LSU Preview: Be Ready Lads
One of my favourite Auburn rivalries continues this week, as Auburn faces a tough test from the visiting LSU Tigers. Who are in the middle of (another) SEC Championship run.
After last weeks near-meltdown, I don’t hold much confidence going into this game. LSU are a quality team, with a tough defence and a capable offence. It’s going to be a tough one.
Historically, this game has always been a little bit crazy. There was The Earthquake game in 1988, when LSU scored against Auburn in the last minute, the sheer crowd volume registered on the seismograph in LSU. Then there was the 1994 INT game, which broke the record for most defensive touchdowns in a game. There are plenty of reasons why this rivalry is so great.
Offensively, LSU has a system that BVG has experience in scheming against. A typical pro-style system without a Quarterback that’s able to make plays with his feet. Mettenburger is the first pocket passer that BVG will have to scheme against, so it will be interesting to see what is cooked up. More aggressive blitzes? More tight press coverage? Who knows.
Their starting RB Alfred Blue is out of the game as well, which I alluded to on Twitter. His backup Kenny Hilliard will take the snaps and is more than capable of doing us some damage. Hilliard is a big 6’0 230 lb back, and will be running behind a pretty stout offensive line. My main worry is out DT’s, who thus far have shown little signs of progressing to the next level. If they can’t get enough push, the defence won’t succeed in stopping the run and will allow the Quarterback to have more time to throw. Not a good look.
Defensively, LSU are solid. They did give up 14 points to both Idaho and North Texas, which gives me a little hope of scoring, but I’m honestly not too optimistic about our offensive chances. Can Kiehl settle down and move on when he makes mistakes? That could be the difference in this one. Kiehl started last week strong, then threw a pick and we saw his timidness take over. He has only started three games, but we have to see some maturation out of Kiehl. Seeing some this weekend would be extremely encouraging, no matter the result.
Getting a run game going will help us. Even though I believe Mason and McCalebb are very talented runners, there is still a question of whether Auburn’s offensive line can hold up against this potent defensive line. I do believe this is a better offensive line than last year, but it’s still very inexperienced. It’s going to be tough to score.
Then Auburn’s special teams comes into play. Parkey and Clark are two of the best at their positions, so them playing at a high level will only help us. Our kick-off coverage has been impressive, and I hope it continues against a team that killed us last year in returning kickoffs. Then again, the new kick-off rules may see McCalebb not return the ball at all. Who knows.
Will Auburn’s home advantage come into play? Perhaps. A loud Jordan-Hare Stadium, especially at night, is tough for opponents so I hope the fans are in full swing when 6pm (12am GMT!) strikes. It’s very rare to see us play LSU in a nighttime atmosphere, so it will certainly be worth staying up until 4am to watch.
At the end of the day, this is a tough game, but anything really can happen. Can we rally the troops and put together a marvellous performance? It remains to be seen. I just want us to be competitive.
Prediction: LSU 30 – 13 Auburn
I’m hoping to see us avoid a blowout (although your definition of blowout may be different to mine). Unfortunately, LSU best us in terms of talent. If we can put together a solid defensive performance, then we might have a chance to win. We need to go all out in stopping the run in this one, which we are capable to do. Will Frazier get over the hump and have a complete game against a great LSU team? That’s the big question.