LSU Defense Ready to Invade Auburn
LSU Linebacker's Arden Key (49) and Tashawn Bower (46) (Photo: Getty Images)
Auburn football looks to pick up their first conference win of the season on Saturday, against a tough LSU team, who enters the weekend with a 2-1 record on the young season.
This series has provided many great memories. Low-scoring games, miracle finishes, earthquakes, and burning barns.. The Auburn-LSU rivalry has seen it all.
This season’s game has the capability to provide more fireworks, as many “experts” say that each coach is playing for their job this season, and this game could be a deciding factor. Les Miles was all but fired after last season, but with impressive wins over Texas A&M and Texas Tech in the last two games, he was spared another season. For Gus Malzahn, this Saturday’s game has potential to be one of the biggest games of his career as far as job security goes.
LSU and Auburn have traded assistant coaches since the last time they met in Baton Rouge. Former LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is now with Auburn in the same role, while former Auburn wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, took the same role with LSU in the offseason.
No matter how the game ends, it is sure to be entertaining.
LSU enters the weekend ranked #18 in the nation following a 23-20 victory at home against Mississippi State. The Tigers had a comfortable lead heading into halftime, but a 14-point fourth quarter from Mississippi State put a scare into LSU, but they would ultimately come out on top.
LSU, much like Auburn and Georgia, have had a bit of controversy early on concerning their quarterbacks. Brandon Harris has been the starter for LSU over the last three seasons, but has seen his fair share of struggles. Last week, Les Miles decided to go with Danny Etling, a transfer from Purdue University, as the starter against Mississippi State. Etling completed 19 of 30 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in the win. Etling is slated to start for LSU against Auburn.
Leonard Fournette. Need we say more? Fournette is one of the highest touted running backs in the college football world, and he is only a Junior. Last season, Fournette had a field day with Auburn’s defense. He ended his night with 228 yards and three touchdowns in LSU’s 45-21 win in Death Valley. Along with Fournette, Derrius Guice has been a threat in the LSU backfield. He has 183 yards on the ground, with a touchdown through three games. Guice’s best game was a 161 yard performance against Jacksonville State on September 10th, a game where Leonard Fournette did not play.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
LSU runs more of a pro-style offense, which means that for a majority of the snaps, there will be no more than three receivers on the field, which is polar-opposite of Texas A&M, where the Aggies had five receivers line up at times last week. Malachi Dupre, Travin Dural, and Colin Jeter will start at receiver for LSU. Dural is the leading receiver out of the trio. He has 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown through three games. Dupre is next with 78 yards on 7 catches. Do not be surprised if Leonard Fournette catches a pass or two, he already has seven catches for the season.
The LSU offensive line is a bit young, with three sophomores, a junior and a senior. From left tackle to right, KJ Malone, Will Clapp, Ethan Pocic, Maea Teuhema, and Toby Weathersby will get the start on the line.
LSU will use a 3-4 style defensive attack, with two fast linebackers to be used in the pass rush. Lewis Neal and Davon Godchaux are the two ends, with Greg Gilmore being the man in the middle. Neal and Godchaux each have 17 tackles, with Gilmore having 8.
The cash cow of the LSU defense, are the linebackers. Linebacker Arden Key has been the focus of Rhett Lashlee and Gus Malzahn alike this week, after their issues with fast pass rushers in Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall last week against Texas A&M. Key’s season high for sacks came against Wisconsin and Mississippi State, when he had two. He has five sacks overall. Another threat, is middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith. Beckwith has a team-leading 24 tackles, and is tied with defensive end Lewis Neal with 3.5 tackles for loss. Duke Riley and Tashawn Bower are the other two linebackers in the set.
Tre’davious White and Kevin Toliver are the corners, with Rickey Jefferson and Jamal Adams at the safeties. Jamal Adams leads the defensive backs with 17 tackles, while Jefferson (16 tackles), and Toliver (13 tackles) have double-digit totals.
Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette will return kicks, while Tre’Davious White handles punt returns. White has returned one punt back for a touchdown, which was a 60-yard return in the second quarter against Jacksonville State.
LSU leads the series 28-21-1. Auburn and LSU first met in 1901, and have met every season since 1992. The next game in the series is set for Saturday night inside Jordan-Hare Stadium at 5PM.