Three bold predictions: Shutting down Nick Brossette, harassing Joe Burrow at top of list

Locking up LSU running back Nick Brossette will be key for Auburn to win Saturday. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Locking up LSU running back Nick Brossette will be key for Auburn to win Saturday. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The No. 7 Auburn football team faces another huge early season test when it plays No. 12 LSU on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

We’ve already predicted that Auburn wins this game — apparently most everyone else on the planet agrees — and we’ve given you reasons we think that will happen.

But it’s that time of the week when you have to dig a little deeper and go with more than your gut feeling.

It’s time for our Week 3 bold predictions where we get specific about things. We were very close to being spot on a week ago.

  • We predicted a freshman would lead Auburn in rushing and Shaun Shivers was five yards behind JaTarvious Whitlow. One small note: We predicted Asa Martin was going to be the freshman, not Shivers. But Martin fumbled on his second carry, opening the door for Shivers’ 117-yard day.
  • We successfully predicated that Anthony Schwartz would make a hightlight-reel play (he had a 57-yard TD and a TD run on a reverse).
  • And we were slightly off on our third prediction that Auburn would have at least 10 plays of 20 or more yards. Auburn totaled seven plays of at least 20 yards (four runs, three passes). If you lower that number from 20 to 15, the Tigers had 15 (12 runs, three passes).

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Here are your Week 3 game details.

Three bold predictions for Auburn vs. LSU

1. The Auburn defense has come a long way since that 2015 debacle when Leonard Fournette carried defenders on his way to 228 yards and three touchdowns. Even 2016 was ugly in victory as Fournette totaled 101 and Derrius Guice had 62 yards on three carries. But last year was better. Guice managed 71 yards on 20 carries. Senior Nick Brossette has his first two 100-yard games of his career this season: 125 vs. Miami and 137 against Southeastern Louisiana. He’ll find little running room Saturday. The Auburn defense holds him to less than 70 rushing yards and less than 4.0 yards per carry (he’s averaging 6.5 this season).

2. Jarrett Stidham will put his performance vs. LSU last season in the rearview mirror. Stidham was just 9 for 26 with 165 yards (and a 49-yard TO to Will Hastings) in the 27-23 loss to LSU last season. It was the only game he completed less than 13 passes last season, the only game he completed less than 50 percent of his throws and his third-lowest passing total. LSU will be stout up front, but expect Stidham to make the Tigers pay with his arm. He’ll throw for 250 yards and complete at least 60 percent of his throws.

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3. Joe Burrow is the wild card in this game. No one really knows what to expect from him yet this season. His numbers haven’t been great, but they haven’t needed to be. But Saturday, he’ll have to do more than he’s done all season. On the road. In his first SEC game. Against a top-10 opponent. His first drive might go well, a lot of times those scripted opening possessions do. But the Auburn front seven will pressure him and the secondary will give him small windows to complete passes. The prediction here: Auburn harasses Burrow into an ugly performance and the Tigers pick off one or two passes.