Plains Tigers vs. Bayou Tigers; Which Tiger Roars?
All eyes will be on Auburn and LSU this week in the SEC West. War Eagle looks to get out of Baton Rouge with a win; something Auburn hasn’t accomplished since 1999. In order to get out of “Death Valley” with a victory, Auburn will have to continue its ascension in all three phases.
Jarrett Stidham has gained confidence, as he has settled into the offense, while knocking off the proverbial rust that was apparent early in the year. The offensive line has also improved dramatically. The front five is paving the way for Kerryon Johnson and company to gash its opponents on the ground. The run game has opened up a much-improved passing game. It is that balance and the ability to stretch the field that has made Auburn difficult to defend.
Defensively, Auburn continues to play at an elite level, though sleep walking a bit in the second half last week against Ole Miss. The Tigers front seven is a very stout group that doesn’t allow much of anything in the run game. LSU will certainly pose a challenge schematically, with their shifts, motions and different sets they use. Because of this, I expect the Auburn defense to stay vanilla.
LSU went into Gainseville last Saturday and escaped with a win. Big picture, that was a huge win for Ed Orgeron’s crew. Many questioned LSU after their pitiful performance against Troy the week before, myself included. Derrius Guice now looks to be healthier. I don’t know how good of a football team Florida is, but winning on the road, especially in the SEC, is not easy. While LSU can pose issues at times offensively, I don’t expect the bayou Tigers to be able to find consistency running the football against a physically better team in Auburn. I expect some “new” looks from the LSU offense early in the game. Auburn will make adjustments and settle in.
Which brings me to my next point that I’ve mentioned it many times: Danny Etling simply cannot make enough plays in the passing game for LSU to win big games. LSU is very thin up front in the offensive line, and as a whole, is not a very deep team.
Defensively, Arden Key is getting into playing shape and LSU as a whole is getting healthier up front, which is a plus. Is it enough to upset Auburn? We shall see. Baton Rouge is a very tough venue to play in; though the game will be played in the afternoon, which helps Auburn. Auburn begins a three game road schedule and needs a win to keep the momentum its enjoyed in the last month.
In order to win on the road in any league, you have to pack a defense and get quality play at the quarterback position. These are two things in which War Eagle has. This will be a close game, but the team with the better quarterback and better overall talent will win.