LSU will open up its SEC schedule this weekend with a road trip to division rival Auburn on Saturday.
The Tigers of LSU will be without its second leading rusher and starting running back, Alfred Blue, who is out with an undisclosed leg injury. Sophomore tailback Kenny Hilliard is expected to get the start in replace of Blue. Sixth year senior offensive lineman, Josh Dworacyzk, is also expected to remain the starter at left tackle for LSU despite a lackluster performance against an undermanned Idaho team this past Saturday.
With the departure of last year’s offensive coordinator, Guz Malzahn, Auburn (1-2, 0-1) has revamped its entire offensive philosophy. New offensive coordinator, Scott Loeffler, has shifted the offense from a shotgun, spread rushing attack to a traditional 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end). The transition has not been a smooth one for the Tigers of Auburn. They come in to the game ranking dead last in the SEC in total offense per game and 102nd nationally.
The Auburn offense is led under center by sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier. Frazier, a dual threat quarterback, has struggled so far this year completing just over half his passing attempts, 50.7%, and has 5 interceptions to just two touchdowns on the season (one of his touchdown passes came on a fluke Hail Mary pass at the end of the 1st half against ULM last weekend).
The Auburn rushing attack is led by senior Onterio McCaleb and sophomore Tre Mason. Two very talented runners, McCaleb and Mason combine to average 145 yards on the ground per contest. However, with the inability of Frazier to pose a threat in the passing game, the rushing attack has been unable to be a major threat to opposing defenses that have stacked the box to slow down the Auburn backfield duo.
When Auburn does attempt to pass (I say that with a wry smile) they will look to get the ball into the hands of their best receiving threat, Emory Blake. Blake, the son of former NFL and New Orleans Saints quarterback Jeff Blake, has proven to be a big time playmaker for Auburn since his arrival on campus four years ago. Blake has a jaw–dropping 20.8 yards per reception average and has 13 receiving touchdowns since 2010.
Auburn is led on defense by standout defensive end Cory Lemonier, a projected top 10 pick in this April’s NFL Draft. However, the praise for the Auburn defense stops there. Ranking second to last in total defense among SEC teams, the Auburn defense has struggled to slow down anyone this season giving up a whopping 442.0 yards per game. Allowing 217 yards on the ground per contest and 225 through the air.
Prediction: Even without starting tailback Alfred Blue, the LSU offense should control the ground game and put up big numbers in this contest. LSU 48 Auburn 10