Auburn travels to LSU this Saturday looking to maintain the momentum they have gained from the last three weeks. Auburn is coming off a school record of 40 points scored in three-straight SEC games. The Tigers' next challenge is in Baton Rouge, where they have not won this century.
The famous "Cigar Game" in 1999 was the last time Auburn won in Death Valley. The last time Auburn traveled to LSU, current Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was LSU’s defensive coordinator.
Last year’s game in Auburn was an instant classic, as LSU scored the game-winning touchdown with no time left. Replay would conclude that quarterback Danny Etling did not get the snap off before the clock hit zero, however.
LSU’s head coach Les Miles was fired the next day, but this weekend Miles will be in attendance as his 2007 LSU national championship team will be honored. Ed Orgeron was Miles' defensive line coach last year and was promoted to interim coach when Miles was fired. Orgeron took over full time as LSU’s coach this year.
LSU is 4-2 on the season, and does have some momentum of their own though as they beat Florida in the Swamp last weekend after losing to Troy a week prior in Tiger Stadium. LSU’s other loss came when they got whipped 37-7 at Mississippi State in September.
For Auburn, Jarrett Stidham is settling in and the offensive line has played better in recent weeks. Stidham has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation over the last three weeks. Kerryon Johnson hit his stride last week with his first 200-yard game in his career as the junior closes in on 100 percent health.
Auburn trusts their running game as always with Gus Malzahn as head coach, but they have shown that they are not afraid to throw the ball down the field with Stidham.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ole Miss was the first team all season to score more than 14 points on Auburn and most of their 23 points came in garbage time with Auburn’s second team defense playing Ole Miss' first team offense.
This is Auburn’s best chance to end the eight game losing streak in Tiger Stadium. Auburn is coming into its own on offense and has one of the top defenses in the nation. LSU is stout on defense, but their offense is the same that has plagued them for years.
LSU’s offense has struggled this season, especially at the quarterback position. The last thing LSU wants is for this game to be a shootout.
LSU ranks in the bottom half of the nation in nearly every major offensive statistical category. They average under 400 yards per game and average only 25 points per game. The Tigers have 22 trips to the red-zone, but only 14 touchdowns and two field goals, which is 116th nationally.
To make matters worse for LSU’s offense, the Tigers are expected to start three freshmen on the offensive line against a potent Auburn defensive front.
Auburn needs to get off to as fast start as this issue has plagued them in recent visits to Tiger Stadium. Auburn has been down by at least three touchdowns before they have scored a touchdown in their last four games at LSU. The last first half touchdown that Auburn has scored was in 2007, and since then the Tigers have trailed by a combined 83-3 at a halftime in their last four visits.
LSU has been inconsistent thus far, while Auburn is starting to look like a complete team. No. 10 Auburn is in dire need of a winning a game at LSU and, if there was ever a year to do it, this would be it.