September 19, 2008

AU-LSU: How they matchup

In a battle that could decide the SEC West champion and put the winner in the thick of the National Championship race, No. 10 Auburn hosts No. 6 LSU Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

LSU holds a 22-19-1 series edge with the home team winning the last eight games. The last road win of the series was in 1999 when AU put a 41-7 whipping on LSU in head coach Tommy Tuberville's first season on the Plains.

The last four games have been decided by a total of 14 points including LSU's 30-24 win in 2007 and 20-17 (OT) win in 2005, and AU's 7-3 win in 2006 and 10-9 win in 2004.

Forecast calls for low-scoring game

It appears points will be tough to come by for both teams, especially in the first half.

Auburn ranks first in the SEC in scoring defense (5.0 ppg) and third in total defense (213.7 ypg), while LSU ranks fifth in scoring defense (8.0 ppg) and fourth in total defense (219.0 ypg). Auburn has not allowed a point in the first half of its first three games. LSU has allowed just one field goal in the first half of its two games.

Much like Auburn, the strength of LSU's defense is in its front seven including a star-studded defensive line led by first-team All-SEC senior defensive end Tyson Jackson. Junior defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois is considered a top NFL Draft prospect while senior defensive end Kirston Pittman led LSU in sacks (8.0) and tackles-for-loss (13.5) last year.

Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said his players will be facing a big challenge against a physical LSU defense.

"Very good talent, A lot of NFL players on the defensive side of the ball," Franklin said.

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