coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/16/2013 01:35 PM in NCAA Football

Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers: Preview and Pick

Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers: Preview and Pick

The LSU Tigers are one of the most talented teams in the country, but they are hidden by the big spotlight that is on the Alabama Crimson Tide. However this week when the Tigers host the Auburn Tigers they have a chance to get noticed with a big win.

Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers Odds

The college football odds for this game opened up with the LSU Tigers favored by (-15.5) points. This may seem a bit high, but not for the betting public. According to a sport betting consensus site over 60 percent of the betting public is on the home team and that has caused a line shift. The line can now be found at (-16.5) in several of the top rated sportsbooks.

LSU cannot take this team lightly as they have a good showing on defense to start the season. The Auburn Tigers played more zero coverage and placed more defenders in the box to defend the run. MSU couldn't get much going in the fourth quarter, finishing the game 0-for-7 on third-down conversion attempts after starting 5-for-8. Auburn will look to bring that same intensity to this game against LSU, who looks to have a vastly improved offense.

LSU QB Zach Mettenberger has been phenomenal for the Tigers through three games, completing 65.2 percent of his passes (45-of-69) for 797 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. His 205.29 passer rating leads the SEC in ranks third nationally, ahead of Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. Now he will bring that same aerial attack to this game against Auburn. The big difference in this game could be the home field advantage as Death Valley is one of the toughest fields in the country.

The college football betting trends for this SEC throw down favors the home team. The LSU Tigers are 13-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 16 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game, 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a win of more than 20 points.

The Auburn Tigers are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game, 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a win and 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games.

Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/17/2013 03:04 PM

Adjustments were the key to Auburn's 24-20 victory against Mississippi State, but so was the improved play of its defensive line in the second half Saturday.

Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) was gashed at times by Mississippi State's offensive line, especially in the middle of the field, where quarterback Dak Prescott picked up most of his 133 rushing yards. For a time it seemed as if the Bulldogs could not be stopped on the ground.

"There were probably about three formations that we saw that we had not seen," Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Sunday. "And when those happen, if they execute correctly on the other side, they're probably going to have a successful play."

Auburn made a few adjustments at halftime, but it also helped that the players were much more "aggressive" once they felt more comfortable with the new formations MSU used.

Auburn kept the defensive linemen fresh, rotating players whenever they eclipsed eight consecutive plays, tackle Angelo Blackson said.

The challenge No. 6 LSU (3-0) presents Saturday (6:45 p.m., ESPN) is quite a bit different than MSU's running attack, but it's somewhat the same up front. Auburn is expecting another hard-nosed game between the tackles.

"It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be a box game," Johnson said. "There's going to be some helmets that get kind of messed up. (Equipment manager) Dana (Marquez) is going to have a lot of work on his hands getting all that paint off the helmets, but it’s going to be different. We haven’t played anybody with this type of style this year."

Johnson is expecting plenty of sets including two running backs and two tight ends, two running backs and three tight ends and two running backs and one tight end. LSU rushed for 307 yards in its 45-13 victory against Kent State on Saturday.

MSU and Arkansas State attempted to spread Auburn's defense out and run the football, and Washington State threw the ball 65 times. LSU will throw the football plenty with quarterback Zach Mettenberger's strong arm, but Johnson expects plenty of tight sets behind a strong offensive line.

"It’s a total change of complexion from what we've been dealing with the three previous opponents," Johnson said.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/18/2013 03:16 PM

Whether they’re ready or not, the Auburn Tigers are in for a war on Saturday when they leave home for the first time to face No. 6 LSU. “It’s going to be some helmets that get kind of messed up,” defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. “[Auburn equipment manager] Dana’s [Marquez] going to have a lot of work on his hands getting all that paint off the helmets, but it’s going to be different. We haven’t played anybody with this type of style this year.”

It’s an LSU team that’s far more physical than any of Auburn’s first three opponents. LSU features a power offense epitomized by running back Jeremy Hill, who is a bruiser in every sense of the word. In LSU’s victory over Kent State, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound back rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries.

But it has been the improved play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger that has taken the LSU offense to the next level. The senior has thrown for 797 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions through the first three games. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he has a total quarterback rating of 91.6, up from 39.3 a season ago.

“Their quarterback has done a good job and protected the ball," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “I believe he hasn’t thrown an interception yet, and he has thrown quite a few touchdowns. Any time you can couple that with a good run game -- which they do have a very good run game -- that is a challenge.”

For Auburn to have any shot of slowing down LSU, it has to start up front on the defensive line. It’s a group that has had its ups and downs, but it's yet to find the right combination. The coaches have experimented with close to a dozen linemen -- veterans and newcomers alike -- and while there have been flashes, the unit has lacked consistency as a whole. “They have had some injuries and some guys have had to step up, so you know the more consistent we can be with our personnel moving forward, the more consistent those guys will be,” Malzahn said.

In Saturday’s win over Mississippi State, Auburn welcomed back a key member of the defensive line -- senior defensive end Dee Ford, the team’s top pass rusher from a year ago and a leader on the defense. Ford missed the first two games after injuring his knee during fall camp but said it felt good to be back.

“You’re always a little nervous when you haven’t played football, and I haven’t played in about a month,” Ford said. “You just never know, and practice doesn’t really simulate a game. I was just anxious to see how I play, and I think I played well.”

In his return, Ford finished with six tackles and two quarterback hurries. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Auburn because it will need both his talent and his experience when it faces LSU this weekend. Ford gives the defensive coaches a player on whom they can rely up front as they continue to seek continuity on the line.

“Some of our younger guys have the physical ability and have really done some impressive things, but they don’t have the knowledge right now and they’re sometimes getting themselves in trouble,” Johnson said. “But Dee obviously gives us the experience and that edge capability.

“What we’re settling in on now, we’re trying to get to the point where we really feel like we got the best four and a couple of guys that rotate in.”

Regardless of who rotates in against LSU, they better come ready to play. It’s a put-up or shut-up type game for an Auburn defense that still has a lot to prove, beginning with the defensive line.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/19/2013 03:02 PM

After averaging nearly 300 rushing yards the first two weeks, Auburn’s ground game took a dramatic step backwards last week against Mississippi State. The three-headed monster of Tre Mason, Cameron-Artis Payne and Corey Grant combined for just 90 yards on 24 carries with no scores against the Bulldogs.

Facing its biggest test to date at LSU (3-0) Saturday night, Auburn needs to revive its rushing attack.

“We're a run, play-action team, so we're definitely going to have to be able to run the football in any game to be successful,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Mississippi State was pretty good against the run and they brought an extra guy down from time to time. We've just got to be able to do a better job of keeping them off balance. The positive thing was we were able to throw the football. Each week may be a little bit different, but we need to be able to run the football when the numbers let us.”

Saturday’s 24-20 comeback win over the Bulldogs was the best outing in the short career of quarterback Nick Marshall, who threw for 339 yards with two scores, but it was the worst outing of the season for the tailbacks.

Mason had just 34 yards, his fewest since last year’s Georgia game. Grant (44 yards on eight carries) was average and Artis-Payne (12 yards on five carries) was never able to break free.

“I do think we should’ve run the ball better,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “Our running game (Saturday), in the game I was real frustrated, but looking back at it on film I feel like it was like our offense, it was average. … We’ve got to be able to run the football better than that to have a chance, consistently. I feel like our whole offense is kind of in that same mold.”

Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) is averaging 238.7 rushing yards, fifth best in the SEC and 32nd nationally; but LSU is allowing just 110.7 rushing yards, 3rd best in the SEC and 24th nationally. LSU coach Les Miles is 50-4 when his squad holds opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground.

Even though Marshall was able to pass the ball exceptionally well against MSU, with several incompletions coming on drops by receivers, Auburn is a run-first team. Malzahn was confident in his signal caller if Marshall was forced to pass, but one late drive, no matter how great, is far different than all game long.

Auburn also allowed its first three sacks of the season last week.

LSU’s defensive front lost several big names to the NFL, including ends Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Lavar Edwards. While the names of the Bayou Bengals now include Jordan Allen, Ego Ferguson and Jermauria Rasco, the challenge they’ll present the Auburn offensive line is no less burdensome.

“They’ll definite be tested, there’s no doubt,” Malzahn said. “Those two internal guys (Anthony Johnson and Ferguson) are really phenomenal and their defensive ends are very fast and long and they get off the football extremely well and put a lot of pressure on you. It looks like a very similar LSU front as in the past.”

The offensive line has to get back on track in order to help protect Marshall and to revive the monster in the backfield.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/20/2013 07:44 PM

Auburn has passed every test so far this season. Win the season opener? Check. Beat your coach’s old team? Check. Win an SEC game for the first time in nearly two years? Check. But none of that compares to the challenge Auburn will face Saturday night when they travel to LSU to play in one of the most hostile environments in college football.

“When you win, obviously that helps you, but this is a different challenge playing a top 10 team on the road,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “We have had a good rivalry with LSU; they are a very good team. They are going to make you earn it, and they have big-play ability on offense. It will be a challenge.”

The stats don’t lie. LSU is 39-2 in Saturday night home games under head coach Les Miles and has won 25 of its last 26 games inside Tiger Stadium. It’s a different atmosphere, and it will be one that many of the Auburn players have not seen before.

For quarterback Nick Marshall, it won’t be his first SEC road game -- he traveled to the likes of Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt when he was a freshman defensive back at Georgia -- but it will be his first start under center away from home. Marshall’s teammates have already started preparing him for Saturday’s game.

“We don't have any doubt that he won't maintain his composure, but we have been telling him it's going to be crazy,” tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “From us pulling in on the bus and people yelling at us to walking into the stadium to anywhere in between, it's going to be like an atmosphere he hasn't encountered before.”

But it’s not just Marshall. There will be plenty of newcomers on what is a very young Auburn team, and they will all have to deal with the road elements. The coaching staff will have a plan going into the game, but it’s up to the players to execute that game plan.

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee played quarterback in the SEC once upon a time, and he remembers games like this. “If you’re a player, this is what you live for,” Lashlee said. “I always liked playing on the road more than home anyway. Not because you don’t love your fans, but you love going in there when it’s just your team. It’s just you and your guys, and you know that you’ve got a great challenge ahead. That’s what we know we definitely have this week.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/20/2013 07:46 PM

For years, the SEC was regarded as the conference where high-scoring offenses went to die. The league developed a reputation as the hotbed of big-boy, defensive-minded football, thanks largely to lockdown units that led Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU to BCS titles over the past seven seasons. This fall, however, a culture shift has started to occur. The SEC’s success has come primarily on the other side of the ball.

Through three games, seven of the 14 teams in the SEC rank among the top 40 nationally in total offense. Alabama won a 49-42 shootout over Texas A&M last Saturday, a game that included a whopping 1,196 yards of total offense and 91 combined points. Up-tempo offenses are the style du jour in college football, and the SEC finally appears ready to jump onboard. “This year,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said during the SEC’s weekly teleconference, “we have some really high-powered offensive teams.”

On Saturday night, two teams benefiting from that trend will face off in Baton Rouge. No. 6 LSU and Auburn have both enjoyed hot starts behind largely improved offenses. Based on early-season results, fans should expect plenty of points in this matchup.

The high-powered beginning to 2013 is a refreshing sight for both Auburn and LSU, neither of which finished among the top 10 in the SEC in total offense last season. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger struggled through the majority of the 2012 campaign, while the Tigers’ defense, which finished eighth nationally, largely carried LSU to a 10-3 record. The offense mustered more than 25 points on only six occasions.

Yet even though the defense has played formidably despite returning just three starters, the Bayou Bengals are singing a different tune this year. New offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who was hired by Les Miles in the offseason, has rejuvenated the Tigers’ attack. Through Week 3, LSU is third in the league in scoring (46 points per game) and sixth in total offense (488 yards per game). Cameron’s unit isn’t wasting possessions, either; the Tigers average 7.7 yards per play, second only to Texas A&M in the conference.

“I think there’s a real confident attack that’s taking place here, both on the ground and in the air,” Miles told reporters this week. “Some of the things we do are similar [to last year] and some of the things we do are completely different. But I think Cam’s having a real impact.”

Much of LSU’s production has been generated by Mettenberger, who looks remarkably more consistent than he did last fall. He threw four touchdowns and two interceptions through his first three games in 2012. This year, Mettenberger has tossed nine touchdowns without a pick while also leading the league in passing efficiency. “He’s really embraced a work ethic that’s allowed him to enjoy practice, to really enjoy the position,” Miles said of his quarterback. “There’s more leadership.”

Mettenberger is one of a handful of obstacles that LSU’s offense poses for Auburn. Cameron also trots out three running backs — Jeremy Hill, Terrence Magee and Alfred Blue — who have combined for more than 500 rushing yards. “Their quarterback has done a good job and protected the ball,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn at his weekly press conference. “He hasn’t thrown an interception yet and he has thrown quite a few touchdowns. Any time you can couple that with a good run game ‐‐ which they do have a very good run game ‐‐ that is a challenge.”

Auburn’s offensive deficiencies last year were even more apparent than LSU’s. Three different quarterbacks saw significant playing time, none with particularly memorable results. Then-coach Gene Chizik’s attack ranked 115th nationally and averaged a mere 18.7 points per game. This season, the Tigers are diving headfirst into Malzahn’s up-tempo style, averaging 10 more offensive plays per game (68) than last fall (58). The philosophy is working: Auburn has scored on all 10 of its trips to the red zone.

Malzahn, the offensive coordinator on Auburn’s 2010 BCS title team, credits much of his squad’s 3-0 start to quarterback Nick Marshall. The junior college product threw an 11-yard touchdown strike with 10 seconds remaining to knock off Mississippi State last weekend for Auburn’s first SEC wins in 10 tries. He’s already thrown as many touchdown passes (four) as Auburn’s leader in that category last season, Jonathan Wallace.

“He’s kind of a quiet leader,” Malzahn said of Marshall, “but he doesn’t get too high or too low. He stays calm and collected in all moments, and he has earned the respect of his teammates through his practice habits and the way he handles himself.”

Both defenses appear stout. LSU and Auburn have each allowed fewer than 20 points per game thus far, respectively, and LSU coordinator John Chavis’ group has given up just five touchdowns. Though both attacks are rolling, this matchup could go a long way toward proving whether the offensive trend is here to stay.

“In the [SEC] West, specifically, there may be a week where a team gives up a lot of yards,” Malzahn said, “but year in and year out, this is going to be the best defensive league in college football, and I still believe at the end of the day, it will be.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/21/2013 08:17 AM

The Auburn Tigers have a bright future and they look like a very good team which makes these points look tempting. However, this LSU team is being overlooked and have the potential to be one of the best teams in the country. They will make teh rest of the league take notice tonight.

Pick: LSU -17