College Football Game of the Week: No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 2 LSU
“Welcome to Death Valley, where opponents’ dreams come to die.”
This was the statement that LSU head coach Ed Orgeron had for the sideline reporter before his then No. 5 Tigers showed exactly what they were made of against the previously-ranked No. 7 Florida Gators. Two weeks later, Coach O and the Tigers are ranked second in the country and are looking to once again assert their dominance when another top-10 opponent, the No. 9 Auburn Tigers, come to town.
It’s hard to talk about LSU without going straight to their star quarterback, senior Joe Burrow. After the LSU offense went through a complete makeover in the off-season, Burrow has not missed a beat.
Nine weeks into the season, Burrow is 410 yards away from his season total for passing yards last year and has already thrown 13 more touchdown passes this season than last. Burrow’s completion percentage is also up to an impressive 79 percent compared to last year’s 58 percent. It is safe to say that Burrow has been a huge part in LSU’s success this season.
To add to LSU’s offensive firepower, sophomore wide receiver Terrance Marshall Jr. is expected to suit up for the Tigers after missing three games with a fractured foot. Before the injury, Marshall had caught an outstanding six touchdown passes. He returns to an already stellar wide receiver core, as LSU has the only two wide receivers in the SEC that average over 100 yards per game.
Auburn is led offensively by an effective run game. Earlier this month, they lost sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow to a knee injury but, even in his absence, the Tigers were able to put up an outstanding 298 rushing yards last weekend against Arkansas. Auburn leads the SEC in rushing with an average 239.6 yards per game. With Auburn still trying to get freshman quarterback Bo Nix more confidence, the run game is crucial to their success.
Auburn has also had a very strong run defense throughout this year, holding teams to under 100 yards rushing yards per game. This comes from a very solid defensive line which is highlighted by senior Marlon Davidson, who last week won his third SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award this season. Their pass defense has been a different story though, allowing at least one pass of over 40 yards in all but one game this season.
For LSU, this game means much more than staying undefeated. Losing this game could knock them out of playoff contention. Getting such a big conference win could be the fuel needed to keep the fire going as they head into the bye week and look forward to a meeting against No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 9.
With already one loss on the season, Auburn sees this as a must win game with No. 1 Alabama still on the schedule. With playoffs probably out of the picture, Auburn has their eyes set on a New Year’s Day bowl game and a win here would help them immensely in achieving that.
Auburn versus LSU will air this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Prediction: LSU 35, Auburn 17
Ben Mooney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.