AUBURN TIGERS (5-1)
at LSU TIGERS (4-2)
Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Auburn -6.5, Total: 44.5
#10 Auburn will be hoping to stay in the CFP conversation with a win over LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday.
Auburn lost 14-6 on the road against Clemson in the second week of the season, but this team has been pretty much flawless other than that. Auburn defeated Ole Miss 44-23 as a 21-point home favorite last week, and the team racked up a ridiculous 326 yards on the ground in that one. Auburn has now won four straight games and the team has covered in two of the past three (the other was a push). LSU, however, is also going to be coming into this game feeling pretty confident. The Tigers went into Gainesville last week and came away with a 17-16 victory. LSU had just lost to Troy the week before, so it was good for them to earn themselves a nice victory. LSU can improve to 5-2 with a win here, which is pretty good for a team that was the punch line of college football just two weeks ago. When Auburn and LSU met last year, it was Auburn that came away with an 18-13 victory as a three-point home favorite. These are, however, very different teams than they were a year ago. One trend that favors Auburn in this game is the fact that LSU is 7-18 ATS since 1992 in home games versus teams averaging 200 or more rushing yards per game. Auburn is also, however, a lousy 35-56 ATS after allowing 100 or less rushing yards in its previous game in that span.
Auburn can really make a statement by going into Tiger Stadium and defeating LSU on Saturday. It will, however, take a very good performance, as LSU looked much improved in its victory over Florida last week. If Auburn is going to win this game on Saturday then the team will need to get RB Kerryon Johnson (504 yards, 12 TD) going here. Johnson has been ridiculous this season, as he has already rushed for 12 touchdowns in only 12 games. He rushed for 204 yards against Ole Miss, but things won’t be as easy against this solid LSU defense. Still, he is an elite runner between the tackles and will wear these LSU defenders out at the very least. Another thing that Johnson’s presence does is take pressure off of QB Jarrett Stidham (1,345 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT). Stidham is a very talented player, but he is still adjusting to this Auburn offense and SEC play. Fortunately for Auburn, the sophomore has started to turn it on lately. He has thrown for 499 yards with four touchdowns and no picks over the past two games. If he continues to take care of the football and make good reads then the sky is the limit for this Auburn team. On defense, however, the group better be able to defend the Jet Sweep. LSU used that play to pick the Gators apart last week.
LSU is coming off of a huge win over Florida, but the team needs a lot more out of RB Derrius Guice (364 yards, 5 TD) moving forward. Guice was supposed to be a flat-out superstar this season, as he always looked like one when filling in for Leonard Fournette a year ago. He has, however, looked very average on the year, which needs to change fast. If Guice does not start to perform to his fullest capabilities then he is going to hurt his team and also his draft stock. Guice’s performance is also big because QB Danny Etling (1,046 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT) is nothing more than a game manager under center. He’s not going to make many mistakes, but he’s also not going to do much to help this team win games. He’s out there so that the running game can keep pounding away and so that the defense doesn’t constantly need to be on the field. As for that unit, LSU is lucky to have an elite coordinator in Dave Aranda. He should be able to come up with a scheme that keeps Kerryon Johnson in check here. If LSU can’t do that then this game will probably be a blowout.