If LSU is the girl you want to date and Alabama is the girl you want to marry, Auburn is the one you want to divorce. The honey moon of winning the National Championship last year is still in effect, and Auburn is allowed the year off. Even though they are without trophy boy Cam Newton, Auburn has still showed up this season (5-2. 3-1 SEC). They have beaten two ranked teams, then ranked No. 17 Mississippi St and No. 10 South Carolina. Since 1994 they have gone 2-2 against opponents with a No. 1 ranking, so they have a 50-50 shot…right? Not by the looks of LSU this year. On top of the Tiger’s monstrous defense, Auburn will be starting red shirt sophomore quarterback Clint Moseley. This will be the third straight quarterback LSU has faced getting his first start of the season. In fact, Moseley is getting his first collegiate start and if you have ever been to Tiger Stadium you know this is not the ideal place to get initiated into the realm of college football. Last season a No. 5 Auburn left a No. 6 LSU with a bad taste in its mouth, this year the Tigers will return the favor.
Where the boys become men
With the recent news about the alleged suspensions of Spencer Ware, Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon, people would consider this a huge blow not only to LSU's defense but also to the offense. LSU has battled suspensions before and came out on top.
Reports stated Ware, Mathieu and Simon failed drug tests for synthetic marijuana.
[caption id="attachment_142" align="alignright" width="274" caption="Les Miles and the Tigers seem to always come through even when it looks impossible. Maybe Miles still has some tricks up his sleeve or should I say hat? "][/caption]
“I certainly understand the interest surrounding what seems to be news,” Les Miles said during his press conference. “The problem with that news is that it's internal discipline and an internal function of a team. I'm not inclined to be forthcoming with information.”
Miles neither confirmed nor denied the reports about the suspensions.
“There's no real information about any specific player that I'll address at this point,” Miles said.
I have a suspicion that we will not know for sure if the players in question will play until the day of the game. But hypothetically, if the information about the suspensions is true the Tiger’s still have more than a good chance to beat Auburn at Tiger Stadium.
Ware has been the leading rusher this season with 512 yards and 6 TDs. The loss of him would be detrimental to the offensive scheme, but this is where LSU’s depth would come into play. Most teams would be desperate without their first string running back and Heisman hopeful corner back, but Coach Les Miles would rely on sophomore running back Michael Ford and senior corner back Ron Brooks to keep the Tiger’s National Championship dreams alive.
LSU's depth chart is deeper than the Grand Canyon
Ford has already seen a lot of action this season with 359 yards rushing and 6 TDs. He is part of the running back trio that has been so successful this year. A lot of fans like Ford as a back and want to see him play more regardless of Spencer Ware playing or not. The game against Auburn would be a test for the sophomore in order to see if he can carry the work load of Ware.
If Mathieu does not end up playing, it would be a huge loss for LSU’s so far unstoppable defense. However, senior Ron Brooks will most likely be starting in his absence. Brooks got his first career start against West Virginia this season. Brooks being a veteran player is experienced and knows LSU’s game plan like the back of his hand. It’s not every day that you can replace a suspended player with one with as much talent and familiarity of the game as Brooks. Sophomore safety Craig Loston will need to step up in the secondary to help out in Mathieu’s absence. Loston has had high expectations for his career at LSU and has forced one fumble this season with somewhat limited time on the field.
These suspensions would not help LSU’s chances for the season, but they would not completely destroy them. This is a sink or float situation for the Tiger’s and as stated above this is where the boys become men.
Auburn will look to use suspensions to their advantage
LSU’s game plan all season: establish the run game, set up play action pass, control the clock and the defense will take care of the rest. If Auburn wants to use the suspensions to their advantage they will be attacking the Tiger’s weakened secondary. Coach Gene Chizik decided to start Moseley, who started the second half and went 4 for seven with 90 yards passing in a win against Florida. The sophomore is a talented athlete and has a good arm, but he is lucky that the honey badger may not be on the field.
[caption id="attachment_144" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Michael Dyer has showed his worth this season without Cam Newton. Lets see how he does against LSU's devastating defense "][/caption]
Auburn’s main weapon this year has been sophomore running back Michael Dyer, who is ranked third in the SEC with 107.4 yards rushing per game. Dyer will need to be on his grind if Auburn wants to win. Even though LSU’s defense may suffer from suspensions, the defensive line will be good to go and has not been kind to opposing running backs (ranking second in the SEC with an average of 75.14 yards rushing a game).
Another area where Auburn can benefit from suspensions (if in fact there are any) is LSU’s run game. If their defense can stop the run it will put them at a huge advantage. LSU is known for being a run heavy team and relies on it to establish long drives and eat up clock. Auburn’s defensive line has accounted for 13 tackles out 20 tackles for losses in the past three games. The defensive line will be a deciding factor of the outcome of this game.
Prediction: LSU 27 Auburn 16
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