Published October 20, 2010 - 8:00am
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One of the biggest games of the year will take place this Saturday between Auburn and LSU. It will be strength against strength – the Auburn rushing offense against the LSU rushing defense.
As we all know, Auburn has the highest scoring offense in the league right now, averaging 40.7 points and 283 yards on the ground per game. What you may not know is LSU’s rushing defense has dominated the run this year and leads the conference, only giving up a mere 83 yards per game.
What if John Chavis and the LSU defense can make Cameron Newton one-dimensional? What if they take away the option and make Newton beat them through the air? Auburn does have three other running backs to help Newton carry the load in Onterio McCalebb, Michael Dyer and Mario Fannin. I have been waiting to see this vaunted rushing attack go up against a legit defense and have yet to see it this year so far. Auburn has pretty much scored at will behind Newton and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.
LSU’s defense is very fast and physical. Obviously, their star player is at corner in Patrick Peterson, but their leading tackler is linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard is the second leading tackler in the conference, and he looks to be the leader on the defensive side of the ball. Up front, the senior Drake Nevis has played outstanding at defensive tackle, as he is second in the conference with five total sacks. The LSU front four ate up the Gators two weeks ago, and they found themselves in the backfield early and often in the first half before adjustments were made at halftime.
John Chavis will try to make Newton one-dimensional by taking away the ground game. This is where Auburn wide receivers and LSU corners will go to battle. Auburn’s best receiver is Darvin Adams, as he has 23 catches for 419 yards and two touchdowns so far – Peterson will likely cover him, as he tends to shut down every opponent’s best receiver. Auburn is averaging 10.5 yards per pass play, though.
How will Newton and the offense react to a fast, physical defense in the LSU Tigers? It remains to be seen, but I can promise you one thing – this game will have some big-time hitting going on out there, and this will most-definitely be the fastest defense the Auburn offense has seen all year.
Who gets the better of the two?