#15 LSU at #5 Auburn Preview and Predictions

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Sep 27, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Quan Bray (4) and wide receiver Sammie Coates (18) react to a touchdown during the second half against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn won 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn’s Keys to Victory

1. Jordan-Hare Stadium. Usually, in the SEC, “home-field advantage” is somewhat cliche given the talent across the board in the conference. However, Auburn-LSU almost always comes down to the home team pulling it out. No Auburn team that finished the season with a winning record has lost at home to LSU since 1996. The Tigers have won 12 straight games at Jordan-Hare, dating back to November 17, 2012, and are 11-0 at home under Gus Malzahn. Plus, strange things happen at Jordan-Hare. Very, very, very strange things. These strange things have even happened to LSU, like the “Interception Game” in 1994, the “Leaping Game” in 2004 and the defensive stalemate in 2006.

2. It’s time to get creative. Sure, Auburn’s offense has struggled the past few games, scoring only 20 points at Kansas State and scoring 24 points through three quarters against Louisiana Tech. However, it’s clear that Auburn’s offense has been the definition of vanilla this season. If you think Gus Malzahn’s gameplan for this year is to constantly hand it off up the middle to Cameron Artis-Payne and throw it on 3rd down, you don’t know Gus Malzahn very well. The Tigers will be motivated Saturday and my gut says Malzahn has been saving some new wrinkles in his offense for this showdown.

3. Pressure the quarterback. One fatal flaw of the Tommy Tuberville era was that when facing young quarterbacks, Tuberville’s defense wouldn’t rush as hard and place the faith in the secondary. This isn’t the Tuberville era. This is the Malzahn era. Brandon Harris is a true freshman making his first start, while Anthony Harris is a sophomore who might have his number called at some point. Auburn’s been among the best in the nation in creating pressure this season. The defensive line is elite and the linebacker unit is vastly improved. If LSU’s quarterbacks are under constant pressure, Auburn’s in good shape.