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Final Exam Comes Early for Auburn on Saturday

By on September 10th, 2006 in Football Comments Off on Final Exam Comes Early for Auburn on Saturday

Auburn’s game Saturday at Mississippi State made you feel good all over. Bradon Cox overcame a somewhat slow start against Washington State last week to post a solid performance over the Bulldogs. Throwing for 249 yards, it was his third best outing as a Tiger. John Vaughn got into the right mindset for LSU by connecting on a 55 yard field goal. And Courtney Taylor looked like he did in 2004, having the best day of his career statistically.

Heading into Saturday night, it felt great to be an Auburn Tiger.

Then, I turned on the LSU-Arizona game and got a reality check. Wow.LSU looked every bit as good as Auburn. It manhandled a supposedly good Arizona team 45-3. The Bayou Bengals have outscored their last three opponents 130-9. And they haven’t given up a touchdown in 14 quarters. That’s pretty heady stuff.

Auburn will have to be hitting on all cylinders to win on Saturday. There should be plenty of motivation. Last year’s loss kept the Tigers out of the SEC Championship Game and very likely costs them a BCS bowl game. Cox will likely need a similar performance to Saturday’s if Auburn is going to win. The orange and blue Tigers will have to block better than they did against State and give Kenny Irons more holes to run through.

On defense, the task is clear. They must contain the run while slowing down a much improved JeMarcus Russell. The LSU quarterback has been stellar dating back to last year’s Peach Bowl. On Saturday he was 13 of 20 for 196 yards with touchdowns. Auburn’s linebackers and secondary will have to play their best to stop him.

There’s no question the two best teams in the SEC will be playing each other on Saturday afternoon. Let’s hope that the Tigers in blue are ready.

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