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September 21, 2013
LSU-Auburn pre-game notebook
There have been many memorable games in the LSU-Auburn series. This year is the 25th anniversary of "The Earthquake Game" when Tommy Hodson threw a fourth-down scoring pass to Eddie Fuller with 1:41 to play as LSU won 7-6. The noise from the stadium crowd registered on a seismograph on campus.
LSU has been pretty successful in its Southeastern Conference openers under coach Les Miles. LSU has won six straight SEC openers with the last loss coming at Auburn in 2006. LSU also dropped its conference opener to Tennessee in Miles' first season one year earlier.
The home team in the LSU-Auburn series has won 11 of the last 13 games. The only road victories in that stretch were by LSU - 26-21 in 2008 and 12-10 in 2012. Auburn's last victory in Tiger Stadium came in 1999 was it whipped LSU 41-7 in Gerry DiNardo's final season as coach.
Since the SEC expanded in 1992, LSU and Auburn have played 21 times. LSU has a one-game advantage with 11 victories. LSU has won 21 consecutive games against unranked opponents. LSU's last setback to an unranked team came against Ole Miss (25-23) in 2009.
Since Miles became coach in 2005, LSU has a 52-7 home record. The victory against Kent State extended LSU's winning streak in August/September games to 31. LSU's last loss in either month occurred in 2006 at Auburn.
LSU has a 39-2 mark in home Saturday night games since Miles became coach. The only visiting teams with Saturday night Tiger Stadium victories are Florida (2009) and Alabama (2012). Boise State is the one FBS team with more wins than LSU since 2005. Boise State has 95 victories, while LSU has 88.
With Miles as coach, LSU has a 31-10 record against SEC West teams. In addition, LSU is 25-7 at home in SEC games.
LSU leads the SEC in pass efficiency with a 205.1 rating. The Tigers are one of three SEC teams who have not missed a field goal or extra point. The other two teams with perfect kicking marks are Georgia and Tennessee.
Three SEC teams have allowed fewer than one sack per game - Arkansas, LSU and Tennessee. Those three teams have yielded two sacks in three games. LSU has had 20 plays which have gained at least 20 yards. Just four of those plays were runs - three by Terrence Magee.
For just the eighth game in school history, LSU ran for more than 300 yards and passed for more than 250 yards against Kent State. LSU has accomplished that feat just one other time since the start of the 1996 season - against Louisiana Tech in 2007.
Zach Mettenberger's nine touchdown passes and 797 passing yards are the most for a LSU quarterback in the first three games of a season. Matt Mauck had eight touchdown passes in the first three games of the 2003 season.
With Mettenberger as the starting quarterback, LSU has a 13-3 record. He has thrown for at least 250 yards in six of his last eight games. Mettenberger's 45 completions in the first three games are the most for a LSU quarterback since Rohan Davey had 53 in 2001.
Jarvis Landry has caught 50 passes in LSU's last eight games. He has recorded a touchdown reception in five consecutive games. He is the first LSU player to have five touchdown receptions in the first three games of a season since Carlos Carson had six - five against Rice - in 1977.
Top football recruits visiting for LSU-Auburn game.
LSU players are first in the conference in three statistical areas. Beckham leads the SEC in all-purpose yards with 702. Colby Delahoussaye is first in kick-scoring points with 30. Mettenberger leads the SEC with a 205.3 pass efficiency rating. Beckham leads the country in all-purpose yardage.
Both Jeremy Hill and Magee rushed for more than 100 yards last week against Kent State. Since Miles became coach, LSU has a 33-4 record in games in which it has a 100-yard rusher. Two of the four defeats came last season when Hill had more than 100 rushing yards against Alabama and Clemson.
Auburn and LSU have been the best red-zone offenses in the conference. Auburn has scored points on all ten of its red-zone possessions (six touchdowns and four field goals). LSU has scored points on 15 of its 16 red-zone possessions (11 touchdowns and four field goals).
LSU and Auburn are two of the 13 teams in the country who didn't have a senior on the starting offensive line in their season-opener. Both teams started two juniors, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman.
LSU tight ends coach Steve Ensminger was an assistant at Auburn from 2003-08. Auburn co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison was the secondary coach at LSU in 2001-02. Auburn co-offensive coordinator Demeyune Craig was a graduate assistant at LSU in 2004.
Both starting quarterbacks - LSU's Mettenberger and Auburn's Nick Marshall - started their college careers at Georgia. Mettenberger was redshirted at Georgia in 2009. He transferred to Butler Community College after being dismissed from Georgia. He joined the LSU program in 2011.
Marshall participated in 13 games as a defensive back at Georgia in 2011. He transferred to Garden City Community College and played quarterback in 2012. Marshall then signed with Auburn after his one junior college season.
There have been only four victories by SEC teams by seven points or less. Auburn has two of the four - 31-24 against Washington State and 24-20 against Mississippi State. The other two teams with one-possession victories are Alabama - 49-42 against Texas A&M - and Ole Miss - 39-35 against Vanderbilt.
In 16 of the last 17 seasons, Auburn has won its SEC road opener. That one defeat came last season at Mississippi State. Auburn has a 42-32-6 record all-time in SEC road openers. Auburn has won just five times out of the 21 games played in Tiger Stadium. There has been one tie.
Auburn has won 40 percent (74-112-5) of its games against ranked SEC opponents. Auburn has performed worse against ranked LSU teams with a 5-15 record (.250 winning percentage).
Auburn's defense has given up just one touchdown and three field goals on 19 second-half possessions in the first three games of the season. All of those points came in the third quarter. Opposing teams are averaging 92.3 yards per game in the fourth quarter this season, but no points.
Gus Malzahn is the ninth Auburn coach to begin his career with a 3-0 record. Terry Bowden has the record with 20 consecutive victories at the start of his Auburn coaching career.
Marshall threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah with ten seconds remaining to give Auburn a 24-20 victory against Mississippi State last Saturday. Auburn's last late-game SEC victory came against Kentucky in 2010 when Wes Byrum kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired.
Auburn's fast tempo offense, no problem.
Marshall threw for 339 yards against Mississippi State - the most for an Auburn quarterback since Brandon Cox against Georgia Tech in 2005 (343). That yardage was the most for an Auburn quarterback against a SEC team since Jason Campbell against Tennessee in the 2004 SEC title game (374).
Marshall hooked up with Quan Bray for a 76-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter against Mississippi State. That play was the longest Auburn touchdown pass in three years. Cam Newton combined with Terrell Zachery for an 80-yard scoring pass against Chattanooga in 2010.
Tre Mason is Auburn's most experienced running back with nearly 1,400 career rushing yards. However, two newcomers have eclipsed the 100-yard mark so far this year - Corey Grant against Washington State and Cameron Artis-Payne against Arkansas State.
Defensive end Dee Ford made his first appearance of the season against Mississippi State and made six tackles. All but one of the six tackles came in the fourth quarter. The six tackles tied a career high. Linebacker Robenson Therezie is one of six SEC players with two interceptions.
Cody Parkey has seven field goals - most for a SEC kicker. He has missed one field goal attempt. Parkey is second in kick-scoring to Delahoussaye with 29 points. Parkey has made 59 straight extra points - the longest active streak in the SEC. He has also made 16 consecutive field goals from 45 yards or less.
None of Steven Clark's 13 punts this season have been returned. In fact, opponents have returned none of Clark's last 30 punts. Only 11 percent of his career punts (17-of-161) have been returned. The average punt return against Clark has been 4.9 yards.
Auburn has two Louisiana natives on its roster - junior wide receiver Trevon Reed and sophomore offensive tackle Gregory Robinson. Reed has caught four passes for 36 yards, while Robinson is the starter at left tackle. Both Reed and Robinson played at Thibodaux High School.
The LSU-Auburn game will be televised on ESPN. The broadcasting crew will be Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter). These three people handled the telecast of LSU's game against TCU. Auburn has been on ESPN 76 times - the most of any school.
Team statistical comparison
LSU points per game: 46.0
Auburn opponents points per game: 17.7
LSU rushing yards per game: 218.7
Auburn opponents rushing yards per game: 157.3
LSU passing yards per game: 269.3
Auburn opponents passing yards per game: 276.3
LSU pass completion percentage: 66
Auburn opponents pass completion percentage: 59
LSU turnovers: 3
Auburn opponents turnovers: 4
LSU sacks allowed: 2
Auburn sacks: 4
LSU red-zone touchdown percentage: 69 (11-of-16)
Auburn opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 50 (6-of-12)
Auburn points per game: 31.0
LSU opponents points per game: 19.0
Auburn rushing yards per game: 238.7
LSU opponents rushing yards per game: 110.7
Auburn passing yards per game: 201.7
LSU opponents passing yards per game: 157.0
Auburn pass completion percentage: 60
LSU opponents pass completion percentage: 54
Auburn turnovers: 5
LSU opponents turnovers: 3
Auburn sacks allowed: 3
LSU sacks: 6
Auburn red-zone touchdown percentage: 60 (6-of-10)
LSU opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 38 (3-of-8)
Individual statistical leaders
LSU: Terrence Magee - 26 carries, 210 yards, 3 touchdowns
Auburn: Corey Grant - 24 carries, 230 yards, 2 touchdowns
LSU: Zach Mettenberger - 69 attempts, 45 completions, 797 yards, 9 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Auburn: Nick Marshall - 70 attempts, 43 completions, 585 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
LSU: Jarvis Landry - 17 catches, 246 yards, 5 touchdowns
Auburn: Marcus Davis - 8 catches, 66 yards, 1 touchdown
LSU: DT Ego Ferguson - 16
Auburn: LB Robenson Therezie - 17
LSU: DE Jermauria Rasco - 1˝
Auburn: DT Montravius Adams, DT Ben Bradley, LB LaDarius Owens - 1
LSU: CB Jalen Mills - 1
Auburn: LB Robenson Therezie - 2
LSU: Jamie Keehn - 8 punts, 40.4-yard average
Auburn: Steven Clark - 13 punts, 43.5-yard average
LSU: Colby Delahoussaye - 4-of-4 on FG, 18-of-18 on XP
Auburn: Cody Parkey - 7-of-8 on FG, 8-of-8 on XP
LSU: Odell Beckham - 6 kickoff returns, 171 yards; 5 punt returns, 68 yards
Auburn: Tre Mason - 5 kickoff returns, 176 yards, 1 touchdown