LSU VS. AUBURN 2018 GAME PREVIEW
|13||COACHES POLL RANKING||7|
|RB Nick Brossette||KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYER||QB Jarrett Stidham|
|LB Devin White||KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYER||DB Daniel Thomas|
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT
TV: CBS (Check your local listings!)
Streaming: CBS All-Access
Spread: The line is up to 10/10.5 in favor of Auburn at this juncture.
Total: The current O/U is set to around 44/44.5.
Both teams are currently 1-1 against the spread this season.
Close matchups have dominated the series between the LSU Tigers and Auburn Tigers over the last decade or so. Since 2004, nine of the 14 matchups have been decided by seven points or less. The other five matchups were routs of 14, 21, 24, 34 and 35. The last two clashes between LSU and Auburn were decided by five and four points.
Last year’s tilt was, of course, the latter. LSU stormed back after falling behind 20-0 to defeat Auburn 27-23. It was a sheer collapse on the side of the blue and orange Tigers, and a monumental victory for the ones in purple and gold. Now, the scene will shift from Death Valley to The Plains. Jordan-Hare Stadium will play host to the latest edition of this SEC West rivalry.
Auburn will be hoping to find success against LSU, which is something that has eluded them of late. They’ve lost two of the last three meetings and are 3-8 in their last 11 dating back to 2007. The lone wins were:
- A thrilling 24-17 victory in 2010, in which Onterio McCalebb played hero with a 70-yard run late in the 4th quarter.
- A 41-7 blowout in 2014. Nick Marshall threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more.
- An 18-13 victory in 2016, where Daniel Carlson was responsible for all 18 points on six field goals.
What’s the common thread here? All of those victories came at Jordan-Hare. Even the losses they’ve had in this recent stretch at Jordan-Hare have been close calls. They have lost by 5 and 2 points this century in their home dwelling to the Bayou Bengals. So playing on The Plains gives them a pretty decisive advantage, to say the least. Much like Tiger Stadium gives LSU an enormous advantage, as well.
How much of that will be a factor on Saturday? It’s hard to say. But one player it will aid is Jarrett Stidham. Stidham has played high-level football at Jordan-Hare thus far in his career. He has completed 72.8 percent of the 184 passes he’s thrown. Additionally, he’s racked up 1,847 yards, thrown 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Contrast that with his road and neutral stats, and you’ll see a different QB. If Stidham can continue that success at home, the Tigers will be able to exact revenge on LSU after last year’s disaster.
Auburn relied heavily on the ground game a season ago, and they appear to be doing the same in 2018. Through their first two games they’ve averaged 288 yards and 52 rush attempts per game. Kam Martin and JaTarvious Whitlow are the lead rushers so far, with Shaun Shivers getting some burn, too. They’ve each scored a rushing touchdown, as have Stidham, Anthony Schwartz as well as Harold Joiner and Malik Miller. Many of those scores came last week in the rout over Alabama State, naturally. You likely won’t see all of those cats on the field, but you’ll definitely see Kam and JaTarvious.
They will face a tough test up front in the form of Rashard Lawrence, Breiden Fehoko and Glen Logan. It doesn’t get much easier when you go to the second level where Jacob Phillips and star Devin White stand. White is a powerful ROVER back who’s gotten plenty of acclaim, of course, and starred in last year’s game against LSU. He had a season-high 15 tackles along with 2 TFL and a sack. No doubt, he’ll be the one to watch, and the one that the Auburn backs will have to keep their head on a swivel for.
LSU’s success will run through running back Nick Brossette. We’re two games in, and he’s already looking stout. He’s piled up 262 yards in his first two games as the lead back. In doing so, he’s averaged 6.4 yards per carry on 41 rushes and has found the end zone two times. Last week, he amassed 137 yards against Southeastern Louisiana and did so on a 7.2 yards per carry clip.
The Auburn run defense has been strong so far, meanwhile. They’ve allowed just 2.2 yards per carry, although that number was greatly helped by the game against Alabama State last week. Against the Washington Huskies, Auburn let Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed go off a little bit. Gaskin had 75 yards on a 4.4 YPC clip, while Ahmed had 36 on a 5.1 YPC tally. That hashes out to about ~4.6 between the two lead tailbacks. That’s not outstanding or anything, but it’s obviously solid. So who’s the real Auburn defense? We might find out when Brossette gets his legs churning.
Joe Burrow will get a lot of emphasis put on him in this game. He looked very capable against the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, and followed it up by tossing two touchdowns last week. His completion percentage is a bit skittish (47.7%) and I don’t doubt that Auburn will load up the box and force him to throw in key situations. It will be intriguing to say the least to see how he responds to that.
All told, if you want entertainment, this series has been the one for you. And this game will likely be the one for you. The spread being so wide gives off a different vibe to this game, but if history has taught us anything, this game is going to be a thriller.