The 3-2 Auburn Tigers look to beat the 2-2 LSU Tigers on Saturday for the first time in four years. CBS will broadcast the game from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn and kickoff is set for 3:30 ET.
Auburn enters the week in solo third place in the SEC West, while LSU is currently tied with Arkansas for fourth. Both teams trail the 3-1 Texas A&M Aggies and undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide.
Auburn enters the week off a narrow road win over Ole Miss. On the offensive side of the football, sophomore quarterback Bo Nix and company have underperformed in the eyes of many this year, but Auburn’s efficient ground game has given the offense a much-needed boost.
Freshman running back, Tank Bigsby, has found his groove recently, surpassing the 100-yard rushing mark in each of his last three games. He’ll look to continue his success against an LSU defense that gave up over 10 yards per carry last week to South Carolina’s starting running back.
Head coach Gus Malzahn explains how Auburn football is built around its run game. “In this league, I believe you gotta run it a little bit more than you throw it, so we’ll continue to try to build upon that,” Malzahn said.
As for the defense, Auburn ranks in the middle of the pack in most statistics. Malzahn says the defense has done a “solid job in the passing game” recently. “The big thing for us is just trying to continue to find ways to affect the quarterback so our guys don’t have to cover [wide receivers] as long,” Malzahn said.
LSU enters the week off a commanding 52-24 home victory over South Carolina. However, starting quarterback Myles Brennan remains out of practice this week with a lower-body injury. Brennan is currently listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game. Instead, 6-6, 242-pound true freshman TJ Finley will get the nod.
A caller asks who will be #LSU’s starting quarterback against Auburn.
Ed Orgeron: “TJ Finley.”
Expected as Myles Brennan hasn’t practiced yet this week.
— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) October 29, 2020
Finley earned a win and impressed many in his first college start last week versus South Carolina. He threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns while completing a remarkable 81 percent of his passes. On top of that, Finley rushed for 24 yards and managed to find the endzone with his legs. After the game, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was impressed by the freshman’s poise and confidence.
Junior wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. had no problem adjusting to the quarterback change. The star receiver caught both touchdown passes to increase his season total to nine, which ranks second in the nation. Malzhan calls Marshall “very talented” and expects him to be a “tough defend” for Auburn’s secondary.
On the defensive side of the ball, LSU’s secondary has struggled immensely. It ranks nearly last in the country in passing yard allowed per game, which bodes well for Nix and the Auburn pass attack.
In week one, LSU allowed a whopping 623 passing yards and five touchdowns through the air to Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello. To put that into perspective, Costello has thrown one touchdown pass and eight interceptions in the three games since.
On the bright side, Coach O said the defense has made fewer mental errors lately and is playing the run much better. That being said, Orgeron admits the defense will face the grueling challenge of containing Tank Bigsby. “We gotta be able to gang tackle him,” Orgeron said. “He’s not going down with one person.”
After Saturday’s game, Auburn gets the next week off to rest and prepare for its final four games of the season. As for LSU, the Tigers will enter their bye week before facing a gauntlet that includes three ranked opponents — Alabama, Texas A&M and Florida — to close the season.