One. More. Game. LSU just has to win one more game, and then the Tigers can focus on Alabama in the game of the year in college football.
By Matt Zemek
Yes, no looking ahead to the Crimson Tide. That is obvious, even though that contest is just over two weeks away. Let’s look at three other, bigger keys for this week’s meeting with Auburn in a matchup of top-10 teams.
1 – Pass and collect
This isn’t a Monopoly board, but LSU does need to pass… and then collect the earnings. If you remember last year’s Auburn game, a victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium which in many ways set the tone for the rest of the season and gave Ed Orgeron a crucial pivot point in his LSU tenure, the decisive component was the final drive. LSU kept throwing the ball. Auburn cornerbacks kept committing defensive pass interference or holding penalties. LSU moved into field goal range, kicked the field goal, and won.
That game, of course, was played at a time when Joe Burrow was just beginning to discover his capabilities within the LSU offense. The addition of Joe Brady to the 2019 staff has accelerated Burrow’s development. Now LSU’s passing attack is legitimately the best in the United States.
Auburn’s defensive line and linebackers are very good, but the secondary is the weak spot. LSU has to pick on Auburn’s defensive backs, who are not likely at all to hold up under pressure for 60 minutes.
This is the new LSU offense. The Bayou Bengals have to play like it, and they have to attack like it. They need to be all over Auburn’s secondary and force the Plainsmen to come up with large numbers of big plays as pass defenders.
2 – Welcome an up-tempo game
If Gus Malzahn – who often likes an up-tempo offense – wants a fast pace to this game, LSU should welcome it.
One of the hidden aspects of LSU’s 42-point performance against Florida a few weeks ago is that LSU gained those 42 points on just 48 plays. The offense has become frighteningly efficient, and this means that if Auburn wants to operate quickly on offense, LSU should be happy with that. More plays means more chances for LSU to score. If Gus won’t slow this game down, LSU shouldn’t get in his way.
3 – No busts
If LSU doesn’t make huge defensive mistakes, thereby forcing Auburn and freshman quarterback Bo Nix to forge 12-play drives in order to score touchdowns, the Bayou Bengals should be in very good shape against AU. Placing the burden on Bo Nix to be consistently great in this game is a centerpiece part of a winning outcome for LSU.