Saturday, September 20, 2008

LSU-Auburn 2006 Game Changed Everything

auburn coach Tommy Tuberville may need law enforcement to escort him to his car after tonight's game if his No. 10-ranked Tigers don't do the job against the No. 6 LSU Tigers. Auburn's prestigious brand hasn't been the same since the 2006 game between these two.
Indeed the 2006 game changed everything.
Auburn was seen as the undisputed SEC West powerhouse before that game. Although they won, toward the end of the season the damage was evident, and the football pundits recognized it: LSU was the new Best in West. The hitting was so hard and brutal (both teams suffered injuries), that Tuberville later admitted that his team was never the same after it.
LSU was held to 3 points. THREE, despite having talent at every skill position in the form of quarterback JaMarcus Russell, receivers Dwyane Bowe and Early Doucet. Les Miles learned then that the offense needed to be more productive, and since then they have: LSU has scored at least 21 points in 23 straight games since that 2006 game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tonight, that streak may be broken.
The good news or LSU fans? Auburn may be facing back to back games without having scored a touchdown.

Advantage: Auburn
LSU is playing two guys, Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch, but both are green and trying to find their way. And you just can't trust that, not yet anyway. The yards they have are due to the receivers making plays. Auburn on the other hand is due for a breakout. They have behind center junior quarterback Chris Todd and, at times, sophomore backup Kodi Burns. Auburn is eighth in the league in total offense, 10th in scoring, fifth in rushing, 11th in passing and last in passing efficiency.

Running backs
Advantage: Auburn
LSU has a stable of running backs but, like their quarterback position, no one has stepped up to take the reins and, well, ran with them. Charles Scott is probably the best in the backfield, but can he take the pounding of an SEC season? No, and the dropoff is considerable. Trindon Holliday should give them a spark though. Brad Lester is out, but Ben Tate is as tough a runner as there is this year in the SEC, and he gutted LSU like a fish last year. If he gets hot, and Tuberville continues to go to him, LSU is in trouble.

Advantage: LSU
LSU has Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd, both with quality PT last season, althoug LaFell can go through phases of the dropsies. Does Auburn have anyone who can seize control of a game? Montez Billings can jump. Does he have other skills?

Offensive line
Advantage: LSU
Auburn had, like, a dozen penalties last week against Mississippi State, all attributed to the new spread offense. Those mistakes won't be so forgiving this time. Meanwhile, LSU's guys are experienced know the scheme.

Defensive line
Advantage: LSU
Auburn has the SEC's best unsung group up front, but LSU's won't take a back seat to anybody. Due to game experience, Ricky Jean-Francois, Tyson Jackson, etc. make LSU's line a tad bit better, but Auburn's is right there.

Advantage: Auburn
With the loss of Darry Beckwith, LSU loses this one. His backup, Jacob Cutrera, has experience but doesn't play the pass as well, of course, Auburn's offense doesn't pass particulary well. Still, Auburn has studs at the position that could start for any team anywhere.

Defensive backs
Advantage: Auburn
This is not even close. Both teams have talent back here, but Auburn is simply playing at a higher level. They've got one shutout and given up 2 points in another game. The DBs are the reason why.

Special teams
Advantage: LSU
Colt David gives LSU an experienced kicker, while Auburn's Wes Bynum missed two field goals last week, and is known to choke in bigger games. Trindon Holliday vs. Robert Dunn? Not even close.

Advantage: LSU
Tommy Tuberville is a great coach, but rarely sticks to his guns. Les Miles is crazy, but rarely goes out without his medication, so .... I'd give the edge to last year's championship winner Miles.


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