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Into the Tiger Den!

By on September 19th, 2013 in Football 28 Comments »
LSU Week

Can Auburn beat this bunch?

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s LSU week, and the corn-dog jokes are flying here on TrackEmTigers.com. It’s a big week for Auburn football, as our Tigers head southwest, to play the powerful LSU Tigers, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s a game the experts give Auburn little chance in, but how realistic is that?

     It’s true that Auburn is breaking in a lot of young defensive linemen and linebackers, as well as a new starting quarterback. When has that NOT been true, the last five seasons? It’s true that LSU has statistically been one of the best teams in the SEC, this season, and they are undefeated just like Auburn is.

     Let’s look at the opponents each team has played. LSU has downed TCU in Arlington 37-27, UAB 56-17 at home, and Kent State at home, 45-13. Auburn has played all three of its games at home, defeating Washington State 31-24, Arkansas State 38-9, and Mississippi State 24-20. LSU’s opponents are a combined 2-6, with the wins coming against Southeast Louisiana and Liberty. Those losses include losses to Texas Tech, Bowling Green, and Troy. Meanwhile, Auburn’s opponents are 5-4 on the season, with the only non-Auburn loss coming to Oklahoma State. Auburn opponent Washington State has a win over Southern Cal, and Arkansas State beat Troy last weekend.

     One of the keys to this game will be whether Auburn’s linebackers can make plays against LSU’s strong rushing attack. LSU’s lead blockers like J. C. Copeland are huge, even bigger than Jay Prosch. LSU players accused Auburn defenders of shying away from contact two years ago, and it was true, particularly in the second half. Will Holland, Frost, McKinzy, Garrett, and Therezie be able to take on these blocks at the point of attack and handle the LSU runners? I don’t know about that one.

     Will Auburn be able to pressure Zack Mettenberger and force some bad throws? Can Auburn corners Jonathan Mincy and Ryan Smith stay with LSU receivers O’dell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry? That’s where Mett likes to go. Beckham Jr. has 15 catches on the season, and Landry has 17. The rest of the entire LSU roster has 14 total catches.

     LSU will likely load the box like Auburn’s previous opponents, and dare Nick Marshall to throw the ball. It’s worth noting that the LSU defense, while its overall numbers are pretty good, has been susceptible to giving up first half points. LSU led TCU 16-10 at the half, UAB 35-17, and Kent State 31-10. That’s 37 first half points given up, which isn’t bad, unless you look at the level of the competition. Of course, Auburn has given up 37 first half points, also, against stiffer competition.

     The key to keeping the LSU defense off balance will be throwing. It’s worth noting that Kent State’s quarterback Colin Reardon was able to hit 20 of 29 passes against LSU. LSU defensive coordinator Jon Chavis will play his safeties back watching for the run, unless Auburn is willing to challenge the LSU zone.

     How well will Auburn’s young team handle their first road game to a very hostile environment? LSU has already played a road game against TCU in Arlington. While it wasn’t TCU’s home field, Arlington is basically an industrial park/train yard/airport between Ft. Worth and Dallas. And TCU is located in Ft. Worth, where I was born, incidentally.

     And finally, does Auburn have a special teams advantage? Auburn has two very good, veterans kicking the ball. Cody Parkey has hit 7 of 8 field goals this season, with his only miss from 50 yards. He has also planted 14 of 20 kickoffs for touchbacks. Steven Clark is averaging 43.5 yards per punt, with 5 of 13 killed inside the 20. Auburn has yet to allow any punt returner to attempt a return.

     LSU has a couple of new legs, on their side. Kicker Colbey Delahoussaye is 4 for 4 on field goals, but his longest has been just 28 yards. On kickoffs, James Hairston has planted 15 of 24 for touchbacks. New punter Jamie Keehn has a 40.4 yard average on 8 punts, with 2 killed inside the 20. LSU has allowed just one punt return for 2 yards. More alarmingly, LSU is giving up 26.1 yards per kick return, including one taken to the house by TCU return man B. J. Catelon. Auburn is giving up 20.2 yards per kick return, while averaging 34.8 yards per return, including a touchdown by Tre Mason in the opener.

     Ultimately, this game will come down to how well the Auburn front seven can hang with LSU’s rush-heavy attack. If Auburn can keep LSU from running up and down the field, this could be a close ballgame, and the Tigers have a number of players on the offensive side who can break big plays at any time. Auburn also has had some spectacularly awkward offensive plays, that ended up turning out well this year.

     We’ll be here all day this Saturday, with our usual open thread and theatrics. This game will be the Saturday night headliner on ESPN, and the nation will be watching. It’s a great chance for the Auburn Tigers to show the nation that we are BACK! Even if Auburn doesn’t win, I expect that we’ll show the college football world that we’ve once again become a team that will fight, and not roll over. War Eagle, and let’s beat LSU!

28 Comments

  1. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Sorry to repeat but:

    THE GAME DOESN’T ALWAYS GO TO THE STRONGER OR FASTER MAN;

    BUT SOONER OR LATER, THE MAN WHO WINS, IS THE ONE WHO THINKS HE CAN.

    A win would really make my year more enjoyable when I wear my Auburn shirts, etc. It can happen. Just keep on believing. And, never forget:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  2. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I like the way this was written.

    You know, last year the coaches challenged the team to play like men. To man up and not shy away from the rushing attack. There was locker room material based on comments made by LSU players which fueled some pride in our guys. They played lights out that game.

    If we want the team to play with an expectation, or even just the hope, of winning, then we as fans should not post comments lamenting there is no hope against the giants of LSU. Our guys put up a valiant effort against the giants of LSU last year. So the courage is there.

    LSU’s quarterback seems to have improved his passing from last year, according to reports. But as Acid points out, so far only cupcakes and a flukey TCU on their schedule. Remember how great South Carolina looked against North Carolina? Remember how bad Georgia looked against Clemson? How did that match up turn out.

    I can’t make a prediction for this game because it could be close. As long as the kids show courage, which they showed last week against Miss St, there will be a chance.

    Johnson will have to make adjustments before halftime if he wants to keep it possible. Our receivers will have to make catches. Marshall will be the man this Saturday.

    This game should get everyone excited. This is a real challenge. Young men eager to exercise their will to win, the desire to prove themselves by slaying dragons, that’s what this game will be for Auburn.

  3. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Dropped passes or the lack thereof will be the key. It has been our achilles heel thus far.
    LSU probably doesn’t know they are playing the number one team in the BCS computer rankings either.
    Insert face palm here.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Turnovers, penalties, and third down conversions (which ties in with dropped passes), will be the difference in this game. If we play a clean game, I see this one going down to the wire.

  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE!!!!!!!!

    Can we haz sum D?

  5. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    We’ve seen it many times before – an Auburn team playing well beyond the expectation of the media or opposing ranked teams. Whether it’s the ’72 amazins, Bo over the top, a freshman Tre Smith running wild in the Alabama secondary or flipping a blocked punt over the goal line as a senior against Florida. We tend to frustrate coaches from the likes of Bear Bryant and Johnny Majors to Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban and leave players like Emmit Smith and Tim Tebow weeping silently on the sidelines in bitter failure.

    This is our legacy. This is what we do. We drink deeply from the tears of our foes and their wailing is a lullaby for our contented slumber.

    This game is just one more to add to the list.

    War Eagle!

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      “This is our legacy. This is what we do. We drink deeply from the tears of our foes and their wailing is a lullaby for our contented slumber.”

      You got that right!

  6. sparkey sparkey says:

    Time for a reality check and to knock away all the rainbows and sunshine. They will beat us somewhere between 21-28 points and many Auburn fans will be saying well I guess we are not far removed from 2012 after all. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is that they’re catching us at the right time. Nick Marshall is still learning.

    He had a fit his first game. I have to think his nerves will be worse for his first road game. It’s also at night against possibly the best defense in college football. From there, it’s one of the worst places to play if you’re the road team. All of these factors will work against Nick Marshall and their defensive is probably better than our offensive line by a decent bit. Therefore, we’ll struggle to run the ball and the offense is better than our defense by a decent bit. Put all of those things together, we’re going to lose by a pretty large margin.

    • audude audude says:

      I have been saying all year you don’t get rid of the roll over attitude in one year. However, they have not given up to date. Sparkey may be right, but I’m not going there until we see how they respond to being on the road.
      Dan Mullett said that we were well prepared. If he can notice the difference, then maybe Les MIserabLES will have something similar to say Sunday!

      WDE

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        I didn’t say we’d give up anything. I said they’d beat us but a decent bit. There’s a stark difference. If this game were number 10 or 11, I’d have it a whole lot different.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        In fact, I’m saying the exact opposite. I’m saying they get us eaRLY in the season. That’s the reason I have the game so lopsided now. Les had best enjoy it now. Next season, he’s going to get an ass whoopin here at the Plains. I’m working now to get a ticket to that show. We’re going to stomp a mud hole in the corn dogs and walk that S.O.B. dry! Enjoy it now Les it won’t last. Gus is here to stay and times they are a changin!

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      Well, you’re more than welcome to your opinion. But to such sentiment I can only say – “Tear down the bridge behind me.”

      “Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul,
      With all the speed ye may;
      I, with two more to help me,
      Will hold the foe in play.
      In yon strait path a thousand
      May well be stopped by three.
      Now who will stand on either hand,
      And keep the bridge with me?”

      Thomas Babington Macaulay – Horatius

    • War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

      You do know that Marshall has played LSU before……

  7. LSU Jonno says:

    Good write up Acid. Some thoughts from someone who’s watched every snap of both teams so far this season…

    LSU’s defense is definitely susceptible this year, I don’t care what the stats say. We are far from the best D in football, but the issues are mostly in experienced depth and not talent. You mentioned the first half points we’ve given up…Primarily those points have been given up in the second quarter against the cupcakes after LSU is already up by 3 TDs. That’s when we’ve seen a lot of defensive subs come in to try to build depth. It will be interesting to see who starts and how much playing time those starters get vs Auburn. Having said that, I expect Auburn will hit several big plays on LSU.

    Last year’s Tiger Bowl had much more to do with LSU’s issues than Auburn’s success in my opinion. LSU lost their starting RB and starting LT for the year the game before the Auburn game. So there were a lot of things in flux in that game. Plus the WR’s had a case of the dropsies the first half of the year. Couple that with the fact that it was Mett’s first road SEC start, and it was a recipe for disaster. Plus I’ll throw in that at that point in the year, Auburn hadn’t “given up” yet like they did later in the year and were playing that game tough. Had these two teams met in November after LSU’s O-line gelled and after Hill emerged as the starter in the backfield, I’m sure the point difference would have been more than 2 points.

    I’m not all that impressed with Auburn’s defense and I think LSU’s new look offense will move the ball with relative ease. LSU is just so balanced this year and has the weapons to beat you with the run or the pass which we haven’t really had since 2007. Stack the box? We throw over the top. Give the WR’s cushion and we’ll pound the ball or hit the underneath stuff. We played defense on offense for the better part of the last 5 seasons, but this year we attack and don’t relent. Having said that, our power run game is not what it has been in recent years. Most of our running yards have come late in the 3rd quarter or 4th quarter when the games are out of reach and we are running the clock. If I were Auburn I’d make LSU beat me with the run this year, the passing game is just too good.

    I look for this game to be somewhat of a shootout. I think Auburn will hit some big plays and keep this game close the entire way. LSU never pulls away but Auburn never get’s the ball with a chance to take the lead in the 4th quarter either.

    LSU 42-31

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      I agree. Our D is more than suspect…but I do see some improvement from week to week. Nevertheless, a girl wants what a girl wants-reality be damned! That said, I’m thinking it will be 31-24 Bayou Bengals……

  8. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I don’t disagree with what you said Jonno but I do think the score will be lower ie. 7 point spread. If we can score 31 to 38…we win. I gave up betting on college football years ago but I would be sorely tempted to take AU and the 17 points the oddsmakers are giving.

    • LSU Jonno says:

      I wouldn’t touch the spread (18.5 now) this early in the year. I don’t know enough about either team to be comfortable. I’d be all over the over on this one though (56).

      • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

        IMO, 56 is not too low. Especially when you consider it will be raining cats and more cats during at least the first part of the game.

        • LSU Jonno says:

          Well that’s a good point. All bets are off in a downpour! But in good weather I’d take the over and consider this a shootout.

          • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

            Even in good weather, I would be scared of an over bet.

          • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

            …..Latest is that it should be clear by kickoff, sez our local weather blog. I think Tiger Stadium drains pretty well, too.

          • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

            ……And now “periods of rain” are back into the Auburn LSU game forecast. Oh, well. Will be interesting to see if a wet field helps on Gus’ misdirection plays, or produces a lot of wet, bouncing fumbles.

  9. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    As the rain falls so shall LSU!

  10. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Will be happy with a competitive match and play from this squad. For 2 consecutive years AU hasn’t shown up for this matchup. For me that will be the sign of positive things happening on the Plains. Upset? Only if we get help from above in the form of a driving rain storm. I also believe LSU isn’t as good as initially advertised. It’s a possibility.

    WDE

  11. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Hill’s court ordered ankle bracelet slows him down just enough to stymie the purple tiger rushing attack and “Less” has to have his stomach pumped at half time to rid himself of the urgot infected Johnson grass he ate pregame in the parking lot which has caused him to hallucinate and see large bats sitting in the stands. He coaches the second half from a straight jacket screaming to his players they can have sex with the campus hostesses in Stillwater if they make a tackle.

    Auburn wins in convincing fashion 38-24

    (Sparkey turns over a new leaf and never makes another negative prediction about AU again)

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      Whatever it is you’re on, I want some of it :-D haha, if you read the last comment I made, I said for Les Miles to enjoy it while it lasts. I truly believe in the foundation that Gus Malzahn is building. I just don’t think it’s going to be strong enough in time to defeat the wave of the corn dogs this week. Give it time, though.

      Next season we’re going to be pretty beastly. I’m hoping they’ll look to medical red shirt Chris Davis and Johnathan Jones saving them for next season. We’ll be terribly deep in the secondary and heaven forbid our linebackers will become a solid unit instead of such a glaring weakness. Our offensive line will be even better and our running backs will be stout. From there, the true freshman wide receivers that are making waves will be much better.

      Nick Marshall will have everything learned by then and the best wide receiver to play at Auburn since Frank Sanders will be there in the form of the JUCO transfer by the name of Williams. Daniel and Lawson will be better and Montravius Adams will be showing out by that time for sure. We win at least 10 games next season. Maybe I’m crazy, but I see that happening. I just don’t have confidence this season but I’d love to be wrong again like I was in 2010.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        Sparkey, all jokes aside I expect this to be a close game. The LSU defense is young and I believe Malzahn can exploit it sufficiently. I also believe that Mettenburger is susceptible to pressure and can be rattled. LSU is not the juggernaut they have been in the past and AU is good enough to expose them. Not predicting a win but it will be close…. Take AU plus the points.