It's GameDay: No. 1 LSU Welcomes Rival Auburn

It's GameDay: No. 1 LSU Welcomes Rival Auburn
Photo by:, LSU Athletics Publications
Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 11:44am

LSU will face a Top 25 team for the fifth time this year on Saturday when the top-ranked Tigers host 19th-ranked Auburn in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup.

Since the start of the 2000 season, the winner of the LSU-Auburn game has gone on to claim the SEC Western Division title seven times. This year may be no different as LSU brings a 7-0 overall mark and a 4-0 league record into the contest. Auburn is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in a sold out Tiger Stadium.

At 7-0, LSU is has now won its first seven games in back-to-back years for the first time since 1972-73. The Tigers are also 4-0 in conference action in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1935-36. A win on Saturday will give LSU its first 8-0 start since 1973, when the Tigers won their first nine games of the season. LSU has won all seven of its games by double-figures, a first in school history.

"It's been a good week of preparation," LSU coach Les Miles said. "This team understands that Auburn presents a tremendous challenge. They are the defending national champions and they have a great scheme on both sides of the ball. Coach Chizik does a great job of getting them ready to play.

"It's going to take another 60-minute effort for us to have the type of success that we want. Auburn is a very talented team. We are looking forward to being back in Tiger Stadium for our fifth game against a ranked team."

LSU goes into the game riding a 14-game winning streak in Tiger Stadium - the nation's fourth-longest streak - as well as an 8-game overall winning streak - which ties for the third-longest streak in the nation. LSU has also won five straight games against ranked teams, a stretch that dates back to last year's win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
Offensively, the Tigers go into the game with a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Jarrett Lee. The Tigers are averaging 38.4 points and 369.1 total yards (191.1 rushing, 178.0 passing) a game.

Lee, who is 12-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, has completed 62 percent of his passes (84-of-135) for 1,085 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one interception. Lee, who has tossed at least one TD pass in every game this year, tied a career-high with three touchdown passes in last week's win over Tennessee. Lee's 11-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is first in the SEC.

The Tigers will look to backup Jordan Jefferson for a change of pace at quarterback. Last week, Jefferson had his best game of the year, rushing for 73 yards and one TD in the 38-7 victory over the Vols.

Lee's top target has been that of junior Rueben Randle (28 catches, 532 yards, 5 TDs) and true freshman Odell Beckham Jr. (24 catches, 292 yards, 2 TDs).

LSU's running game has been paced by a trio of sophomores - Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and Alfred Blue. Ware is LSU's top rusher with 512 yards and six touchdowns, while Ford has 359 yards and six TDs, and Blue 235 yards and four scores.

Another reason for LSU's success on offense has been its ability to take care of the football. The Tigers are tied with Wisconsin for the national lead in turnovers with just three. LSU hasn't turned the ball over since the fourth quarter of the Mississippi State contest - a span of 277 offensive snaps, 48 possessions and 144 minutes and 17 seconds of possession time.

Defensively, LSU continues to perform at a very high level as the Tigers are second in the SEC and fourth in the nation in total defense at 251.9 yards per game. In 28 quarters of action, LSU has held its opponent without a TD in 21 of those. LSU has allowed just 31 points in its first four SEC games, the fewest by the Tigers over that span since 1985.

Senior safety Brandon Taylor leads the Tiger defense with 44 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Eric Reid, a sophomore safety, has 36 tackles, while defensive end Sam Montgomery leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.

For the third straight week LSU will face an opponent starting a new quarterback as Clint Moseley gets the nod for Auburn. Moseley came off the bench in the second half and helped Auburn to a 17-6 win over Florida. Moseley replaces Trotter, who started the first seven games at quarterback for the Tigers.

Moseley will get help on offense from standout running back Michael Dyer, who is averaging over 100 yards rushing a game. Defensively, Auburn is allowing 25.9 points and 404 yards per game.

After Saturday, LSU will be have a week off before traveling to Tuscaloosa to face second-ranked Alabama on Nov. 5.

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