LSU football: Auburn breakdown with Fly War Eagle


Our friends at Fly War Eagle help us break down the LSU football team’s showdown with the Auburn Tigers this Saturday.

The LSU football team returns home to Tiger Stadium after avoiding a meltdown in Starkville last Saturday.

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The Bayou Bengals nearly gave up a 15-point fourth quarter lead to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but managed to escape with a victory after a last-second field goal attempt missed wide-right.

They host Auburn this weekend, the team that ended Brandon Harris’ first stint as LSU’s starting quarterback with a 41-7 thrashing at Jordan-Hare Stadium last season.

Related: Brandon Harris out for revenge against Auburn

Auburn has stumbled out of the gates to begin their 2015 campaign. Junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson has failed to live up to lofty preseason expectations, and the team was nearly dealt its first loss of the season after a dismal performance against Jacksonville State last weekend.

As is the case with any SEC West foe, however, Auburn cannot be taken lightly.

In order to gain better insight into what to expect from LSU’s opponent this Saturday, we spoke with Donovan James, editor of Fly War Eagle. Here is what he had to say.

Last week was almost a major letdown for Auburn against Jacksonville State, and would have been arguably the biggest upset since Appalachian State-Michigan back in 2007 if not for a last-minute comeback. What were the biggest issues you noticed during that game, and what is the mindset of the team as they attempt to rebound from that performance against an SEC opponent?

I learned three main issues during that game.

The defense’s IQ isn’t very good when they have to make decisions on the fly. The second thing I noticed was the struggle to run the football. If Auburn is going to win games going forward Roc Thomas, Jovon Robinson and Kerryon Johnson have to help out Peyton Barber in the run game. The last thing that needs a correction is Jeremy Johnson’s ability to read a defense properly. He needs to stop throwing into double and triple coverage, which has led to big INT’s.

The mindset is that they still got the W, but they have played nowhere near their own expectations so they will look to step it up in Death Valley and remind everyone why they are Auburn.

Nick Marshall had a huge game against LSU last year, and was a large reason why Auburn was able to jump out to such a big lead in that game. Jeremy Johnson has struggled during his first year under center, despite lofty expectations entering the season. What does he need to do to overcome his slow start and become an offensive threat against LSU?

Johnson needs to take cue from Marshall and mentally check in for all four quarters. His job is in danger because of his poor play, and back up Sean White has looked great in practice. Check downs are your best friend. He just needs to move the ball and make better decisions, whether on the read option or throwing the ball down the field.

How does Auburn plan to shut down Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns last week against Mississippi State?

Load the box and let the corners play one-on-one on the outside. This will force Brandon Harris to make more throws, which should cause a higher turnover rate. Auburn just lost Josh Hosley for the season with a torn ACL, but Tray Matthews’ return from an injury will be huge. Expect Montravius Adams to have a huge impact in the trenches and get penetration to stop Fournette in the back field.

Give us your predictions for the game.

Sorry to say it, but LSU will win because their two-deep defense will contain Johnson. The TE/WR combos will make enough plays with their one-on-one matchups to help Harris in the passing game.

Oh yeah. And Leonard Fournette will rush for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

LSU 34, Auburn 21

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