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at LSU 45 … Auburn 10

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 22, 2011


Week 8 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Auburn at LSU


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 8 - Auburn at LSU

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Oct. 22 at LSU 45 … Auburn 10
CFN Analysis: The suspensions really hurt the Tigers … right. The LSU offense pounded the ball as usual, even without Spencer Ware, and the defense didn’t give up a thing with the line dominating from the start and not letting the Auburn offense breathe. Auburn came up with 248 yards and was stuffed for just 87 on the ground, and the passing game had nothing to offer to challenge the Tyrann Mathieu-less secondary. Showing that everything is working, Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee each threw picture-perfect touchdown passes to Rueben Randle to air it out a bit, and the kick coverage was hard-hitting and terrific. The focus is all on Alabama now after waltzing through this easy win, and the Tigers couldn’t be playing any better.

LSU is playing at the highest of high levels and Auburn has quarterback issues. Ball game. Michael Dyer came up with 60 yards, but he was never able to establish any sort of a rhythm or a groove against the tremendous LSU defensive front. Clint Moseley did what he could in his first start, completing 12-of-20 passes for 145 yards and a pick six, but it’s not fair to judge what he can do in a game like this. He’s supposed to be able to push the ball down the field more than Barrett Trotter and Kiehl Frazier, and this isn’t the defense to do it against. The Tigers have to ignore this game as soon as possible with Ole Miss up next; that should be a breeze if they’re focused. So far, Auburn has lost to undefeated LSU, undefeated Clemson, and an Arkansas team that lost to Alabama. That’s nothing to get in a twist over.

(AP) BATON ROUGE, La. -- It didn't matter who was throwing the ball to Rueben Randle, it didn't matter who was covering him, and it certainly didn't matter that LSU was missing three key players.

Randle caught a 42-yard scoring pass from Jordan Jefferson and a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Lee, and No. 1 LSU once again overcame off-the-field distractions in style with a 45-10 victory over Auburn (No. 20 BCS, No. 19 AP) on Saturday.

LSU was without star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, leading rusher Spencer Ware and defensive back Tharold Simon -- all suspended one game for violating the team's drug policy. Yet LSU continued to make team history with its eighth double-digit win in as many games this season, a streak that started with a season-opening triumph over Oregon without the then-suspended Jefferson and receiver Russell Shepard.

Off next week, LSU (8-0, 5-0 SEC) will be unbeaten entering its showdown at No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5.

The Crimson Tide were playing at home Saturday night against struggling Tennessee.

The beneficiary of Ware's absence was freshman Kenny Hilliard, who scored the first two touchdowns of his career while rushing for 65 yards on only 10 carries.

Randle finished with five receptions for 106 yards. Lee was 14 of 20 for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while Jefferson completed two of three passes for 54 yards.

With Michael Ford leading the way (12 rushes, 82 yards), LSU gained 174 yards on the ground.

Even without two key defensive backs, LSU held Auburn first-time starter Clint Moseley to 145 yards passing sacked him six times and intercepted him once. If anyone questioned how deep LSU could really be at defensive back, it was none other than Mathieu's replacement, Ron Brooks, who made the interception and returned it 28 yards for a score that made it 42-3 only half way through the third quarter.

Shortly after Brooks scored, the message: "I see you Ron baby!!! THATS WHAT WE DO ..." appeared on Mathieu's Twitter page.

Auburn (5-3, 3-2) was held to 87 yards rushing, led by Michael Dyer's 60 yards.

All season, LSU has appeared increasingly galvanized by each potential pitfall and coach Les Miles even mentioned several weeks ago that adversity seems to strengthen his tight-knit team's resolve.

It's getting pretty hard to argue with that, considering LSU responded to its latest crisis with the most lopsided victory by either team in the 46-game history of the series. It was Auburn's worst loss since a 51-10 demolition at the hands of then-No. 1 Florida in 1996.

Wearing special edition uniforms, LSU defenders and coverage teams swarmed to the ball like blazing streaks of white, delivering crushing hits that provoked collective gasps from the Death Valley crowd.

One such hit was delivered by safety Eric Reid, who jarred the ball from kickoff returner Tre Mason. LSU's Tahj Jones found the football while losing his helmet, rising in celebration with his dreadlocks aflutter at the Auburn 22.

Hilliard then more than made up for a holding penalty with a 25-yard carry, which set up his second score on a 1-yard dive to make it 35-3.

Hilliard's first touchdown came on a 9-yard run on game's opening drive, giving LSU the lead for good. The Tigers still have not trailed since the second quarter of their season opener against Oregon.

Although LSU marched for a seemingly easy touchdown on its opening drive, Auburn kept the game close for much of the first half.

Auburn was threatening to tie it at 7, but Barkevious Mingo's second sack of the game forced Auburn to settle for Cody Parkey's 42 field goal.

Half way through the second quarter, LSU went ahead 14-3 when Jefferson spotted Randle streaking down the right sideline and released a perfect pass with two pass rushers converging on him.

Late in the quarter, Lee lofted a third-down pass down the same right sideline that, Randle who had blown past two defenders, caught in stride for what looked like a replay of his first score.

Auburn (5-2) at LSU (7-0) Oct. 23, 3:30, CBS

Here’s The Deal … LSU was No. 3 in the nation in total defense and sixth in the nation against the run, allowing just over 83 yards per game. Sure there were issues on offense, but the defense was swarming, timely, and very, very talented on the way to a 7-0 start and a showdown against a red-hot Auburn. One Cam Newton Heisman-winning performance later, with 217 of the team’s 440 rushing yards on the way to a 24-17 win, and the 2010 season started to take shape.

This could be the unofficial passing of the torch from one national champion to another.

The 2011 LSU Tigers are crushing and killing everything in their path, beating up quarterback-less Florida and Tennessee teams over the last two weeks and laughing off challenges from dangerous Oregon and West Virginia offensive attacks. It’s all about maintaining focus before getting to finally turn all focus on the one game this season that matters; the showdown at Alabama in a few weeks. First, the BCS No. 1 team has to go through the formality of dispensing of an Auburn team that’s still in the SEC title hunt.

While many might think this is a foregone conclusion, Auburn is still in the mix despite getting its doors blown off by Arkansas a few weeks ago. Taking advantage of the same dead Florida team LSU picked over two weeks ago, the Tigers came up with a 17-6 win last week to make it three games in the last four allowing 14 points or fewer. If nothing else, Auburn can claim to possibly being the best team in the SEC East with a win at Georgia in a few weeks, but it still might just be the fourth best team in the West.

LSU has won three of the last four games in the series, but Auburn holds a 10-8 advantage since the two became SEC West brothers. To make it 11, the defending national champions need to come up with a performance even more stunning than last year’s ground game onslaught. There’s nothing to lose for Auburn, and now it’s time to let it rip. For LSU, though, this could be just another exercise to show off its greatness. Either way, as lopsided as the matchup might appear, it’s still big and it’s still important. It’ll be another tone-setter for the rest of the season no matter what the outcome.

Why Auburn Might Win: No one has tried to stand up to the bully. Oregon’s fancy-schmancy finesse thing that it runs might crank out a bazillion rushing yards against the weak and the sad, but it doesn’t work against the teams with actual defensive talent. LSU kept the Ducks to 95 yards, and while Mississippi State likes to use some element of power, it didn’t have much success coming up with just 52 yards giving up big play after big play behind the line. West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, and Tennessee weren’t equipped to try to hit LSU in the mouth and get physical on the ground.

Auburn’s offensive line hasn’t exactly been Wisconsin’s so far when it comes to bulldozing, but it’s just starting to do a nice job of shoving some people around, getting a great push against South Carolina and helping to crank out 291 yards on the ground against Arkansas. Oddly enough, Auburn’s two worst rushing games this year were against Utah State and Florida Atlantic, both wins, and two of the best rushing games against Clemson and Arkansas were losses. However, the Tigers have to try to control the game on the ground by going smashmouth. They have the running backs to do it.

LSU players and coaches are all saying the right things, but this is an ultra-cocky bunch. They know they’re really, really good, and they know that can turn it on at any time and come up with the game-changing moment on either side of the ball, because they’ve done it all year. While it’s been stated that making a statement would be nice against the 2010 national champion, no LSU player and no coach can go more than ten minutes without being reminded of the Alabama game. LSU is way overdue to be LSU again and come up with an unfocused, sloppy effort, and against an Auburn defense that’s doing a decent job of taking the ball away, that could be a problem, but …

Why LSU Might Win: It’s not like LSU would be afraid of dealing with John Brantley, Tyler Bray, or Barrett Trotter, but this will be the third straight game the D is going against a backup quarterback. This might be the best defense in the nation, currently ranking fourth in yards allowed even after getting bombed on by West Virginia’s passing game, and it’s no place for anyone to make his first career start. Florida and Tennessee didn’t even need to show up over the last two weeks, and Auburn might be nothing more than a light scrimmage if it can’t find any more offensive punch through the air in a big hurry.

Yes, Auburn should be able to pound away a little bit and it should be able to establish itself from time to time on the ground, but LSU is fielding a defense loaded with NFL talent that licks its chops when it senses weakness. Florida’s quarterbacks completed 9-of-16 passes for for 100 yards with a score and two picks in a rough effort, and Tennessee’s Matt Simms did his best in a 6-of-20, 128-yard, two interception day in last week’s debacle. Now is not the time to experiment, and that’s exactly what Auburn is doing after the quarterbacks have combined to complete just 28-of-66 passes for two scores and seven interceptions over the last three games. The Auburn defensive line doesn’t have the pass rush to bother the LSU quarterbacks, and the offensive line is pedestrian in pass protection. With the LSU defense teeing off against the run, it’ll be a long, long day unless …

What To Watch Out For: Clint Moseley becomes a national name late Saturday afternoon. Auburn starting quarterback Barrett Trotter regressed, completing just 8-of-17 passes over the last two weeks with a 2-of-8 day against Florida, and superstar recruit Kiehl Frazier, while a good runner, just isn’t ready for primetime. Frazier will get a few carries here and there, but it’s up to the 6-3, 223 pound former Alabama Mr. Football, Clint Moseley, who has a cannon for an arm and can push it down the field much better than the other options. With a much stronger arm than Trotter, he was ahead in the quarterback race shortly before Auburn’s spring game, and now he’ll get his chance to show what he can do as the starter. He’s not going to run, but he’ll bomb away, completing 6-of-9 passes on the year for 120 yards, but most importantly, he has to handle the pressure of the moment and can’t make a slew of big mistakes.

Can the LSU defense go on for a week without Tyrann Mathieu and can the running game work without Spencer Ware? The two were suspended for the game for violating team rules, and while it shouldn't matter too much, it's enough of a distration to a team that's already focusing on Alabama. This team seems to thrive on adversity, but it's never a plus to lose two players of their caliber.

The LSU coaching staff is trying to get Jordan Jefferson back into the mix on a regular basis, but Jarrett Lee has been too good to keep out. Jefferson hasn’t done enough to earn his starting job back, completing just 1-of-3 passes against Tennessee, but he ran for 73 yards on 14 carries while taking the pressure off of Lee to do anything out of his comfort zone. It’s Lee’s job to take the play that’s there and keep the chains moving. After an 8-of-21 performance against Kentucky, he’s been brilliant, completing 20-of-27 passes over the last two weeks for 282 yards and four scores. He has just one pick on the year in 135 attempts, but with this team, he doesn’t have to force anything.

What Will Happen: Auburn will be more than just a speed bump, but it’ll only last for about a half. A sleepy LSU will wake up after halftime to finish the game with three picks and around 250 yards on the ground as a tight battle will quickly turn into a blowout. Once LSU focuses, it’ll be a breathtaking display before running off the field and into the film room to start breaking down Bama.

CFN Prediction: LSU 37 … 13
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