Oct. 20, 2011
Auburn, Ala. -
The No. 19/23 Auburn football team went through a 70-minute practice Thursday evening in chilly temperatures as the Tigers prepare for Saturday's game against No. 1/2 LSU in Baton Rouge.
Speaking at his weekly Tuesday media conference, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik noted that Auburn's challenge with top-ranked LSU begins at the line scrimmage.
Defensively, LSU ranks no lower than 15th nationally in any of the four major categories: scoring defense (seventh, 11.7 ppg), total defense (fourth, 251.8 ypg), rushing defense (second, 75.1 ypg) and passing defense (15th, 176.7 ypg).
Auburn enters the game averaging 197.0 rushing yards per game, third-best in the Southeastern Conference and 27th nationally. Sophomore running back Michael Dyer is third in the conference and 21st in the FBS, averaging 107.4 yards rushing per contest.
"As we all know, LSU's defense is fast, it's physical," Chizik said. "They're one of the best in the country. The challenge is certainly going to start with our offensive line. There's no question about it. There's no way we're going to be able to win the football game if we don't improve everywhere offensively starting with the offensive line. There's just a level of improvement that's going to have to happen this week for us to have a chance to go in there and win, and it's going to all start there."
Offensively, LSU is averaging 38.4 points per game, third-best in the SEC and 20th in the FBS. LSU's rushing attack is averaging 194.4 yards per game which is four-best in the SEC and 29th nationally.
Auburn's defense has forced eight turnovers in the last three games after forcing only five in the first four games of the season. In the last four games, the Tigers are allowing 307.0 yards and 17.8 points per game after surrendering an average of 36 points and 534.3 yards through the first three games of the season.
"This has to be the best defensive game we've played all year for us to have a chance to win," Chizik said. "Their running game is extremely physical. They don't try to trick you. There's not a bunch of tricks. They're going to line up, and they're going to run their plays. They're going to out-physical you. They're going to run the ball downhill. They're going to play-action pass and hit you over the top. Nothing fancy, just really good physical football and good one-on-one match ups."
Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) and LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC) will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT at Tiger Stadium. The game will air on CBS. Auburn has lost its last five straight games in Tiger Stadium and is 5-14-1 all-time in Baton Rouge. LSU holds a 23-20-1 edge in the overall series history.
Since 2004, LSU has the league's best conference record at 43-17 (.717), while Auburn is just one win behind at 42-18 (.700).