It's GameDay: Football Opens SEC Play at Auburn
Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID
BATON ROUGE - After three weeks of non-conference home games, second-ranked LSU will face its biggest test of the season thus far on Saturday as the Tigers travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium to face Auburn. Kickoff between LSU and Auburn is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT on ESPN.
The game can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network and in the GeauxZone on www.LSUsports.net/live with legendary play-by-play man Jim Hawthorne calling the action with former Tiger great Doug Moreau providing the analyst and Gordy Rush proving insight from the sidelines. Pregame starts at 4 p.m. CT.
LSU brings the nation's longest current regular season winning streak into the contest at 16 in-a-row as the Tigers are off to a 3-0 start this year following blowout wins over North Texas, Washington and Idaho. LSU has also won 24-straight games during the month of September, nine-consecutive SEC regular-season games and eight-straight road night games.
Auburn is off to a 1-2 start overall with its victory coming last week in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe, 31-28. Auburn dropped its season-opener to Clemson, 26-19, and then fell to Mississippi State the following week, 28-10.
The home team in the LSU-Auburn series has won 11 of the last 12 games between the teams with the only exception coming in 2008 when LSU rallied late in the fourth quarter to win, 26-21. Last year, LSU beat Auburn, 45-10, in Tiger Stadium in what stands as the largest margin of victory by either team in the 46-game series.
LSU GameDay Info
Ticket Will Call for LSU fans opens at 4-6:30 p.m. CT near Gate 1 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
LSU will wear white jerseys and will occupy the east sideline (opposite press box).
Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. CT
Driving Directions (Baton Rouge to Auburn, Ala. -- 420 mi.; 6h, 52m)
Anyone familiar with LSU-Auburn knows to expect the unexpected when these two teams line up. There was the earthquake in Tiger Stadium in 1988; in 1994 Auburn returned three fourth-quarter interceptions for touchdowns in a 30-28 comeback win; a year later LSU brought back the magic in a 19-15 win in Tiger Stadium; a barn burned to the ground on the Auburn campus 200 yards from Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1996.
This year, the unexpected came on Monday when a bomb threat was called into the LSU campus, forcing the evacuation of nearly 30,000 people and forcing the Tigers to cancel practice that day. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the threat was just that as an extensive search of the entire campus found no bomb. A suspect who had no connection to campus was apprehended on Wednesday.
After getting the all-clear on Monday evening, the Tigers held a team meeting and reviewed the game film from the win over Idaho. LSU's first on-field preparation for Auburn came on Tuesday afternoon as the campus was back to normal less than 24 hours after the evacuation.
Despite missing Monday's on-field portion of practice, Miles said the Tigers are ready to play on Saturday after good workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"I like the way we practiced this week even though we missed Monday," Miles said. "We got caught back up late in the week. The good news is we over coach it. We never get to a game where we think there's something we need to coach some more. We had a good Thursday practice where we polished some things up. Now it's about taking it the field on Saturday night."
LSU goes to Auburn with an offense that is averaging over 48 points a game - first in the SEC - and a defense that is allowing just 10.3 points a contest. Auburn is last in the SEC in scoring offense and 20.0 points per game and they are 27.3 points a contest, 12th in the league.
"This is a very good Auburn team," Miles said. "They have speed on both sides of the ball with a great deal of athletes. We have great respect for Auburn. It's an SEC game, so you better be ready to play your best with a 60-minute effort in all three phases to have success. That's how we approach every game and this one is no different."
Offensively, LSU brings the SEC's top rushing attack into the contest led by sophomore Kenny Hilliard, who is averaging 101 yards and two TD's a contest. Hilliard is the first LSU running back since Charles Alexander in 1978 to have two rushing touchdowns in each of the first three games of the season.
Hilliard will be complimented in the backfield by juniors Spencer Ware, who is finally back at full strength after being slowed by a couple nagging injuries, and Michael Ford. The Tigers will be without starting running back Alfred Blue for the Auburn game as he was injured last week against Idaho and did not make the trip to The Plains.
When LSU goes to the air, junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has shown the ability to throw both the short and long ball with equal effectiveness. In three games, Mettenberger has completed 48-of-66 passes (73 percent) for 609 yards, four touchdowns and just two interceptions. Last week against Idaho, Mettenberger had career-highs for yards (222) and touchdowns (2). The Auburn game will serve as Mettenberger's first road start of his LSU career.
Defensively, LSU is first in the SEC with 205.0 yards per game (47.0 rushing, 158.0 passing). The Tigers haven't allowed a rushing TD this year and they've given up just four total touchdowns.
Linebacker Kevin Minter leads the LSU defense with 21 tackles, including 3.0 for losses, while outside linebacker Lamin Barrow is second on squad with 18 tackles. LSU's defense features 13 players who have recorded either a sack or a tackle for loss with another four players who have an interception or recovered a fumble.
Auburn's offense features two of the top rushers in the SEC in Tre Mason (221 yards, 1 TD) and Onterio McCalebb (214 yards, 1 TD). Quarterback Kiehl Frazier has thrown for 449 yards and two touchdowns.
On special teams, the LSU features perhaps the best punter in the nation in Brad Wing (48.6) and one of the top kickers in the country in Drew Alleman, who has made 20 of his 23 field goal attempts in his career.
Saturday's game will mark the latest LSU has played its first road contest of a season since 2001 when the Tigers lost at Tennessee on Sept. 29. LSU is 23-9 under Miles on the road, including a 19-9 record in SEC contests.
"I think road games are an extension of the personality of the team," Miles "I think if there's a strong personality, those that are very, very good teams play well on the road. I think a team with good character and good strength just play well in road games. It's just how they are. It's the same 100 yards, it just happens to be a different stadium. I would expect for them to play just like they have in the last games. Continue to improve and recognize that it's a part of every week's challenge, and this week happens to also be the fact that we travel."