Preview: LSU at Auburn
By Staff, with contributions from the SEC
September 16, 2008
This is the game that the computer pointed to in the preseason as the deciding match to determine the SEC western division champion. That wouldn't be anything new. After all, the winner of this game has moved on to the SEC championship in six of the last eight years.
In its preseason analysis, the computer favored LSU by a measly 0.03 points. Now, that spread has increased to all of 1.08 points.
The home team has won the last eight games in the series, and LSU holds a 22-19-1 all-time advantage. The last four games have been decided by six points or less.
LSU running back Charles Scott leads the SEC in rushing with 131 yards per game. In two games, Scott has rushed for 262 yards and four scores. Quarterbacks Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee have combined to connect on 33 of 59 passes for 402 yards and three scores. WR Brandon LaFell has been LSU's favorite target as he has hauled in 11 catches for 156 yards and 2 TD's. LaFell's numbers lead the team, and rank among the leaders in the SEC.
Junior Ben Tate leads the Auburn offense with 278 yards rushing and ranks 20th in school history with 1,573 career yards. Senior Brad Lester has 148 yards this season to push his career total to 1,548. They were the first pair of Auburn running backs to enter a season with more than 1,000 yards rushing since Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown in 2004. Chris Todd completed 21-of-31 passes for 248 yards in his first career start for Auburn, a 51-21 win over Southern Miss. But Todd was a pedestrian 14-of-26 for 154 yards in last week's 3-2 win over Mississippi State.
Defensively, Auburn has allowed just 15 points while LSU has given up 16.
Safety Harry Coleman is the leading LSU tackler with 10. Tyson Jackson (36 tackles, 3.5 sacks in 2007) headlines the list of starters up front for LSU. The linebacker corps revolves around Darry Beckwith who occupies the middle. A second-team All-SEC pick in 2007, Beckwith had 65 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss last year.
For Auburn, cornerback Jerraud Powers already has 18 tackles (13 solo), and posted a career-high eight against Southern Miss. He also has an interception and two pass break-ups, and leads the team with four special teams tackles. All-American candidate Sen'Derrick Marks leads the SEC in tackles for loss with 5.5 this season. Antonio Coleman has had a sack in each game this season and is second on the squad with 12 tackles
LSU speedster Trindon Holiday had a 92-yard punt return for a TD in the 41-3 win over North Texas. Auburn's Robert Dunn returned a punt 66 yards for a score against Louisiana-Monroe.