The LSU Tigers defeated the Auburn Tigers today without remorse. At the end of the first half, LSU was sitting at 265 rushing yards and 12 first downs, while a Gus Malzhan offense had only mustered 69 total yards. Auburn's preseason Heisman hopeful quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, finished the first half 6-for-12 for 36 yards, and an interception. Compounding his play was a freak pass that resulted in a big loss. He did bounce back a bit in the second half, but nowhere near the level required to rally his team. The final score was never much in doubt.
If there was a story for this game, it was the play of LSU running back Leonard Fournette. The sophomore running back went Tommie Frazier on Auburn's defense on numerous occasions. At times, he went beyond Frazier mode, and ran the ball like the equivalent of the antagonists in Little Giants. Behold:
And while we're here...
By the end of the first half, the Teflon running back had recorded nearly 170 yards rushing. He would go on to rush for 228 yards on 19 carries to go along with 3 touchdowns. The other Heisman candidates are officially on notice, because Fournette has firmly planted his stake. He is dominating SEC West competition.
Auburn hasn't looked especially strong so far this season. Its best win is a neutral site victory over an 0-3 Louisville team, and last week they nearly lost to Jacksonville State. Today's blowout loss won't help the morale of the team or the temperament of the fan base. Next week's game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs will be a challenge, and the season is increasingly at risk of plunging headfirst into a melancholic spiral. Recall, this game is Auburn's fourth straight SEC loss, and the last three haven't been within single digits. They have reached the crossroads of Rally Lane and Surrender Street.
LSU, on the other hand, moves to 2-0 on the season and will very likely be favored in every game for at least the next six weeks. By the time the Tigers head into the home stretch of their schedule, they will almost certainly be a borderline Top 5 team that could have figured out its pass game. A balanced Tiger offense would be a nightmare for any defense. Furthermore, they will have largely avoided the whittling effects of SEC West competition, and may take advantage of susceptible division opponents come November.