the game ends near sunset.
We have a 6-game slate this weekend in the SEC as South Carolina and Tennessee take the weekend off. The imbalance between the divisions was caused by both Vanderbilt and Florida having to miss the last 2 weeks.
In early 11:00 AM Central Daylight Time action, Georgia visits Kentucky. The Bulldogs have had a week off to lick their wounds after the loss to Alabama while Kentucky comes into this game limping badly. Former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood will get his first start against the Bulldogs, who have the best defense in the SEC. That’s a rough assignment. I expect Georgia to win handily in this one.
On the 2:30 PM CBS game, it is Auburn hosting LSU. Most pundits are predicting a high scoring game as both teams have suspect defenses.
At 3:00 PM on the SEC Network, Ole Miss visits Vanderbilt. I’ve heard chatter that this might be the worst Vanderbilt squad in the last 50 years while Ole Miss looks to get back on track after battling well this season and but losing 4 of its first 5 games.
A trio of evening games awaits. At 6:00 PM on ESPN, the sacrificial lamb in Tuscaloosa is Mississippi State. After a great start against LSU, the vaunted Air Raid offense of the Bulldogs has face-planted in recent weeks. They have lost more players to the transfer portal than they have scored touchdowns in those 3 losses. Alabama should win big.
At 6:30 PM, Arkansas visits Texas A&M. Both teams had a bye week last weekend to rest up for this one. These two former Southwest Conference rivals usually put on a good show. Texas A&M is sitting high in second place in the SEC West while expected doormat Arkansas has made noise this season and has been able to slug it out with any opponent. If I were to try and pick an upset this week, this one would be it.
Also at 6:30 PM, Missouri visits Florida. After looking hapless in its first couple of games, Missouri has come on strong in the last two, beating LSU and dominating Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Florida athletic department has been shut down the last 2 weeks, and the team could not even practice till this week. I’d expect some rust from the Gators, although probably not enough to lose this game. Florida needs to win to keep pace with division leader Georgia.
The Auburn–LSU game will be nationally televised on CBS. We will have our usual Trackemtigers.com Open Thread up and running. I’ll offer comments on various SEC games and will have the play-by-play this week. War Eagle, and let’s take it to LSU!